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Old 06-30-2015, 10:19 AM
 
134 posts, read 187,447 times
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This is kind of a silly question but here goes. Most of my coworkers typically eat lunch together every day. When I was first hired, I was invited to join them for lunch and I obliged and I joined almost everyday. A few months ago, I stopped joining them regularly. The conversations weren't as interesting and some days I just wanted to go outside for a some fresh air. Other days I was too busy with work or I just felt like eating at my desk. I think Iíve earned a reputation as aloof and anti social. I donít really speak to people beyond the basic greetings. I am kind if shy and anti social and I donít feel comfortable going into other coworkerís offices just to chat. Iím usually clueless about how to start a conversation and I donít care for small talk. But I actually like talking to people when I find a topic interesting. I used to enjoy some of the conversations at lunch when topics like funny or interesting things happened in current events, pop culture, etc. So I miss having lunch with the group sometimes but I feel weird going back in the lunch room these days since I havenít been a participator lately. There are few new hires who donít really know me so when I walk in, I feel like Iím expected to introduce myself and contribute something to the conversation. I hate that. Most people will usually talk about their weekends, hobbies, kids, pets, etc. I donít like to talk about myself or my weekend plans, or hobbies, kids or pets basically because I donít have any. So the next time I have the courage to join in for lunch, what kind of topics should I start? Or should I just continue to eat my lunch quietly at my desk?
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:14 AM
 
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Thankfully I work in IT where most people are introverts, so we usually eat lunch alone in our offices with the doors shut every day. Every now and then we'll go out to lunch together, and it's fun because it's not an every day thing. I would not fit in where the office culture was to eat lunch together every day. I like to surf the internet, take a nap, or run errands during lunch.

If your workplace is adding new people, more may come who are like you and want to do their own thing during lunch as well, so things should improve and you won't feel like the oddball. If it's always going to be a small group, and the thing is to eat lunch together every day, then you are not going to ever be happy there and may miss out on advancement opportunities because they'll say you're not a team player.

Perhaps you could come up with a "schedule" where you do different things on different days and make one of those days a "lunch with the gang" day with other days being a walking day, an errand day, etc. At least then the people wouldn't think you're avoiding them because you don't like them.
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
7,595 posts, read 4,674,480 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mizzlea View Post
So the next time I have the courage to join in for lunch, what kind of topics should I start?
I'd ask the Lunch Club why they never do anything different at noon. Don't they have errands to run or online shopping? No doctor or dental appointments? Never go out for a walk or just to get some fresh air?

Honestly, to me they sound insular and you sound like a normal person.
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:41 AM
 
4,338 posts, read 2,261,255 times
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You are a bit introverted and perhaps socially anxious- there is no need for you to fulfill some expectations of being a witty conversationalist or taking the lead in introducing yourself - just go when you want to and don't feel the need to start anything. Others can do that and you can add to the conversation if you have something to say - that way it will be natural and not forced.

Your social relationship with your coworkers can help you do your job better and leads to a better office atmosphere.
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,626 posts, read 33,408,180 times
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Personally, I never eat with my coworkers. Two reasons, first I'm a fierce introvert and my job involves contact with the public. So I need that time to decompress. Second, I dislike most my coworkers anyway.

In your shoes, I'd do a once in awhile lunch. DEFINITELY, not everyday.
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Herndon, VA
2,086 posts, read 2,101,980 times
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I am in IT and have to put on a happy face all day long as my job is customer oriented. By the time lunch rolls around I prefer to go by myself and take my Kindle along for reading. I don't think it's a bad thing to not eat with coworkers. People need time away from their offices.
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Old 06-30-2015, 02:01 PM
 
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You're not doing anything wrong. I consider myself an extrovert, but I enjoyed my "down time" at lunchtime to get some air or maybe run an errand. You come back refreshed if you have some alone time.

You're with these people all day long. I always found many times the conversation ends up being about work if you have lunch with coworkers. Also not a good idea to tell anyone at work too much about your personal life. You don't want to discuss politics or religion, so the topics become limited.

I would go to lunch if it's someone's birthday or someone is leaving, otherwise do your own thing, and if occasionally you feel like joining them do so. But you're not obligated.
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Old 06-30-2015, 02:18 PM
 
134 posts, read 187,447 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffythewondercat View Post
I'd ask the Lunch Club why they never do anything different at noon. Don't they have errands to run or online shopping? No doctor or dental appointments? Never go out for a walk or just to get some fresh air?

Honestly, to me they sound insular and you sound like a normal person.
Haha, that made me LOL. I was getting weird looks every time I ate at my desk so I was starting to feel something was wrong with me. The occasional lunch with everyone can be nice but sometimes itís forced and Iíd rather do something else. And on top of that there is some kind of cake cutting celebration at least once a month. This gets old very quickly. These people are very close knit which is nice sometimes but for someone like me it can be too close. Iím trying to find a happy medium. Not too aloof and standoffish but a little friendly at the same time.
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Old 06-30-2015, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
7,595 posts, read 4,674,480 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mizzlea View Post
Haha, that made me LOL. I was getting weird looks every time I ate at my desk so I was starting to feel something was wrong with me. The occasional lunch with everyone can be nice but sometimes itís forced and Iíd rather do something else. And on top of that there is some kind of cake cutting celebration at least once a month. This gets old very quickly. These people are very close knit which is nice sometimes but for someone like me it can be too close. Iím trying to find a happy medium. Not too aloof and standoffish but a little friendly at the same time.
Well, just smile at everyone you encounter. They'll wonder what you're up to.

...No, seriously, people interpret a smile as friendliness even if you don't say anything.
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Old 06-30-2015, 05:43 PM
 
1,178 posts, read 964,651 times
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When I worked in an office setting and lunched with co workers there was always so much gossip...people talking about who made more than they did, who was seeing who, how tacky or slutty someone was dressed. I ended up trying to do everything I could to avoid eating with these women. Since back during that time I was not very assertive, and was fearful of someone getting mad at me, instead of taking lunch and telling them I had other plans, I didn't take a lunch break at all and would just get a candy bar out of the vending machine to tie me over until I got home.

Please have the courage to stick up for yourself whatever you choose to do...whether it is meeting with them when you want and feel like it or having lunch alone.
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