The workplace is filled with terrible conversations. They can happen in the kitchen or while coming out of the bathroom where nobody says audible words, and instead talk in a weird hot breathed voice, whispering things like "thank you" or "excuse me". Constantly exposing yourself to this uncomfortable and unnecessary whisper tone is hazardous to your health and will surely drive you crazy over time. Follow the steps below and your work day will be slightly less miserable and mentally crippling.
Rub your eyes, because if you're rubbing your eyes you can't make eye contact to get trapped into a conversation. Sure this may look like you have chronic pink eye, or may even result in it, but it works. You'll be sending a message "I can barely stand here without falling asleeping, let alone try to have a conversation." As Ferris Bueller once said, this may seem childish and stupid, but then again so is having a job.
You've heard of always be closing. Well if you don't want to say a word to anyone, and be regarded as a hard-working employee, always, and I mean always, have something in your hands. Have to run to the bathroom? No problem, grab a piece of paper off the printer. It doesn't even have to be paper. Got an apple? You're headed off to lunch! A pen? You've got to get somewhere to write something down, that's for sure. A man with something in his hands is a man too busy for chit-chat.
Some people don't care if you're holding something. Hell, their unexciting weekend or story about their baby doing the same things every other baby does is way more important than that report you're reading (as far as they know). That's why you need to look angry while reading it. Pretend this piece of paper is a ransom note from someone who has kidnapped your grandmother and you have no idea what depraved sexual things they'll do to her. Have you ever talked to an angry person? Nobody would volunteer to do that, it's a nightmare. That's like asking to work at the United Airlines help desk listening to people tell you that you not only lost their luggage, but also their grandmother!
These fucking people, am I right? They don't care if you're trying to come up with ransom money to save your kidnapped grandmother or have some medical problem, they just have to give you their review of the latest Walking Dead (spoiler alert: unless it's the season finale, nothing really happened). It's time to go full crazy. Count on your fingers wherever you go. But your job doesn't deal with numbers? Who cares. People will either think you're so important you always have to be crunching numbers or so crazy they won't want to come within ten feet of you. Either way it's a win-win.
They won't be stopped, they will find a way. So go with the old saying, and if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Start giving them a taste of their own medicine until they overdose. Talk to everyone and anyone you can find, at any place at any time. Someone's at the copier? Go over and tell them your hysterical, long-winded couples game night story. Someone's in the kitchen? Give them your opinions on kale and let them know anything with gluten will kill them. Keep it up enough, you'll start noticing a lot of coworkers who look angry and may have chronic pink eye.