I used to walk around the office with a Resting B Face so that people would find me less approachable. There are few sufferings more torturous than listening to a coworker prattle on about their latest invoicing issue.
Then I got coaching that I needed to soften my Grumpy image. I went through a painful phase where I tried actually smiling at people, but I recently discovered an effective new tool in avoiding human interaction: Pretending to be Sleepy (and no, I don’t mean the dwarf, although that would probably be an effective tactic, too. I doubt anyone would willingly approach an adult wearing a Seven Dwarfs costume).
Putting on the non-Seven-Dwarfs costume of Sleepiness is a rather natural disguise to wear early in the morning. When you get into the elevator to go up to your office during the week, just close your eyes as though trying to catch a few more seconds of Zzzzs. Furrowing your brow just slightly will also cause any observers to believe that you had a rough night and just need some peace and quiet. Whether or not you’ve had a rough night, peace and quiet you will get.
Once you arrive at your desk, ensure to move very slowly and methodically, putting down your bags and settling into your chair. Keep your eyelids droopy and your expression placid. Repeating this routine for a few weeks will allow coworkers to think you’re not a morning person. This is a winning strategy for those of us who actually are morning people but just don’t like to share our morning quiet time with other human beings.
When you are walking the hallways to the bathroom or kitchen area, you will inevitably encounter coworkers who will want to talk to you (or talk AT you… about their kids, their gardening, their weekend, the latest football game, etc). Keep that dull expression on your face and blink lazily every few seconds.
When they very predictably ask if you’re alright, inform them that you haven’t had your coffee yet. Whether or not you are a coffee drinker, this magical statement pulls at the heartstrings of everyone in corporate America and will earn you a knowing nod as well as the pleasure of seeing your coworker walk away.
As the day moves into the afternoon, substitute your “sleepy” look for a more “tired” look. When forced into conversation, make comments like, “It’s been a long day.” Exude low energy and no one will want to be around you.
Ladies, this is the moment to try pulling off that “grunge look.” It’s the totally fashion forward way to ensure that everyone leaves you alone. Succeed in your K.Stew impersonation, and peace and quiet will finally be yours.