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Rambling On About How Much Fun You All Had Is Usually Boring To Hear

This is more of a question than it is a story. Some of my co-workers who are a couple of years younger than I am, and single, socialize outside of work. I have socialized with some of the individuals during dinner or small evening outings but they have large parties and go on weekend trips together. I have never been invited to these, which I don’t mind since I am married and drinking is not really fun to me anymore. The problem I have, however, is when they get back to work after the party or trip and ramble on about how much fun they had to myself and others who were not included. It has become quite annoying and I need advice on how to handle the situation. 0619-18

Is there something about their ramblings of how much fun they had that makes you wish you could have been there?   Otherwise I’m not  sure what is annoying other than it can be boring.

When I was in college, it was quite common on Monday mornings to hear fellow classmates describe their “awesome” weekend, which began on Thursday afternoons, which consisted of parties and getting profoundly drunk.   Getting wasted, being passed out and vomiting repeatedly were presented as the most fun people can have in this life.  No thank you.   If you are confident about your life choices, what other people do for fun doesn’t really shake the foundations of your soul or irritate it.  It’s boring more than annoying, imo.

How does one deal with a person or persons who talks incessantly about boring things? You change the subject of the discussion.  Or you say, “What an interesting weekend you had,” and leave it at that.

Or you can corral all the other married fuddy duddies who never get invited to these single adult parties and host your own party or outings that are more suitable to your tastes in fun.  Then on Monday when the talk starts of what the young, single crowd did for fun that weekend, you smile mysteriously and say, “Yes, we had a load of fun, too,” and say no more.

{ 31 comments }
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  • at work July 19, 2018, 6:47 am

    Hearing about all the fun they had can, yes, be boring. But sometimes you just feel left out. Five of my closest friends spend a few weeks together at a lake cabin every summer. For many reasons, I just can’t go, even for a night or two. I miss them! And when they get back, we get together as usual and they talk a lot — to each other, and only about their time at the cabin. I make appropriate comments and ask questions. They say: “Yes, the dock does need repair, ha ha! Remember when you jumped across the broken board, Eddie? Wally was going to paddle out in his canoe if you fell in!” And you can’t turn the conversation to anything else, like how is their garden doing since they were gone so long? “Oh geeze, it is full of weeds. We just mowed ’em right down at the cabin. Lumpy had to borrow the Dennisons’ mower again. Remember the Speedo, Lumpy?” You feel left out, don’t know the inside jokes and no one catches on that you have tried to introduce new topics or have become silent altogether. OP hit the nail right on the head when she described the situation as annoying.

    • jokergirl129 July 19, 2018, 9:57 am

      I agree that when hearing about all of the fun things other people have done can make you feel left out. And when it involves close friends it can make it worse because then you wish you had been able to go because it can be hard hearing about all of these interesting or funny events that happened. Even if you try to change the subject sometimes the subjects you bring up can still get roped back into the trip like some of the examples you mention. So in the end you just kind of give up and listen.

      Though I think the situation with OP is different because it doesn’t sound like she’s close friends with any of the co-workers so she isn’t likely to feel left out. But I can see the talks about partying and such getting annoying if the talks are preventing work from getting done.

  • Tan July 19, 2018, 7:22 am

    In any work place there is normally some young people going on about partys, some a bit older who only talk about their kids, some who just want to discuss gardening /sport etc etc. In general people have only what is going on in their life and the news to talk about. Yes you may find other peoples’ lives boring most people can fain enough interest to pass time at work. I’m not sure why this “annoys” you unless you actually do want to be invited /want to be able to go out. “If you are confident about your life choices, what other people do for fun doesn’t really shake the foundations of your soul or irritate it.” Well said.

  • Kry July 19, 2018, 7:23 am

    I find saying something like “That was very nice for you. Do you have the X report/small work task?” stops the braggers after a few repetitions.

    • sillyme July 19, 2018, 10:08 am

      love it.

    • Devin July 19, 2018, 2:30 pm

      That’s a great response if this is occurring in lieu of work, but if this is breakroom/lunch time conversation, you will quickly alienate yourself by being all work an no fun. If it’s work time just excuse yourself to go back to work, if it’s break time try to introduce a new topic or maybe ask a very direct question to be included in the conversation. “Oh you went to drink bar on Saturday, I heard they had a good brunch on Sunday too, have you tried it?”

  • JD July 19, 2018, 7:28 am

    I was raised not to discuss an invitation-only event to which others in hearing were not invited, unless it was something like a wedding of a couple that the others don’t know, my family reunion, etc., that they couldn’t expect to be invited to. That seems a bit rude to me, to discuss it in front of others, although they probably just figure OP and other “fuddy-duddies” didn’t want to come anyway. Whether it is rude of them or not, I’m not at work to hear long tales of anyone else’s weekend. I think saying, “We had a fun weekend , too — it sounds like we all did!” and then going on to a work topic or even the weather might finally get them to quit carrying on about their own weekend.

