Sarcastic Saturday :: 6 awkward conversations to have with strangers etc.

27 Feb

Let’s face it.  Be it thanks to family members, coworkers, customers at one’s place of business, classmates, complete randoms, friends-of-friends, we’ve all been dragged into some pretty weird conversations in our lives.  Here are ten topics that should definitely best be avoided except possibly in specific company.

6. A clearly non-joking desire to murder anyone
This could be a single mutual acquaintance, a public figurehead, a group of public figures, or even broad categories like an entire city or religion.  This also includes governments, types of people that are Not Like Them, etc.  Murder is not a good conversation topic.

5. Complaints about their significant others
In some professional contexts it’s reasonable to complain about one’s SO.  If said SO is interfering with a business transaction and is directly there, for example.  But just spontaneously complaining to a stranger that their SO is a jerk, for instance seeing that the person next to them is playing Candy Crush and going off on a rant about how their significant other once spent a weekend high on cocaine playing Candy Crush instead of paying attention to them, is inappropriate.  Strangers are not automatically your close friends and confidantes.

4. Complaints about family members
The same caveat applies here, to some extent, and general complaints are probably also fine (i.e. that one’s parents are overbearing). Specificity is the point at which it becomes awkward. Suggesting to a stranger that one’s children are possessing of a greedy temperament not just because they’re kids and they want stuff but because they have been influenced by Satan is just a little too specific.

3. Politics
Context clues aside (if they’re wearing a shirt or other token that identifies them as being a supporter of a candidate you also support, for example), politics are generally way too loaded for public settings. And even the aforementioned scenario presents issues if, for example, you make others in the surrounding area uncomfortable. Politics are entirely inappropriate for a non-political work environment, and can become uncomfortable quickly in a more private setting such as a family event.

2. Religion
Essentially, replace politics with religion in the above and it will be the same point.  Discussions of religion can also become awkward when one party takes it upon themselves to speak with a moral high ground, proselytize, or witness. Evangelical Christians are taught from a young age that speaking up about their beliefs may lead people to ask them questions about it, and that this may lead to salvation for some. In many cases, they’re told to do it in a casual, understated way, and not to be obnoxious, but this isn’t the case for everyone, and some evangelicals take every opportunity they can to talk about their beliefs, obnoxiously. This can become very unpleasant for people who are around them, but their aggression may result in people being afraid to speak up about their discomfort.

1. Personal health issues
In some lines of work and in some vague social situations, health issues are a reasonable topic of discussion.  To a point.  “Oh, I’m at this doctor for this, what about you?” is acceptable, if sometimes awkward in an innocent way.  “Oh, I’m at the doctor for this very specific medical condition related to an unusual function of my body that causes things to happen that are not in polite conversational categories” is not.  “I need to buy this item because of this condition” is generally fine and often helpful to salespeople.  “I need to buy this item because of this condition and let me tell you about the other eighty nine conditions I have had in the last two years” is a bit of an overshare.

–your fangirl heroines.



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