Today, at the breakfast there were two people having a chat. I know one person well and just joined to say hi to that person. After doing a little chatty with her I started eating my meal.

While I was eating, those two people continued their conversation. I was listening to it and unintentionally I was showing them I am actively listening to it. My friend there could be okay with that, but not sure about the other person. They were talking about something related to work, but very far away from my domain. A department far away.

Is it professional to listen actively to a conversion where a two or more people talking? Out of those people I know only one person.

  • Was the conversation work related, or were they discussing personal matters? – Terence Eden Oct 16 '14 at 8:50
  • What was the setting like? Were you all sitting at the same table? Did it feel like you were eavesdropping or more like you were an inactive participant in the conversation? – Bart van Ingen Schenau Oct 16 '14 at 10:03

If the conversation is not about work, you know what the answer is to your own question. Having said that, the two parties to the conversation are having their conversation where you can hear it. Their problem, not yours if you can overhear everything they say.