I was at the gym (non work affiliated if it makes a difference) last week and ran into a co worker in the changing rooms. This would have been fine except she had just walked out of the shower completely starkers and tried to have a conversation with me, first normal chatting like "here for a run?" but then work related stuff. I tried to be polite but honestly wanted to keep chatter to a minimum in the hope that she would stop getting distracted and put some clothes on. I changed quickly for my activity, and then left.

But now I'm wondering was I rude for not wanting to engage in conversation with a naked co worker. She is generally lovely by the way so no issues there. How would other people handle this?

  • 34
    "Let's continue this conversation after we're dressed". May 13, 2016 at 13:33
  • 23
    Well, one of two people thought the situation was absolutely normal, and one thought it wasn't. In many places / cultures it is absolutely normal. The thing to remember: In some situations "no clothes" = appropriately dressed, and there is nothing sexual about it.
    – gnasher729
    May 13, 2016 at 14:02
  • 11
    Hmm, yeah; this.
    – user48138
    May 13, 2016 at 15:45
  • 17
    @Kilisi this is very much a cultural issue. Obviously, you or your culture consider nakedness a greater taboo than others. That doesn't make you right and them wrong any more than it makes you wrong and them right. It would never occur to me that someone would consider the sight of a naked body offensive to children. Apparently, it would never have occurred to you that someone might not consider it offensive. There's no call for referring to other people's take on the matter as "rubbish".
    – terdon
    May 13, 2016 at 16:49
  • 6
    Your local culture and your gender make a difference to this. In my experience, in the UK, changing rooms are single-sex and in a male one, (my experience is limited to that) no-one is concerned about nakedness, though no-one flashes themselves around ostentatiously either. Conversations continue while people undress, shower, and dress. YMMV
    – peterG
    May 13, 2016 at 17:00

3 Answers 3


Just tell her to put some clothes on, I'm assuming you're both female. Or turn your back and talk. There's nothing wrong with not looking.

I've never had exactly the same situation, and I'm male anyway, but in a similar situation I just told the guy in a joking manner. "You going to put some pants on mate? Or are we going to have a sword fight?"

It's similar to those people who think it's fine to chat while you're on the toilet, it's best to just let them know you're not comfortable about it but trying not to be embarrassed. "Sorry dude, give me a bit of privacy for a minute, really pushing on this one, need to concentrate or I might injure myself."

  • 6
    d'at banter....
    – user47639
    May 13, 2016 at 14:37
  • 10
    Laughing far more than is appropriate for a Workplace:SE answer. Thank you :)
    – Marv Mills
    May 13, 2016 at 14:45
  • 13
    @MarvMills humour serves the purpose of covering up the awkwardness while drawing attention to the fact that you don't want to get involved in their floorshow.
    – Kilisi
    May 13, 2016 at 14:52
  • 37
    What if he does want a sword fight?
    – Agent_L
    May 13, 2016 at 16:58
  • 17
    @Agent_L then you have sword fight, simple. May 13, 2016 at 18:51

Just tell her you are on a schedule and need to get going.

If naked makes you uncomfortable then fine.

For many people showers or changing room is not a big deal. If you play sports a lot of banter takes place in the showers and changing (locker) room.

  • 7
    Lies make me uncomfortable, and that schedule story is a lie.
    – donjuedo
    May 13, 2016 at 20:03
  • 1
    White lie at worst, in the interest of politeness. Honesty can become a vice when overdone.
    – keshlam
    May 13, 2016 at 20:15
  • 1
    @donjuedo Then say what ever truth you want
    – paparazzo
    May 13, 2016 at 21:15

you could just say

i generally don't talk to people while they are naked.

it is polite, simple, direct, and non-confrontational.

side note: i have a similar policy about bathroom chat. if someone is getting too chatty, i just say

i don't chat in the bathroom.

  • 2
    Why so formal? Just tell the other person to continue talking after you're both dressed. May 13, 2016 at 21:31
  • 1
    telling other people what to do is confrontational, and arguably unethical. it is best to stick to statements about yourself and what you intend to do. May 16, 2016 at 18:24
  • I corrected that downvote for you; this is a perfectly cromulent answer
    – Mawg
    Oct 24, 2017 at 11:13

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