The break room. Whether you call it the conference room or it’s your office kitchen, and no matter how informal or formal your office environment is, the break room is the one place that one thing happens: people chat. Not all the time, of course, because then no one would get any work done. But it’s safe to say that first thing in the morning, mid-morning, around lunch and near the end of the day, you can find coworkers grabbing coffee or a cup of filtered water, and hear them gabbing about something. Read on to find out the top nine topics that are discussed in any given break room.
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1. Office Gossip
As much as we want to believe that we all get along famously and we’re all one big family at the company, that’s not usually the case. Bosses play favorites whether they realize it or not, and cliques form just like back when you were in school. Every office has at least one person who is the queen of gossip. They love to know what’s going on in the personal and professional lives of every single employee and you can bet if you find them in the break room at any given time, they’re going to get you involved in a conversation about gossip. You will end up whispering about who’s going to get the next promotion or who’s leaving to have a baby even if you don’t mean to. Conversations can also revolve around the person that just quit or even speculation that they were actually fired. The sky’s the limit when it comes to office gossip.
2. The Latest Television Craze
Sunday nights are traditionally big television nights thanks to cable series like Mad Men or Game of Thrones, and that means one thing come Monday morning: people are going to be discussing all the twists and turns of the latest episodes in the break room. The same goes for any super popular reality shows like Big Brother, Survivor or The Bachelor. No matter what industry you work or what job you have, chances are there are at least some people in your office who watch these types of shows. If you’re a fan and want to avoid spoilers, make sure you’ve seen the most recent episode or enter the break room at your own risk the next day. And let’s not forget the joys of Netflix. Now that Netflix will stream an entire season of its popular series like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards at one time, spoilers are harder to avoid thanks to all those binge watchers, and you can be guaranteed to have at least a few of those in your office environment. Watch at least one of those popular series if you want to be able to join in on the break room conversation.
3. Vacation Plans
All office workers have one thing in common: they love to talk about vacations. Even if it’s not their own planned trip, they’re still into it because it allows them a quick virtual escape from their sometimes boring daily routine. If you’re going on holiday, get ready to answer all kinds of nosy questions from your well-meaning coworkers. And if the person that sits next to you has just come back from vacation, be prepared to discuss it in the break room on their first day back. You’ll most likely hear complaints about flight delays, long waits for a taxi and issues with the hotel or condo. Hearing your fellow employees’ vacation stories will crack you up and lighten the mood on any given day.
4. The People in Our Lives
We’re not married to our jobs (well, maybe some of us are, but that’s not the best way to live). We have boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, not to mention friends and family and hobbies and interests. Chances are we’re going to discuss the people in our lives and the activities that we love to do in our non-working hours with our fellow employees. This means, of course, that you will probably end up learning more about some coworkers than you would like to -- some people tend to overshare, even in office environments when you want to keep things professional no matter how friendly and social you are with those you work with.
5. Domestic and International News
When something big happens in the world, we tend to hear about it when we’re at our desks reading news online or browsing our Twitter feeds. So who are you going to talk to? Your coworkers, naturally. And where? Maybe you can say something to the colleagues that you share an office space with, but you’re going to end up discussing current events with whoever’s in the break room whenever you grab a coffee to fuel you for your busy day. The same goes for popular culture, entertainment and celebrity news. If there’s a celeb break-up that surprises everyone, get ready to hear about it. Or maybe you’ll be the one who can’t help but chat about it to anyone who enters the room.
6. The Weekend
Whether it’s talking about upcoming plans or the weekend that just passed, employees in the break room often share funny stories from a Saturday night out or complain about traffic on the highway coming home from the cottage. These conversations can range from polite and professional small talk to really allowing your personality and sense of humor to shine so the people in your office get to know the real you. It’s prime bonding time.
7. The Boss
If your boss is out of the office for the day due to client meetings or events, or is even travelling, then break room chatter is definitely going to touch on the person at the top of the office food chain. This will typically be a complaint-filled discussion. You might even find yourself saying a few less than nice things about your boss without even meaning to. Negative talk begets more negative talk -- it’s just human nature. These conversations never stay private for very long and yet people are still not all that careful about the complaints they have about their jobs and their manager.
Since the break room is often a kitchen, the topic of food and what everyone’s having for lunch, whether brought from home or take-out or fast food, is going to come up more than a few times. We’re all food obsessed on one level or another and that gets even worse when we’re stuck inside the office all day long, so we love to talk food to distract us and liven up the work day. People often discuss cooking tips or favorite recipes or the restaurant they went to that was just incredible the previous week.
9. Weddings and Babies
There’s bound to be at least one pregnant woman and one engaged person in every office environment at some point. So naturally, break room chats will revolve around the excitement happening in that worker’s life. You may also end up talking about your best friend’s wedding that occurred this past weekend or your cousin’s new baby. People love to chat about wedding celebrations and baby showers. It’s mindless entertainment and a nice way to let your coworkers know a bit more about yourself and your life outside of work without getting insanely personal.
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No matter what your job, industry or office atmosphere, you have a break room. And you talk to your fellow employees in this lunch room. These top 9 topics are the most frequently discussed in break rooms everywhere, so you’ve probably experienced at least a few of these conversations.
What are your favorite topics to discuss during your lunch break? Let us know in the comments section below.