Is It Ever Ok to Talk About Your Weird Interest at Work?
Everyone has interests, some are just more workplace appropriate than others. Have a favorite sports team? Totally ok to talk about it. You ask Linda in Accounting that one time if she’s ever seen a ghost, and she can’t look you in the eye for a week. Hardly seems fair, does it?
We’re not saying you can’t have a favorite sports team and an interest in the paranormal, you’re a well-rounded person after all. It does seem that of the two, one you’d feel comfortable discussing in front of anyone at your organization, and the other one you’d probably have to read the room before you dipped your toe into that conversational pond.
None of us are robots (unless you are, and if so, well done on having an AI intuitive enough to find our blog!) so of course you’re going to have unique things that you get passionate about. Sharing your passion with the people you work with can be a great way to create and strengthen bonds, as well as find common ground with people you wouldn’t expect. So yeah, you may really enjoy making dolls clothes on the weekend, Bob, but hopefully you’re self-aware enough to not talk about that to everyone you see on Monday morning, especially if nobody asked.
So when is it appropriate to bring it up? Friends, we’d like to introduce you to the concept of the three-tier “conversational pyramid” something we made up because we kept on getting weird looks when we tried to talk about our love of Frank Stallone movies (Sylvester’s lesser-known brother.)
Tier 1, The Base
At the base of the pyramid, you have your broadest categories. These are things that everyone likes or has an opinion on. So, “movies,” “sports,” “food,” etc. Tier 1 subject matter is what basically everyone has a passing interest in, which you’re free and clear to discuss. Now, here’s the genius of the pyramid, as you build the relationship, you move up the scale. Some people you’re always going to keep at Tier 1, that’s fine. The people who you do build a rapport with, you should feel comfortable sharing your more unique interests with, as long as it’s work-place appropriate.
Tier 2, The Middle
Here we have people with whom you would consider more than acquaintances, but less than friends. You may do happy hour with them occasionally, but you don’t socialize on the weekends. You’re probably ok to share with them your more unique interests without fear of them running for the hills. You most likely don’t want to get super specific with everything, to test the waters first, but chances are pretty good your love of writing Harry Potter fanfiction isn’t going to be met with awkward silence and a permanent inability to make eye contact with you.
Tier 3, The Top
This is the most elite tier and the smallest. If you consider someone a friend, and there is trust built there, feel free to openly share whatever floats your boat (again, as long as it’s workplace appropriate.) Just be prepared once you do it, they may share their weird interests in return. You can’t un-ring that bell, friend.
So to answer our own question—yes you can share your interests, just be sure you’re sharing it with the right person. We’re definitely not advocating you announce during the interview process that you run an unofficial Family Guy fan club online unless you’re interviewing with Seth MacFarlane himself. There’s a time and a place for everything, and we strongly encourage you to utilize the pyramid to decide when to shoot your shot.