We have all listened in on other people’s conversations at one point in time. You could be sitting alone and you can’t help but hear the conversation that is going on at the other table. It could make for interesting entertainment if you are alone especially if you have to cover a smile or stifle a laugh because it tickled your funny bone. But what is your opinion when you hear outright damaging insults and rants about a person, or company? I bet you feel awkward and uncomfortable. Only to add to your misery would be if you know the person, company or situation.
Civility is having respect and proper engagement with others. This doesn’t mean people cannot rant and voice their opinions. It only means that there is a time and a place for it. They should be aware of their surroundings and not impose on common public spaces. The key word here is public.
So when it’s break time, lunch or after work cocktail time, do not bad mouth bosses, co-workers, company problems or clients. You never know who is within earshot of hearing a conversation either from the same office or an outsider who knows where you work.
Another consideration is when out for lunch are you identifiable as to who you work for (logoed shirt or sweater)? So besides spouting off at the mouth is having one beer, wine or drink wrong? No, but say you work for a car dealership, what message does that send to potential clients or customers who may be in the same establishment? “I saw my mechanic on lunch drinking so what kind of a job will he do on my car when he goes back.”
Remember every action has a ripple effect. Make it a pleasant wave!