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A Modern Professional's Guide to Anti-Social Etiquette in the Workplace

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I'm a freelance writer social distancing in the desert with my husband, son, two dogs, a kitten, and the occasional spider.

So much for social distancing.

So much for social distancing.

Anti-Socialites, never fear. You too can learn to walk the fine line between passive-aggressiveness and open contempt in the workplace.

It's simple, according to Anti-Social Etiquette Guru and lifelong nemesis to Miss Manners, Burgess Cobblepot III. All you have to do is be wholly consumed by disgust for the very people you're forced to interact with, at all times.

Non-author of the never-actually-written or published would-be worst seller "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People at Work™," Cobblepot agreed to this recent phone interview in lieu of attending his company's 15th Annual Go Team Go-Kart team building event.

"I don't know what's worse," he said. "Spending three hours with co-workers or getting the coronavirus."

When asked about his contributions to social distancing, he grumbled "I admit nothing" and threatened to end the call.

Before disconnecting to go home and feed his cat, Cobblepot reluctantly shared the following five tips for practicing anti-social-etiquette in the workplace.

1. Always Be Avoiding

"Always Be Avoiding" is not only a good tip, but a highly effective business skill put into practice by anti-socialites on a global scale.

Essentially, Cobblepot explained, you have to treat work like the first day of prison, every day. Snap at one random co-worker for no actual reason. Alternate between pleasant and conversant; busy and indifferent. Never make eye contact, shuffle your feet and frequently wear headphones.

"Everyone will be so terrified by your unapproachable demeanor and tendency to practice random, social violence, they'll only come to you in dire need," he said.

Don't even consider pitching in with the dishes.

Don't even consider pitching in with the dishes.

2. Navigate The Office Potluck with Ease

When you work in an office, invariably you will at some point be invited to participate in an office potluck.

According to Cobblepot, this is your cue to bring in a crushed package of store-brand cookies or pretzels, then spend the whole time eating as much of what appears to be the most expensive food item in the company kitchen.

Don't even think about helping clean up. That would be insulting to the staff.

3. Tips For Decorating Your Cubicle

Everyone loves fluffy animals. So why not decorate your desk with a prolific tribute to your taxidermy hobby?

"Your coworkers will gain true insight into your character when they see that you've not only stuffed and mounted your childhood cat, Mittens, but your even using him as a pen holder," said Cobblepot.

As for what not to hang on the wall, Cobblepot warned that posters of cats hanging from tree branches with the caption "Hang in there" are exploitative of cats and tree branches.

"This no-no is a clear sign of a demented individual," he said. "If your coworker has one of these, you may want to report them to HR."

4. Email Etiquette: 'Reply All'

It's not annoying at all when you hit "Reply All" to a corporate company-wide e-mail, especially when you respond with a smiley emoticon or a texting abbreviation. LOL!

For extra effect, attach multiple photos of your kid for no apparent reason. If you don't have a kid, attach photos of your cute nephew. If you don't have a cute nephew, attach photos of Warwick Davis.

5. Smart Phones Make You Smarter

Always arrive fashionably late, phone in hands, for all your important meeting or your annual evaluation. This general lack of self awareness and no-fear attitude will put you straight on the management path.

Once you've awkwardly positioned yourself well within the personal space of your boss or the meeting leader, do not take your eyes off your phone, even for a nano-second.

"Playing Candy Crush while grumbling a half-assed response to your boss's request for information speaks volumes about your multi-tasking abilities," Cobblepot says. "It's the modern day answer to doodling private body parts in a notebook."

Comments

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 18, 2012:

@Ruby H Rose Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!!!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 18, 2012:

@jasmith1 I'm so glad it made you laugh!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 18, 2012:

@phoenix2327 Thank you for the support!!

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on March 07, 2012:

Absolutely hilarious. Voted Up and funny.

Jen Smith from UK on March 07, 2012:

*chuckle* loved this!

Maree Michael Martin from Northwest Washington on an Island on March 04, 2012:

What a great read! Very funny. You got my vote! How to decorate your cubicle, very nice!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 02, 2012:

@PegCole17 Mittens lives on in our hearts!

Kate MacAlpine from Anywhere, USA on March 02, 2012:

very cute

Bahin Ameri from California on March 01, 2012:

I love this! Too funny. Thanks for the laughs.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on March 01, 2012:

Oh no. Poor Mittens. Wannnh! This one was a total crackup. But that's what they always called me at work behind my back. Ah, longing for those days at the watercooler.

Cosmic Bus from Maryland on March 01, 2012:

Very well written and funny! I could see Mr.Cobblepot being made into a comedy on stage or a movie. Congratulations on Hub of the Day! Voted up.

