I have a rule: People should not talk in to other people in elevators. Sure, exchange a smile and mild pleasantries, share a short laugh at something funny on the tv screen. But for goodness sakes, limit your interactions.
Trust me, I should know.
For example, a few years ago, I reached the realization that I had far more shoes at work than is acceptable. I packed up a box to take some home and on my ride down the elevator, a man looked over at my box and told me that, “It’s ok. The economy is rough on everyone. You’ll find a new job.”
Now granted, this was the middle of the recession and people were being laid off. But I’m pretty sure that I smiled at him when he got in the elevator. I may have even said hello. I am confident that I was not an emotional disaster. And had I just received notification that I was to be let go, I can guarantee “emotional disaster” doesn’t even come close to describing the mess I would be.
At least he was full of platitudes in the effort to make me feel better.
But my next elevator conversation led to a dress burning.
An older gentleman rushed into the elevator just as the door was closing and turned to me and congratulated me. Yes, he said congratulations. I said, “For what?” thinking he may have me confused with someone else. And he proceeded to pat himself on the back by saying, he can always tell. “It’s just that glow that you have.”
By now, I’ve figured out that he thought I was pregnant. Sure, it wasn’t the MOST flattering dress but it was really cinched at the waist. But to make me look pregnant?
He got off the elevator before I could do more then stare at him with my mouth open.
But I think appropriate responses would have ranged from:
No, I’m sorry, I’m not pregnant. But how far along are you? (This works especially well if the men have a belly.)
OMG … How did you know? I just found out this morning and now you have ruined my surprise!
Thank you, I’m 10 months along and I am so excited to know that I am finally beginning to show.
I’m not pregnant but I think my alternate personality might be.
If you feel the need to break my cardinal rule about talking in the elevator, at least never, ever, ask someone if they are pregnant. And I can say I’m not going to ever wear that particular dress again.