  • sillyme July 19, 2018, 7:59 am

    With all due respect to the admin’s point of view, there are some reasons this can be annoying that has nothing to do with envy for not having been invited.

    Such ramblings prevent the OP from getting his/her work done. I don’t mind the odd 3-5 minute chat once or twice a day, but if I have to prepare for a meeting, or work toward a deadline, then a rambling about getting wasted, etc., is annoying. That is the time to develop a Polite Spine. While it is nice to have friends at work, or be friendly at work, we are here to work, earn money and build our careers to hopefully earn more money. Once I realized that distinction, my world became a better place. I can see how impediments, such as overdrawn tales of alcohol-induced pseudo-glory, would be annoying.

    Polite spine options I’ve used: “I have a deadline in a few minutes,” or “My boss is expecting this soon.” There is also ducking down a hallway and yes, I’ve done it. I am not ashamed to admit it.

    • mark132 July 19, 2018, 11:49 am

      I actually will get another coworker involved in the conversation and then after a minute or two go back to working.

      • LizaJane July 19, 2018, 4:50 pm

        We need a “like” button.

  • Devin July 19, 2018, 8:51 am

    OP, you sound just like one of my coworkers. My department has many positions that are ideal for recent college grads or early career professionals. That means most of our office is single mid twenties and still like to spend their weekends partying or spontaneous road tripping, because they don’t have kids or own homes that need upkeep.
    The dichotomy in our group mostly splits single and young entry level staff and married older management staff, so it wouldn’t be appropriate for management to socialize in the ways the younger staff do.
    OP, if it’s not a management level difference with you and your coworkers, I’d make an occasion effort to join them for a happy hour. This way you can get to know a few people outside of work and have other topics of conversation to join in on. Since it’s happy hour, you’re totally in the clear to leave before people get drunk but you’ve fostered goodwill with your coworkers.

  • Harry's Mom July 19, 2018, 10:04 am

    At one company I worked for an upper management person would issue this statement every Friday: “May everyone enjoy the weekend and get what they justly deserve”. I thought it was stupid and pompous at the time since I was part of the hangover club, but it does ring true. Not sure where this fits into this dilemma but thought it deserved a mention.

  • Mary Sgree July 19, 2018, 10:08 am

    Oh I get this too. Where I work, there’s someone who does a hobby/competition thing every weekend. And while the actual activity sounds dreadfully boring to me, I have to listen about every inch of it, sometimes for days. And then watch videos of the competition! While I am excited this person loves other aspects of their lives (outside of work) I really dont understand that constant need for validation from other people over it. I too have an extracurricular activity that I enjoy and other than politely answering others questions about it, I just don’t talk about it at work. I wish someone could explain this type of personality quirk so I could figure out the exact right thing to say to this employee every Monday that makes them feel heard and validated but makes it clear that I’m not interested in any further details.

  • lkb July 19, 2018, 10:53 am

    I know it was just meant as a one-off comment, but I admit to being a bit put off by our dear admin’s use of “fuddy duddies”. It wasn’t meant to be but it rather smacks of being a subtle put down. Just because we’re married doesn’t mean we stopped enjoying life…

    • ALM July 19, 2018, 11:38 am

      Honestly, I found admin’s entire response uncharacteristically rude and dismissive. This behavior described is annoying, and it emphasizes and highlights the OP’s status as an outsider.

      I’ve been in this situation myself, surrounded by younger co workers who are outside work friends, blithely making clear that I am NOT an outside work friend. As an added bonus, the people my age eat in their offices at lunch (I don’t have an office and cannot eat at my desk, it’s in a research lab). I know they don’t mean it maliciously, but it gets tiresome to have that point driven home repeatedly. (And no, not all of us fuddy duddy people are married and have kids to talk about). Most of the time it’s not a big deal, but the summer when two employee weddings were going on, every lunch was a fun gauntlet of ‘let’s talk more about events for which you were the only one not invited’. People used to think this was rude, now everything is on Facebook and fair game.

      • AJH July 22, 2018, 3:21 am

        ALM, you said everything I was thinking, agreed with every sentence!

