Workaholic Missives: No, I Don’t “Just Want To Chat”

Workaholic Missives: No, I Don’t “Just Want To Chat” July 23, 2016

One the most annoying phrases I see in communication is, “Wanna chat?” Here’s why.

An outdoors selfie on a busy day.
An outdoor selfie on a busy day.

I’m restarting my Workaholic Missives post series, and I’ve picked a topic that really pisses me off to begin the reboot.

If you’re a workaholic AND an introvert like me, then you probably only rarely “want to chat.” Chatting implies small talk, which to me connotes lack of intention, purpose, or direction. I don’t want to waste time with that bullshit. I want to hear what you’re really passionate about, afraid of, obsessed with, losing sleep over. What drives you to work yourself to the bone? Which topics are you educating yourself on? What makes your brain fire at full speed?

I’m already very mercenary about how I spend my time, especially my non-working time. If you see me on the internet, there’s a good chance that I’m working, but I also might be taking a few minutes to relax. Either way, why would you waste my time with something as superficial as an invitation to chat? Either tell me what’s really going on with you, or save us both the time and don’t say anything at all.

You don’t know what my workload looks like, so don’t presume that I’ve got the time to “chat.” When I want human connection, I’ll seek it out. If you sound like you’re blithely intruding on my work time, that will not dispose me kindly toward you.

The other reason the “wanna chat?” invitation pisses me off is because it’s often code for flirting. Don’t get me wrong, I think flirting is fun… but not when I’m working. And I’m almost always working. As I wrote in my post Sex Positivity and Sex Out of Context, I’m a pretty sex-positive person and that often means that I’m up for talking about sex, or flirtatious banter, or whatever. None of that, however, is an invitation for more, unless “more” is explicitly named and negotiated. I think that “wanna chat?” obscures rather than illuminates intentions, thus it bugs me.

So basically, I’m no fun ever, and people should just stop talking to me so I can work 24/7? Well… not quite. But I’d love it if more people recognized that having a conversation takes valuable time, and that my work is so compelling, and the rest of my life so engaging, that the bar’s gotta be set higher than “chatting.”

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