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# Shut up
How to pull the ripcord on the worst conversations ever
You will never wade blindly through insufferable small talk ever again.


The horrendous, eye-popping, stomach-turning conversations that you can’t quite break free from. No matter how you try, you keep getting sucked back under.

You’re in an awkward conversation black-hole. The other person seems oblivious, yammering on as your soul slips away.

Well fret no more. Here’s a foolproof guide to successfully pushing the eject button on awkward conversations from hell.

1. Your office kitchen nightmare

Image: Flickr/Hootsuite

You may share a workspace, but you sure as hell don’t share any interests. The office kitchen takes the cake when it comes to awkward small-talk. How many times a day can you talk about the weather?

THE SOLUTION: Look dead in the offending colleague’s eyes as they make the tea and say, “What’s your position on office romances?”

Guaranteed silence in the office kitchen from now on. Also, possible HR action.

2. Kids kids kids, we’re looking for a good time

Image: Flickr/martinak15

Sure, kids say the darndest things. But do we need to hear about it all the time?

We all know someone who repeats the mundane tales of their offspring ad nauseam. They just won’t allow the subject to be changed. It’s time to go nuclear.

THE SOLUTION: For every photograph of their child you get shown, show them an equally boring photograph of your houseplant. They’ll soon get the picture. Literally.

3. Going to the chapel and I’m gonna be boring

Image: Shutterstock

Oh, you’re getting married? Congratulations. That is genuinely lovely. We’re all delighted for you.

Please stop talking about it. No one but you and your lucky spouse cares a jot about your wedding invitation font.

THE SOLUTION: Every time they bring up the impending nuptials, lean over quietly and flick them forcefully on the forehead. Don’t say a word. There. They’ve stopped.

4. And when you look into the summer holiday abyss

Image: Shutterstock

This is a two-edged sword – you have to hear about their poxy holiday plans beforehand AND afterwards. It’s time to shut this baby down for good.

THE SOLUTION: Look a bit glum and mumble, “Oh you’re going away? Nice for you. They don’t let me on planes anymore.” Refuse any further questions.

Boomshanka. They won’t mention holidays around you again.

5. Absolute festival muck

Image: Flickr/Nagyman

You just can’t look your friend, colleague or acquaintance in the eye and tell them straight that you don’t give a hoot if they find a tent or a lift down.

The sad truth is: you couldn’t give less of a hoot. Not a solitary hoot.

THE SOLUTION: Use the old bait and switch. When they complain about not having found a lift down yet, burst into noisy tears. In wracking sobs, choke out, “Oh my God, oh my God, I can’t believe you haven’t found a lift down yet. What are we going to DO?” and keep crying.

They’ll keep their little festival sagas to themselves next time.

6. Lift purgatory

Image: Flickr/kio

Office lifts. Truly the sixth circle of hell. Awkward conversation, like the office kitchen, except in an enclosed space and with people from different floors.

Time to take care of awkward lift chat business.

THE SOLUTION: Scream. That’s right: scream. Just scream the entire time. From when the doors shut to when they open again. Let it all out.

Eventually, you’ll be known as the “weird lift screamer”. You will get to take the lift alone forever. Well done.

7. Field of dreams

Image: Shutterstock

Ever had a conversation with someone who wants to tell you every detail of their indescribably boring dreams?

If yes, you’ll be aware that it is more painful than many types of medieval torture.

THE SOLUTION: When they finish up telling you their dream, feign absolute panic and shriek, “But I thought everyone dreamt about whipped cream and Gay Byrne? Am I not normal?”

No more dream chat for you, pal.

High five.

Read: The Guide To Improving Your Lunch At Work>

Read: A simple guide to banishing phones from the dinner table>

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