  • DGS July 19, 2018, 11:09 am

    If you feel left out, it can rankle, of course, and it might be wise to join the crew for happy hour every once in a while (and leave before they get wild), but otherwise, a well-placed and innocuous, “Oh, how nice! It sounds like a lovely trip, Jebediah. Now, about the Smith account”, would go a long way to re-direct the conversation…

  • Princess Buttercup July 19, 2018, 12:08 pm

    In my experience, people who want to brag like that, do _not_ want to listen to bragging. So when they start bragging you look for an opportunity to add: that sounds cool, I had a great weekend too. We did x. And it doesn’t have to be some big party. Can be as simple as I went to the farmers market and saw this crazy lady getting all upset about the apples not being big enough. It was crazy. But I picked up some great squash to try a new recipe.
    The braggers don’t want to hear your stories so they start avoiding telling you theirs because the point of bragging is to get the attention and reactions from listeners. If instead you just tell your own story they don’t get the satisfaction they seek.

  • AS July 19, 2018, 12:10 pm

    Please don’t separate the “married” vs “single” gangs! I got married quite late in life, and that meant that I was excluded from many of my married friend’s groups (and I was never into drinking parties anyway; tried for a couple of days, didn’t like them at all!). A friend of mine even made it a point to tell me recently, when she was visiting the town, that several years back when she was visiting the town and did not meet me was because “we were in different places in our lives”. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean, except that she was married then and I was not, and she did meet the other married friends. And I am sure that that single for life friend would like to hang out with some people his/her own age.

    About the chatter about the fun weekend – ignore it. Throw your own parties if you wish, for a group with common interests.

    • Bea July 20, 2018, 4:03 pm

      I have coupled friends and solo friends. Splitting them up would be so tiresome and rude.

      The only time I’ve kept distance because of “different places in life” was when a friend was doing outrageous things in her early 20s. I was working full time, she was not except for a few nights at the club. Lots of drugs etc.

      Being married or unmarried isn’t a big enough difference to me. I would keep distance if they were in a bad relationship and was slandering mine in an attempt to “bond”, been there. But yeah…I don’t see the purpose of keeping distance or dropping friends for very basic differences!

  • Annon July 19, 2018, 1:51 pm

    I am not sure how what the OP wrote got Admin and other people commenting saying that the group goes out and gets stinking drunk on the weekends. I read “parties and drinking isn’t my thing” – that could mean anything, but doesn’t necessarily mean they are drunk and vomiting every weekend.
    Not everyone in an office has to be friends outside of work. I work in an office with many women, I am friendly with all, and friends with one. Even being friends, we rarely do things outside of work b/c of distance between houses, and my kids and her child being involved in other activities on the weekends. It doesn’t mean we don’t have something to talk about when we get to work each day.
    If you don’t want to listen to them, and they start to talk, say “it sounds great, but I have to get back to what I was working on.” You don’t have to be rude, but if you don’t want to listen to them either, then you don’t have to.
    If you want to have a party, go ahead, invite who you want, but don’t exclude certain people at the office and only include certain people because that is what you feel they are doing. You know the saying “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Go and have a party, invite who you want, or don’t have a party and just do something that you enjoy. Spend less time on what they are doing, and more time on what you do or what you can do that makes you happy. Just because they are talking about their weekend, doesn’t make it annoying, just makes it pointless because you weren’t there……and it doesn’t sound like you have similar interests; and if you try to say something about your weekend and they don’t want to listen, excuse yourself if they continue to talk about their weekend and not listen to you.
    With it being Thursday today – enjoy your weekend, maybe you will have a good story for everyone come Monday!

  • Lisa Marie July 19, 2018, 2:52 pm

    At my work the guys usually talk sports all thru break time. So I smile and listen and ask a question once in awhile. I don’t understand nor can to understand sports. Luckily for me my husband doesn’t like sports. I have taken to eating lunch at my desk quietly reading a book or taking a walk so I don’t have to listen to it thru lunch either. They don’t seem to mind my absence.

  • LizaJane July 19, 2018, 4:59 pm

    It occurs to me that some of us older people used to be the ones carrying on about our weekend shenanigans. I understand that there are limits, but I like to remember my own youth sometimes. Try to appreciate the memories they’re making, recall one of your own then get to work.

  • Wendy oakley July 19, 2018, 11:55 pm

    Out of curiosity is this rambling to you and others completely out of the blue or are they answering a question? Ie is someone saying “how was your weekend/trip/holiday” or similar. If it’s just out of the blue try changing the subject in my opinion it’s not rude or annoying unless they don’t allow the subject change especially considering you have no interest in joining them. If they are answering a question then stop asking if you don’t want the answer

  • OP July 20, 2018, 7:35 am

    OP here. Thank you for everyone’s input into the situation. I originally did not want to go into detail but I think further detail is needed. What makes this annoying is that they are not just talking about what fun times they had. This is not me asking me “how was your weekend?” this is more them going into gossiping details about who said what about someone, who went home with who, and “secrets” that were exposed due to the flowing drinks. To my knowledge, I have never given anyone a reason to think I am a gossiper or enjoy this type of conversation. What is boils down to is that I do not care. Even if it was them just talking about what they did that weekend, I probably still would not care but it would be more boring than annoying. I am a bit passive aggressive so while I have not encouraged these conversations, I have not discouraged them either. I usually just stare blankly at the person sharing the story/gossip with me. That is why I came looking for advice on a way to professionally and gracefully leave the conversation before I end up becoming a story on here when I snap at one of them one day.

