If you’re friends with a coworker, a driving trip can be super fun. You have time to visit, catch up, go over whatever work stuff you need to, and in general have a good time. However, if you don’t get along with a coworker, a two hour drive to see a customer can be like a trip to hell. Dreading the drive is certainly understandable, but there are ways to make it less hellish.
Plan talking topics ahead of time. I know this seems a little bit weird, but if you’re concerned about awkward silences plan some conversational topics ahead of time. Maybe ask her about herself—where is she from, where did she go to school, why did she major in what she did, what are her hobbies, etc. Or have specific items in mind regarding the work you’re about to do.
Turn on music. Maybe if you discover a shared love for the Beatles you won’t hate her as much. Or the music will drown out his ongoing chatter about his stamp collection. Talk radio can get controversial, although I’ll often put on NPR for the news.
Tune them out. Worst case, stop listening and just look at the scenery, or pull out some work to do. The old “I have to finish this report by today,” thing would work just fine.
Offer to let them drive. Unless you know he is a terrible driver, ask if he wants to drive. This lets him feel like he’s in control, regardless of whether he ends up driving or not, which some people really need.
Know your route. Before you go, look at a map and make sure you know where you’re going. The last thing you want is to get lost and have to spend more time with this person.
The Road Warrior suggested taking out your aggression with a rousing game of Slugbug. Funny, but maybe not the best idea. Traveling with difficult coworkers can be hard, and being stuck in a car with someone annoying for hours at a time can be really hard. Try to be patient, and know that at the end of the night at least you’ll have your own room to rest in.
Readers, what are your best tips for traveling with annoying coworkers?