In the morning, I typically greet every coworker I see with a simple "good morning" or they will greet me first in such a way.

Say I'm walking to my desk and a coworker happens to leave the washroom right in front of me, should I say "hello/good morning" or is that awkward?

I ask because I have greeted coworkers in such a situation but never get a reply back. Whereas if I greeted the same person in the lunchroom or at their desk, they would reply.

  • 2
    Gender & location might be relevant here. I've had co-workers spark a conversation at the urinals.
    – dustytrash
    Jan 17, 2020 at 19:03

3 Answers 3


This is a very cultural thing and also gender-based

I am a male Canadian, born and raised. My father's side of the family (the side my bathroom norms would come from) has been here since before we became a country. Greeting someone exiting the washroom is strange to me. My co-workers who are American or even European have never done it either. I don't really know why it is not done, but it is not done. Jamaicans also do not seem to converse in or near bathrooms.

But then co-workers from other continents will start conversations while both of us are at the urinal. We can both be peeing and they will casually ask how my part of the project is going.

Women will go to the washroom in groups, so these norms just appear to apply to men.

Say I'm walking to my desk and a coworker happens to leave the washroom right in front of me, should I say "hello/good morning" or is that awkward?

This really depends on where you are located and what your co-workers are like. I adapt my behavior to what others initiate. Someone wants to say hi in and out of the washroom, I am fine with that. If they want to completely avoid others, that is fine as well.

  • Could you please explain a little more, why greeting "someone exiting the washroom" is strange to you? I understand people doing their business in the washroom don't like to talk much. But I'd not expect this anonymity is extended to even outside the washroom.
    – puck
    Jan 19, 2020 at 8:02
  • @puck mostly because it has never been done in my life by anyone. Acknowledging the bodily functions of other men is considered awkward and as a result, becomes awkward. Jan 21, 2020 at 17:46
  • I imagine the situation as someone walking in the aisle and someone else coming out of a normal door into this aisle, with the icon on the door being the only peculiarity. acknowledging bodily functions sounds interesting ... please only say good morning, not hope you had a good $$$$ :-) But it really must be region dependant, so it should be a good idea to just do as others do.
    – puck
    Jan 22, 2020 at 9:39

I'm assuming that you are fairly new to the company. In that case, and in any event, do what others do.

If "greeting people as they leave the washroom" is commonplace, then feel free to do the same.

If "no one" greets others as they leave the washroom, don't do that either.

Based on your comment that people don't greet you leaving the washroom, but do greet you elsewhere, the latter appears to be the case.


should I say "hello/good morning" or is that awkward?

It is not important what we think but is important what the person who you greet think. In your case, if they felt awkward, then just do not do it.

If you do not know before hand and you still want to be polite, you can simply smile and look away and continue with your walk in or out of washroom.

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