Help! I have an IF (Interested Face)
10 September 2014, 12:03
Nairobi - You know how some people have a BRF (Bitchy Resting Face)? I have an IF (Interested Face).
This entails wearing an expression which encourages people (from random strangers in supermarkets to colleagues) to tell me their life story. I am not joking.
I once stood behind a lady in a check out queue who turned to me and when I smiled politely she promptly explained her purchases.
Now I love fancy biscuits as much as the next person but I don’t find it necessary to share that with a random shopper. But if you have an IF, you will get spoken to. A LOT.
A colleague who has legendary skills in over-sharing has over the years told me just about everything I need to know and a million things I’d rather not.
I’ll call her G for this as it is the first letter of the word GROAN.
Something I do inwardly numerous times a day. Over time I’ve been told the antics of each of her cats. This involves detailed descriptions of everything they have done since she got them.
One ran away.
I received updates for quite some time afterwards.
As a fulltime member of the food police I now know every diet she has ever been on. Each dietician/nutritionist/weight loss club joined.
I’ve been the person who returns to their desk to find G’s entire eating plan sprawled across my stationery.
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Same with her wedding book (a collection of photos – some very blurred – which I had to oooh and aaah over while simultaneously squinting at the out of focus pics).
It sadly doesn’t end there.
I’ve been privy to details of what she was in her past life. No I am not joking – that conversation is a very long 15 minutes of my life I will never get back. Ever. It involved Ancient Egypt and hieroglyphics.
And more cats.
Highlights of her oversharing include everything she has eaten in the past day.
Health updates encompass blood sugar readings (her health issues are advertised with the pride one reserves for climbing Mount Everest or promoting world peace).
Everything from childhood experiences to what her garden looks like and more.
Her facial waxing. Her hairdresser and why everyone should go there.
I have had to suffer through endless conversations that never end whilst hoping the evacuation drill will sound so that I can escape. I have risked bladder infections so that I don’t have to run into her in the ladies.
Or hidden in the stall once she arrives.
I’ve had to listen to details of a dinner at a restaurant I’ll never go to, in a shopping mall I don’t enjoy visiting and hear what people I don’t know had for supper.
Murphy’s law it was a massive table and I had to hear what every single person had for each of the 3 course meals.
I now know that Bertie and his wife enjoyed the calamari. Why would anyone think I need to know this?!? I don’t even know who Bertie is!!
And then I feel awful for being such a mean girl.
Because there are times I actually envy the cat that ran away. He is free. He will never have to listen to a conversation that goes “and then I had a piece of low GI bread with a slice of tomato.
“I should have kept half but I didn’t. I ate it all.”
The relentless bleating of nonsense is all because I am unable to change my expression from one of interest to one that says “Why on earth are you telling me this!”
Some say I am too polite.
I just sit or stand and nod and tilt my head and make mmmmm sounds every few minutes and sadly this is more than enough for over-sharers.
I’ve tried shuffling papers on my desk, rattling my keyboard and even looking pointedly at the book I was reading at the time. Nothing budges G once she has settled in for a session.
I write this wondering if there are others with IFs and what they do when bombarded with useless info.
If you don’t have one, then thank your lucky stars.
I’d take a BRF any day as it would mean never having to listen to anything to do with waxing, health updates and what life was like in Ancient Egypt.
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