Isabella Mukanda from Fort Myers on March 01, 2012:

Wow! Talk about etiquette, he topped them all. Thanks, a lot of lessons to learn from that one. Your style is brilliant, I could not stop reading till I got to the end. Thanks for writing.

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@MoonWillowLake Ha! Good luck to you on your first day!!!! Thanks for reading.

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@itakins Wow, thanks for the wonderful compliment!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@neeleshkulkarni I have a special batch of brownies just for you!

Moon Willow Lake on March 01, 2012:

What perfect timing to read this hub as I'm starting an administrative job tomorrow! I will be thinking of this and internally smirking. ; )

itakins from Irl on March 01, 2012:

I love this hub-brilliantly funny.

neeleshkulkarni from new delhi on March 01, 2012:

what a lousy hub.I wish you had passed it on to me to make basic corrections before it was put up.i am sure you have relatives in hubpages who let you get away with such stuff and give you a high rating.

(shows i have learnt from it does it not? naaahhhh i am actually like this) voted u and funny and shared with my followers tooo. great hub.

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@suzzettenaples Thank you. Mr. Cobblepot certainly has many followers, all whom he shuns with a combination of insulting remarks and insufferable body odor. Thanks for reading!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@kelleyward Thank you!

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on March 01, 2012:

Thank you for a hilarious hub! I loved all the suggestions. I actually know people who subscribe to Mr. Cobblepot religiously! LOL ( sorry, couldn't help that) Congratulations on Hub of the Day - very deserving!

kelleyward on March 01, 2012:

Loved it! Voted funny. congrats!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@Peanutritious Should be a fun family reunion! I'm glad you laughed! Thanks so much for reading.

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@ManfromModesto Wouldn't you like to know?!?!?!?!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@Faceless39 Poor Mittens, hahaha!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@Jeannieinabottle Or perhaps promoted!!!!!!!!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

Thank you @urmilashukla23 I hope you too will have a great day! Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

Tara Carbery from Cheshire, UK on March 01, 2012:

Ha ha! Loved it! I think I may be related to Burgess Cobblepot! This gave me a much needed laugh. Thanks!

Man from Modesto from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California) on March 01, 2012:

So, just exactly where does Mittens the cat hold the pencils?

Kate P from The North Woods, USA on March 01, 2012:

Using Mittens as a pen holder LOL! Burgess Cobblepot III is my hero (heroine?)

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on March 01, 2012:

Oh, I am taking all of this advice. I am sure I will be a hit at work in no time... or maybe fired. Either way, it is going to be interesting! Thanks for the tips!!!

Urmila from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 01, 2012:

Very funny! Thanks for sharing it. Congratulations on Hub of day award. Have a great day!

Voted up!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@mbwalz LOL! Those are keywords that are SURE to get you an interview. Thanks for reading.

Urmila from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA on March 01, 2012:

Very funny! This makes my day. Thank you for posting it. Voted up!

MaryBeth Walz from Maine on March 01, 2012:

That was great, especially the pictures! Question - as I work on my resume, should I include antisocial and taxidermy on it? Need every advantage I can get in this job market.

Tori Warren from Escondido California on March 01, 2012:

So clever!! I love it!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@JeanBakula Thank you for reading. As Mr. Cobblepot always says, "If you can't join 'em, beat 'em."

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on March 01, 2012:

I loved this, as I always have a policy of not getting too involved with co-workers. It always backfires. If you have 2 glasses of wine at the Christmas party, eveyone is buzzing that you are an alcoholic. Being in close quarters, you know more about their problems and family than you ever wanted to know. And then when 2 of you are up for the same promotion, things go from bad to worse. I love Cobblepot! Thanks for the fun hub!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@MP50 Thank you!!!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@JBurgraff I love it! I think I might need to post a "Make Your Own Gary Coleman Mask" Hub.

J Burgraff on March 01, 2012:

I have never been to a potluck where anyone brought other than the food that made their own hiney take up two airplane seats. Aagh...By the way, I'm putting the Gary Coleman photo on my locker.

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@GingerBell I am so glad it made you laugh, though I'm sorry it caused you muscle pain!

MP50 on March 01, 2012:

This is funny, thank you for SHARING voted up an SHARED.

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@bethperry Thank you! Do they make pen holders?

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@stephhicks68 Yes, the homemade, thoughtfully prepared sack lunch! That's a great one!

GingerBell on March 01, 2012:

LMAO this is funny. Thank you for making my muscles hurt from laughing!

Beth Perry from Tennesee on March 01, 2012:

I know a couple of taxidermists who would so appreciate this Hub.

