In part of an answer to a question related to discussion, someone made this statement:

Save non-work-related chat until the whole team is out of flow.

With my experience, I am terrible at reading people, to see if they are open to casual talk for a while, or if they don't want their work to be interrupted, so I don't know when to start chatting with them. Also, my own life isn't very interesting to talk about, as I don't go out on a typical weekend. I don't want to start talking "just because".

I am good at staying focused on my own work all time, but usually when I talk I tend to catch people at a bad time (they are quickly interrupted by some work-related order). And at work there are conversations that can be over 15 minutes long.

This is not a problem for me in non-work related situations, such as a friendly outing or a party, because I know people want to talk. But at work I either risk being labeled a shut-in or a guy who slacks off too much. How do I balance it? How do I know when to start/finish a chat, and make it sound natural without being forced or contrived?

  • 1
    I put my headphones on when I want to be left alone with my work.
    – Letharion
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 19:16

2 Answers 2


Generally I avoid talking to people if they seem to be involved in any work related activity. However, people always go to the break room for example, and in those opportunities I always try to acknowledge them, and depending on their reaction start a conversation.

Even if it is a simple "looks like rain today" it will break the ice and if the other person wants to engage fine, if not they will reply "yeah, too bad" or "I don't think so" and go their merry way.

  • One of my other problems is when I talk to people and they are interested to talk, they tend to get interrupted by a phone call or some other need to work. When I see other people do it they can go on for a long time without having anything stop them.
    – Chris C
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 21:01

General tendency of a human is being in the community or mob to communicate. So there are times when people become more friendly and will talk casually once they are familiar with each other and spent time together.

I generally find out the topics of persons interest like movies, upcoming technologies and so on and have a talk with them while in lunch time, tea break etc.

Give the time to the relationship and then you wont face any problem in any type of relationship

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