Ahhhh.... the pregnant silences birthed by awkward situations. When I get uncomfortable, I start sweating like a hippo on a treadmill. I promise you this: it is an unpleasant experience for all parties involved. Here are some go-to conversation starters to get you through that painfully awkward elevator ride at work.

Mention Mutual Friends

“Oh by the way, how’s Rana?” Well, I haven’t spoken to her since your birthday party four years ago but I guess Rana is spectacular, just for the sake of this painful conversation.


Possibly the primary complaint of the Lebanese public, electricity is a great conversation filler. Try, “Oh, the electricity is so bad why lord, why? Why can’t we have stable supply of electricity? Give me some electricity.” Any variation of this topic will do, you can even just mumble the word “electricity” and let your fellow elevator inhabitant unleash a rant worthy of Gerard Butler in the movie, "300."

General Malaise/Defeat

Use phrases like “still alive,” “same old,” and “nothing ever changes, just getting old” for a spicy and festive edition of small talk. This will be met with intense agreement on how much life truly sucks. You can also discuss our dead-end economy and political instability – misery loves company.

Having a Broken Bone

This extreme measure is reserved for situations of utmost discomfort. Having a broken bone will give you an endless supply of small-talk material, rest assured that everyone you meet will ask how you broke the bone and how long you have to wear a cast for. You won’t have to talk about anything else for months.


Old but gold. Discuss the rain, the heat, the mildness of the weather, the extremity of the weather, whatever you’d like, really. For an added kick, involve electricity in your discussion! Do you need electricity to survive this weather? Is your air conditioner running on such electrical circumstances in this weather? Watch their heads explode once you combine both electricity and weather into one talking point.


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