Situation #2: The elevator

4 04 2008

What should you do when you’re caught in an elevator with someone who hasn’t mastered the fine art of elevator chit-chat and insists on asking you questions that are either too personal or whose answers will take more than nine floors to explain?


As a general principle, elevator conversation should be confined to relatively uncontroversial topics which can be discussed to a satisfying depth in the minutes it takes to travel between floors. Such topics include but are not limited to the weather, matters related to the building in which the elevator is located, major sporting events, and the local sports team’s run up to the playoffs.

Should you find yourself in the company of someone who wishes to discuss a topic that is either too personal, controversial, or lengthy for the given elevator ride, fear not, dear Reader, for you have options!

  1. Respond to the questions that your fellow elevator rider *should* be asking, not the ones that he/she actually asks.

Sample dialogue:

Awkward elevator rider: So, you look like someone who is pro-life, right?

You: I can’t wait for the rain to stop either!

  1. Answer all questions with way more personal information than your fellow elevator rider ever wanted to know about you.

Sample dialogue:

Awkward elevator rider: So, where are you off to at this time of night?

You: Oh, just heading to the drug store to pick up something for my yeast infection. This is the worst one I’ve ever had. You know how in the commercials they talk about that “cottage cheese-like discharge”? I never really knew what they were talking about until now. Except of course, it’s way less appetizing than cottage cheese. And the smell….



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