    • Ange July 22, 2018, 7:43 pm

      I don’t think it’s out of line to say “I don’t need to hear the gossip” and walk away but honestly I’m not sure why any of them are even talking to you since you seem to have a lot of disdain for pretty much everything about them.

    • DGS July 23, 2018, 1:40 pm

      This is one of those instances where being passive-aggressive is not a long-term sustainable strategy. You might cultivate either a) a more aggressive strategy or a b) a more passive strategy (not both). A more aggressive strategy may be to level the gossip with a cold look and say, “I am not interested in gossip”, or (slightly more softly), “I am not sure why I need to know that”. A more passive strategy may be to extricate yourself from the conversation by saying, “Please, excuse me. I must attend to the XYZ report” or simply, “Please, excuse me. I have a lot of work to do/a lot of emails to catch up on/a Victorian novel I am writing under a pseudonym that I must attend to”, etc.

  • NostalgicGal July 21, 2018, 2:04 am

    A lot of how to deal with it depends on your coworkers and the general working environment. I’ve worked in a lot of places and no two were exactly the same on how you interacted with the others in your department or between different departments. Every one had partiers and family centered and everything in between. So it would come to falling back on what the department or company usually did about such things. Some places like types would gravitate together, others you couldn’t avoid it. I feel for the OP but in general, it’s just an easy call if you can’t easily beandip and escape.

  • Catherine St. Clair July 21, 2018, 1:51 pm

    It’s no fun to be left out. I searched for my birth family for years and finally found them. I gave them the address of a brother who is also related to them, but of whom I am afraid as I grew up with him and know him as they do not. They have family reunions every few years and he is always invited, but I never have been. I have never even met them. My uncle would always send me pictures of them having a party or all lined up in chronological order. I was always listed as “absent”. I finally has to ask him to stop sending the photos. I felt the message was, ” Here we are, having a great time! Too bad no one wanted you.” I would not join the group discussing what they did.

  • MzLiz July 21, 2018, 7:36 pm

    OP – If you’re being truthful that this issue for you really boils down to just not wanting to listen to gossip, I can understand being frustrated when you’re roped into catty conversations. They can be esp. difficult to dodge when it’s your co-workers cos you’re all kinda lumped together. IMHO tho, you have every right to make it abundantly clear you’re not interested in talking behind people’s backs.

    I abhor malicious talk, secret-telling & rumour-spreading, particularly in a work setting since too many times it’s a manipulation tactic one person uses to defame another in order to cast aspersions on a co-worker’s character for personal gain. Messing around with someone’s livelihood is about as low as it gets. So if it helps, this is what’s worked for me: the second I realize someone is airing another person’s non-job-related dirty laundry to me, I gently interrupt & say something like, “Please don’t take this the wrong way but I’m very uncomfortable discussing a co-worker’s private business & I’d say the exact same if anyone was talking about you.” Then brightly change the subject so the tattle-tale doesn’t get defensive (I’m happy to chat, I just don’t want to GOSSIP. The world is full of better things to talk about. Tell me about your cats or whatever!) More often than not, people respect a kindly-put boundary & if they don’t, that’s their problem. If the scuttlebutt continues your way, the ‘Compliment Sandwich’ is handy; “You’r a cool person & do X really well but you need to tone down the gossip; I know you don’t mean any harm but people can be sensitive. I wouldn’t want anyone holding it against you cos you’re great at your job”. If they don’t take the constructive criticism well, the worst thing that can be said is that you’re not a gossip & don’t appreciate hearing it, which is hardly a flaw. (What would they do anyway? Go to HR & say you told them not to gossip??? Unlikely, but hilarious if they actually did). We can’t always be straight-forward in work situations but with stuff like this, I believe being upfront is best. You never know, your avoidance of gossip might even be infectious.

    If being nice-but-blunt isn’t for you, the Phantom Text/Call can bail you out in the moment but be prepared to have to use it a lot because they probably won’t take the hint. Or bring a book/use your ear-buds when on break – those are the universal socially recognized ‘Go Away’ signs. Some jobs even let you use ear-buds when working. Good luck not being ‘in the know’!

  • Julie July 22, 2018, 3:06 pm

    At my office, it’s usually the older people who don’t stop talking about their “boring” weekends with elderly family members or kids. I think I’m just tired of listening for 15 to 20 min when they don’t even bother asking how I’m doing. I just end the conversation and get back to work. The art if listening is truly lost these days.

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