UNITED NATIONS

Official UN declaration on how to handle small talk in the workplace bathroom

It has recently come to our attention that as a people, we appear to be experiencing widespread, international confusion and turmoil around how, when, and for how long to participate in small talk in the workplace bathroom.
(Shutterstock / Ollyy)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

It has recently come to our attention that as a people, we appear to be experiencing widespread, international confusion and turmoil around how, when, and for how long to participate in small talk in the workplace bathroom. As a global organization tasked with addressing humanity's most pressing shared challenges, we are issuing this official statement today with the goal of putting this restroom issue to… rest. Heh! We here at the UN certainly do love a zany joke.

Our task force has spent the past year interviewing employees in offices across the globe, compiling common concerns, and observing typical interactions in workplace bathrooms, which admittedly is very difficult to do in a non-creepy fashion and we'd like some acknowledgment of that fact, thanks. Here are our recommendations:

A coworker initiated small talk just before we went into our respective stalls. Am I expected to keep the conversation going over the deafening sound of our peeing??

No. This is weird and ridiculous. Let's all allow each other to urinate in peace without the expectation of chitchat. We've developed a helpful maxim: Once In The Stall, No Talk That Is Small. Please visit our online store to buy t-shirts and mugs.

So I can just abruptly drop the conversation mid-sentence the nanosecond I lock my stall door?

Yes.

But then Linda will be left wondering if I have any big plans for the weekend!

Too bad for Linda. That's the UN's official position.

What if someone initiates small talk during the peeing phase?

That's insane. Do whatever is in your power to have this person's job terminated immediately. That's the UN's official position.

What about small talk during the hand-washing part?

Nobody wants this, but fine. If you must.

Okay, so that's how to respond to bathroom small talk. What about initiating bathroom small talk? Should I –

No. Please. We beg you. Stop it.

But isn't it rude to ignore an acquaintance and just quietly go about your business?

We at the UN firmly believe that widespread and unnecessary small talk lies at the heart of our most urgent societal ills. By eliminating it in public spaces wherever possible, we get closer to achieving a more peaceful and efficient world. Consider for example, the massive expenditure of energy it takes for an average employee to participate in a conversation about the cold weather we're having while actively struggling to remember the name of the person they are conversing with. We believe there are significantly better uses of this energy. If harnessed globally, it could solve the energy crisis.

We here at the UN thank you for reading and adhering to these new global guidelines, which are effective immediately. Please keep an eye out for next month's primer, Down With Small Talk In The Elevator.

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About the Author

Sophie Kohn

Writer/Producer

Sophie Kohn is writer and producer with CBC Comedy, a stand-up comedian in Toronto, and a graduate of Second City's Conservatory program.

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