Workplace Etiquette

Here’s a situation that I often encounter in the workplace:

When I walk through a narrow hallway, I sometimes encounter two or more people (that I may or may not know) conversing in that hallway – one on one side of the hallway, another on the other side of the hallway. Their conversation blocks the hallway. Do I:

A. Stop at the blockage and wait for them to notice me and one or the other move aside to let me pass?

B. Look for another way around the blockage (including leaving the building and finding another entrance) so I do not disturb their conversation?

C. Timidly say “Excuse me,” and duck between them?

D. Plow through their conversation without saying a word?

E. Ask them why you did not get an invite to this meeting?

F. Exclaim “Excuse me!” and bull my way through?

G. Mutter sotto voce “Get a room!” and pass through as though they couldn’t hear me?

It seems clear to me that they are committing a breach of etiquette by conversing in this manner and blocking pedestrian traffic, but does this give me the right to repay them in kind? Can I treat this as a “teachable moment” and explain how their behavior is an inconvenience to others?

Since the possibilities I have presented range from the politic to downright animosity, it is probably obvious which choice(s) I would pick if I had my druthers. Lately, however, I have been noticing that sometimes my own behavior does not promote harmony and peace (something in too short a supply nowadays), and I am trying to change my evil ways (lord knows, there ought to be a song about that).

Perhaps, I have completely missed the correct behavior; if so, please feel free to enlighten me. That said, however, while I am truly searching for a factual answer, please do not let that dissuade any of you from offering additional solutions (especially at the low end of the scale) that might provide a chuckle or two to anyone interested in this thread. That is something I know SDMBers are especially good at!

I’m genuinely lost for words that someone feels the need to ask this.

I always like to assume that other people don’t realize they’re being annoying. I know I’m often oblivious and block people’s way, interrupt, or whatever. I’d just cheerfully say “excuse me, lemme just squeeze by you, thanks!” and get on with my life.

I dunno, amanset, I’ve encountered this scenario often, and sometimes it’s Highly Paid Important People doing the hallway blocking, so on the one had you want to display proper deference and etiquette and on the other hand THEY’RE the ones being rude.

I go with something sorta like “F” and say “Sorry, 'scuse me, I’m just gonna walk right through your conversation!” in a chipper tone and then just do exactly that.

Extra points awarded for going outside and using the window-washer rig to come in through a window just beyond the “blockage”.:smiley:

This happens to me all the time. I guess I go somewhere between C and F. I mean, it’s “timid.” I just say excuse me and walk through. If you don’t want people walking through your conversation, don’t string it across the hallway.

My strategy is to duck visibly and comically between them. It doesn’t really interrupt their line of sight but kind of lets them know that the only way through isn’t really convenient.

Use your magnetic grapple to secure a line to the ceiling suspension, then quietly swing by over their heads. Duh.

Death is not an option? Surely leaving their dead bodies in the hallway would send a strong signal to others who may attempt to block the flow.

As an etiquette question, this is best suited to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

As you come down the hall, start making choo-choo sounds while moving your arms up and down like the driver rod of a steam locomotive. As you approach the blockage, shout “TOOT-TOOT” and then yell “Coming through!” I guarantee they will get out of your way.

I’m going to assume all options you provided other than ‘C’ were jokes.

So, ‘C’.

I duck down into the Groucho walk, complete with fake cigar and wagging eyebrows, and say “Now that’s the most ridiculous thing I evah hoid!” as I plow on through.

Pick up some speed then leap through while turning your body sideways like you’re Indiana Jones. Or C/F.

I’m curious as to why you apparently didn’t consider the middle ground between C and F – assertively but pleasantly say “Pardon me” and pause a brief moment while they step aside. No need to be timid, and no need to plow through.

Now, if they don’t make room for you, that’s another matter.

Just that. I wonder why you didn’t mention it as one of your choices?
And how is it a “breach of etiquette” to run into somebody in the hallway and get carried away discussing something you had been meaning to take up with them (or any other conversation for that matter?) for a number of minutes?

How is it an “inconvenience” to say “scuse me guys!” and walk through? (Neither timidly, nor aggressively).

I hope you really do that!

I go with the timid pass-through, but my husband goes with the bull-through and the ostentatious “Excuse me!” Coincidentally, I was listening to him do this earlier today in the hallway near my cubicle. Result: the hen party blocking the passage briefly got 10X louder and jollier. (“Yeah, Kim, some people are trying to work here!” “I’m working, you’re the one’s gotta socialize!” etc.)

“excuse me” with a smile, and quickly pass by. It’s that easy.

Bonus points if you drag a fart through while passing, too.

You have to make yourself look bigger. Open your blazer and shout loudly. That will break up the meeting.

Do you work in an office with bears? And if so, do the bears wear suits? And if so, do you have any pictures? :smiley: