I have a coworker who, without fail, asks me the same set of small talk lunch-related questions.
Every. Single. Day.
(As I'm heading out the door)
Him: Where you goin?!
Me (usually more specific): To that one food cart.
(when I get back from lunch)
Him (over enthusiastically): Wadd'ya get?!
Me (trying to get back to my desk): A sandwhich.
Him: What kind of sandwich?
Me: A such-and-such with so-and-so.
Him: Nice dude, nice. Did you get any chips? What was their special?
This is so routine that when he was gone one day and I headed out the door, the boss mocked him by asking the same set of questions. We both laughed in that, "It's funny but highly annoying" kind of way. I've tried to invite the guy to lunch but because I get up at 5AM, I can't make it until 12:30PM to eat lunch like he does so he'll decline my offer. Additionally, it annoys me a bit because he'll ask something specific like, "What are their specials?" or "Are they busy?" but then he never goes because he brings a lunch or says, "I'm going to go here-and-here instead cuz I'm on a diet." So it reveals to me that he's just trying to make pointless conversation- but it's tough to make daily conversation revolving around my lunch.
Again, outside of this daily thing, I do like the guy. But every single day this just annoys me more and more; a lot of it probably has to do with the fact that I absolutely cannot stand small talk. So for me as a social introvert, this literally makes me uncomfortable as I have to anticipate getting grilled about my lunch before I leave and when I get back. In reality, when I come back to the office to eat, it's specifically because my lunch break is my "me time" in the day where I do some reading on Stack Exchange. I really look forward to this moment in my day and don't want to be standing in the middle of the office with my lunch in my hand playing 20-questions over my lunch.
I've worn ear buds before as I've walked into the office in order to avoid his questions. If so, he'll message me via our work messaging client to make sure to get his daily scoop on my lunch.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that this conversation happens literally every day.
EDIT: There's a few comments/suggestions that I'm simply denying him the chance to socialize or that I should be more friendly. I'd say these are fair assumptions most of the time, but in this circumstance they're not entirely accurate.
For example, I frequently invite him to hangout outside of work. To the movies, to dinner, to my place, etc. We've hung out once as a consequence of this (again, it was me that prompted it) but every other time I invite him out, he says something like, "Oh man, thanks! I'm too tired today, maybe next week?" So I ask him next week and usually get the same answer.
I'm not unfriendly. Also, please consider that pushing the stereotype that introverts don't like to be social isn't true. We like being social, we just don't like talking about trivial things like lunch :] Running time of algorithms? New Harry Potter novel? College football draft? Let's talk all day!
I have tried to steer the conversation, but it still doesn't take away from the fact that he just grills me everyday about my lunch. Every day lol. So my question specifically is about the fact that I don't know how to tell him to cut it out because it really annoys me.
Anyways, I appreciate the support and suggestions so far! I just wanted to clear the air regarding us introverts and how we work. Again- we're not antisocial! Just not big on using our small lunch time for daily water-cooler conversation about the same topic. Thank you guys!