Very funny, lol! Voted up.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on March 01, 2012:

The Gary Coleman comment is hilarious! Actually, the whole thing cracks me up, probably because I can so easily recognize the anti-social behavior of my own colleagues throughout. Don't forget the advice to eat other people's lunches from the company fridge. That is a real crowd pleaser!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@ThePracticalMommy Yes! A Gary Coleman email sensation is definitely in order!!! Thank you for reading.

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@EricNewland Thank you. I thought the vintage illustrations were pretty fun. As for Taxidermy ... well ... it sort of speaks for itself.

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@cluebbert Thank you!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@princesswithapen Thank you. I think your comparison to coffee might be the most awesome thing anyone has ever said about my writing! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@rikabothra Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed the wise words of Burgess Cobblepot III.

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@fpherj48 Exactly. It's the yin and yang of workplace relations!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@raakachi Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@Juliek958 Yes!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@geetikaiyer Bart Simpson is wise beyond his years!!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@Tonipet I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading.

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

@KKiss I truly feel that "Always Be Avoiding" is a motto that is sweeping the nation and beyond. Thanks for reading!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 01, 2012:

Thank you @Thelma!

Marissa from United States on March 01, 2012:

Hilarious! I couldn't stop laughing. I suddenly feel like attaching pictures of Gary Coleman and others in all of my emails... :D Congrats on your Hub of the Day!

Eric Newland from Dayton, Ohio on March 01, 2012:

An awesome and well-deserved HotD. Can't go wrong with vintage illustrations. I don't think I've ever seen taxidermy in the workplace before. Maybe I'm working in the wrong place or I live too far north.

Anyway, voted up and sharing. Well done!

cluebbert from Kansas City, MO on March 01, 2012:

Truly hilarious. Great way to start the morning

princesswithapen on March 01, 2012:

This post is a nice blend of intelligence, sarcasm and humor, and brings a smile to the face. Just what a nice blend of coffee would do to you on a lazy Sunday morning. Congratulations for your hub being selected Hub of the Day. Nicely done!

Princesswithapen

rikabothra on March 01, 2012:

I just could not stop myself from laughing out loud... what a wonderful hub... truly deserves to be picked as hub of the day!

Suzie from Carson City on March 01, 2012:

alezafree....I have worked with many a "Burgess Cobblepot," devotee. In fact, I'm sure I've encountered Burgess himself, a time or two.

Without the anti-social misfit, what on earth would keep everyone else laughing and hanging out together at the water cooler?

Every work place should have at least one or two of these interesting and challenging individuals. Personally, I appreciate them. They annoy all the right people!!

raakachi from Madurai / Tamilnadu / India on March 01, 2012:

Congrats for the accolade 'hub of the day'.very well written hub mixing with indirect-advice and humor. voted-interesting.

Juliek958 from Norman, Oklahoma on March 01, 2012:

Brilliant! I'm baking brownies tonight...lots and lots of brownies.

geetika iyer from India on March 01, 2012:

Fantastic Hub! I will live by these tips from now and forever. Even though I have been trying to alienate people with my sarcasm for years, but it doesn't seem to be doing the job very well. I have more friends now than when I started.

My personal tip:

A tribute to Bart Simpson and his famous one liner...(we all know that one, right).

Tonette Fornillos from The City of Generals on March 01, 2012:

Really enjoyed reading this. Burgess Cobblepot must be the extraordinary among the extraordinary:-) Interesting, intriguing and funny. Thanks for this. Voted up across the board.

K Kiss from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK on March 01, 2012:

hahah that was a good one alezafree. I have watched the movie How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, don't know if there was a book first. I personally follow "Always Be Avoiding" to the dot and more actually. I am both a social and anti-social person. I hate all my co-workers because of their bitchy-ness and hence can't really make myself like them and lead a hypocrites life. So what if they don't like me, that's all I wanted in the first place for them to leave me be!!

nice one voted up

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on March 01, 2012:

Congratulation on the hub of the day! Thanks for sharing. Voted up and awesome.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on March 01, 2012:

Absolutely adorable, like the Big Lots Exclamation Point and the kid who has her video game. Rated Up, Funny and Awesome!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on February 29, 2012:

@alissaroberts You should definitely throw in a random pic of an 80s sitcom star just to see if they're paying attention. :) Thanks for reading and commenting!

Alissa Roberts from Normandy, TN on February 29, 2012:

You mean to tell me no one appreciated all the pics of my kids plastered on my business emails?! Too funny! Cobblepot's take on how to annoy your coworkers is spot on. I always got a good laugh when someone would accidentally hit reply all at the office. Enjoyed this one - voted up and funny!

A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on February 29, 2012:

@SimoneSmith Mr. Cobblepot would be soooooooooo proud.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on February 29, 2012:

Forget Miss Manners, I'm all for the wise teachings of Burgess Cobblepot III! I've GOT to get into taxidermy.