Author’s note: Please don’t take my advice.
Awkwardness is really underrated. We spend so much of our lives trying to do the right thing that we have almost forgotten the pleasures of making others uncomfortable. Sure, we indulge in unflattering judgments and ill-informed opinionating online, but the reactions of others are hidden from us. The Internet has proven itself a wonderful way to find enemies we didn’t even know that we had, but it also forces us to create those enemies alone.
But fear not. I have spent years studying the lost art of in-person irritation, and I’ve found five topics of conversation that are guaranteed to make your coworkers wish that you’d stayed home. I can’t promise that these will get you fired, but you can always dream.
Discussing politics at work will annoy roughly half of the people that you discuss it with. Surprisingly, some of your colleagues are backwards enough to hold different opinions than your own, and they take umbrage at being told how you think the country should be run. It’s a tragedy, I know, but that shouldn’t stop you from pointing out their idiocy. Some starter sentences here might include, “Let me tell you what this country needs…” or “States should require conceal/carry permits for all citizens, wouldn’t you agree?”
This one will annoy roughly all of the people you share it with, since everyone has a slightly different approach to their own faith. But they shouldn’t! I’m not going to provide starter sentences here, because you don’t need any. Just start talking about it, and watch the magic happen!
Personal Medical Drama!
This is especially effective if you have the foresight to bring in some endoscopic photos of your most recent medical procedure. Because nothing says off-putting quite like ‘endoscopy.’
Other People’s Medical Issues!
The novice will begin by simply pointing out how sick and/or pregnant a colleague seems to be today. But the true veteran will then go on to offer several fail-safe remedies for whatever it is that said colleague seems to be suffering from. If you can provide a veiled judgment about someone else’s appearance and give them advice they didn’t ask for, pat yourself on the back.
You probably work with people who come from different backgrounds than you did, and it just so happens that all those backgrounds are weird. The way you were raised is the only way anyone should ever be raised, and it’s high time you let everyone else know that.
The point I’m trying to make is that there are a lot of ways to destroy your professional relationships. And if you don’t believe me, then let’s delve into the particulars of my last bowel movement.
I’m just kidding. We’re not going to do that, because I’ve never had one. But I think you get my point.
(Let me know what I missed in the comments below!)