We all know that there are just some things you shouldn’t say at work. Even if you consider your co-workers your friends, when you are on the clock, it is important for everyone that you mind your p’s and q’s. But during the holidays, when everyone is feeling either a bit more relaxed or boiling under the pressure of family commitments and end of the quarter deadlines, it is easy to fall into random topics of conversation around the water cooler.
As social media continues to make the world seem like a smaller place, there tends to be a new word or phrase that is offending people by the thousands every day. From family issues to political views and even money troubles, the following list will help you navigate the often difficult waters of acceptable office conversation topics to come out safely on the other side in the new year.
5 Conversation Topics Everyone Should Avoid at the Workplace
No one at work should really care whether you’re a donkey, an elephant or anything else in between, so keep it to yourself. You never know when a simple comment on one of the candidates or new policies could be overheard by the wrong person. Most people feel very passionately about their political beliefs and even a passing thought on the subject could create a storm of problems if you’re not careful. Although it may be tempting to go over the more ridiculous highlights from the most recent debates, there are plenty of other ways you and your co-workers can get in a few laughs at work.
This one may seem like a no-brainer but in the current political climate, it may be hard for some people at work to stay away from topics surrounding religion. Even if you are good about keeping your beliefs to yourself, chances are you may hear others discussing their religious beliefs and ideas in the workplace, especially during the holidays. While most people will be looking forward to the holiday party as an opportunity to mingle and cut loose, others may feel the need to remind others of what they think the season is all about when it comes to their ideas surrounding religion.
Looking for a quick way to make others feel awkward and clear the room? Try discussing how taxing the holidays have been on your bank account or worse, why you feel you deserve a bigger bonus than others this year. Whether you’re riding high this holiday season or seriously strapped for cash, airing your financial status out at work is a big no-no. You can never be sure who makes what amount and could seriously offend others or even get yourself in hot water with the company for taking about your wages.
Your Sex Life
You may still be feeling the high from a great Tinder date during your morning meeting, but no one else in the office needs to know about it! Not only is it unprofessional to talk about your love/sex life at work but you could possibly be skirting the line of sexual harassment if the wrong person overhears your conversation and is made to feel uncomfortable. If you absolutely must spill about the previous nights events to your work friends, save the juicy details for your lunch hour, far away from the office.
Problems at Home
For many people, the pressure to keep up the facade of the picture perfect home life during the holidays can get to be too much. Even those without any major issues at home can crack under the pressure and feel like they need to vent to someone. But talking about your problems at home can lead your co-workers and bosses to wonder if these issues are distracting you from your work. If you vent to the wrong person you could also find yourself the topic of workplace gossip, something no one really wants to deal with.
Keep It Light and Professional
While most of us are guilty of bringing up one or ore of these topics at work in the past, there’s no reason to beat yourself up over it! Just do your best to keep things professional while at work by keeping conversations light and easy. At the same time, unless one of your co-workers is being deliberately rude or offensive by bringing up one of these topics, try to cut them a little bit of slack as well.