Let's imagine that I go home after work and suddenly my colleague catches up with me and walks next to me.

Since we have no common interests there is nothing to talk about or at least no any topic interesting for both of us comes in my mind. Eventually “that awkward silence” situation appears.

I do respect my colleague and find him/her vary a decent man/woman. I know there are a few common ways how to deal with this situation: wearing headphones, sunglasses, or another accessory which will make you appear less approachable.

I believe it will work but from my point of view it is quite easy to recognize and actually a bit rude, because it is like to say implicitly "I don't want you to walk with me".

My situation is a bit different, because actually I have nothing against the fact that someone will come with me, but I do believe that if someone comes up to you that is his/her responsibility to come up with a topic.

Just want to know whether it is something wrong with me or there is a way how to handle this situation with “that awkward silence”?

  • People, OP is not asking How to Start a conversation?, OP wants to know if the attitude, that the Person who comes up to the other Person is responsible for starting a conversation, is OK. – RealCheeseLord Nov 10 '17 at 9:27
  • Actually yes, that is exactly what I need to know. – Oleksandr V Nov 13 '17 at 16:14
  • What if the person takes pleasure just from the act of walking along with you, and feels comfortable to do so without conversation? You might go stir crazy waiting for them to get the conversation rolling. Are you okay with them walking with you if you don't feel pressured to start and maintain a conversation? It seems like your objection to them walking along is the awkwardness of not speaking, not their presence, per se. Of course, if you can't walk along with them quietly without feeling that, then my inquires are kind of pointless. – PoloHoleSet Dec 27 '17 at 22:57

There is definitely a bad way to handle it. If I was walking to my car after work with someone chatting and they put on headphones, that would 100% be rude. However if either party starts out with headphones, the appropriate thing to do would be to do a quick smile-and-nod and continue walking your merry separate ways.

That said, assuming the walk is short there is always something to talk about. If the common "how was your weekend" chat dries up, you can always fall back on complaining. Complain about anything. Gas prices. Your phone battery dying. Is it a gorgeous fall day? Complain about the snow that's right around the corner. Complain about a common gripe, and your coworker can join in!

Note: I wouldn't say complaining should be your go-to, but it's a solid last-resort awkward-stopper. I try to balance every complain-y conversation I have with 2 positive ones.


Are you asking for ways to avoid your colleague talking to you at all or are you simply looking for a way to start up a conversation? You also don't specify how long you're walking together for - this could be a factor too.

If you're asking for conversation starters, well, it's not necessarily down to the person joining to initiate the conversation. A good opener in this instance could be "Hey name, how was your day?". If it's the weekend, "Hey name, looking forward to the weekend?" works just as well. If something interesting happened at work that you were both involved in, maybe chat about that to pass the time.

There's no expectation of either party to have in-depth conversations. Just make polite chit-chat to pass the time. You may find, you actually have more in common than you realise. After all, you both work for the same place, right?


Assuming you want to continue the conversation, you should consider meeting them halfway, and hope they will meet you halfway too?

Some times other people just completely shut down the conversation for me? For instance, if I try to talk to someone about everyday chitchat:

A: "How was your weekend?"

B: "Good."

In my opinion, B just ended the conversation with me. 1.) They didn't give any info about their weekend, so they don't want to talk about their weekend. 2.) They didn't ask me about my weekend meaning they don't care about my weekend, so I can't continue the topic and talk about my weekend. Now I feel really awful for asking them about their weekend, because they hate me and don't enjoy talking to me.

But if B were to try and meet me halfway like:

A: "How was your weekend?"

B: "Good, I got to see Thor: Ragnorok. How was your weekend?"

A: "Oh! I heard great reviews about it, but what did you think of it?"

B: (B's opinion, etc etc) ...

A: "Oh, interesting, I wish I could see it" but I've been busy (doing whatever) all weekend, and probably next weekend too...

Then B has a choice of asking you what you've been up to, or bring up that "the movie might make it to netflix eventually anyway" if they felt like keeping the conversation going or you can change the topic to a movie you've seen, or shows on netflix you've been in to.

But it's really up to if they will help you continue the conversation too, so maybe it's not your fault. In your case, it looks like they want to talk to you (if they keep seeking you out after work) so maybe you're shutting down the conversation with them? (Not sure of course) But if they're asking you about your day or something, don't be afraid to give little unimportant details? To let them have a chance to continue the conversation? (If you want to continue talking of course)

If you're having trouble thinking up topics, there's always their plans for the upcoming weekend/holidays, pets, latest news, kids, how their day at work was, the show / game / etc that you're in to lately... etc. Maybe one of them will lead to a common interest you both can play off of.

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