Dear Clara B,
There is a group of women at work who are nice enough to me, but they frequently go out to lunch without inviting me or discuss things they did over the weekend together. I've tried to let it roll off my back but it really hurts my feelings. Any thoughts or suggestions?
I'm reminded of the Frank Zappa quote, "Life is like high school, except you get money". Even when we're all supposedly adults, everyone seems to fall into a clique. You'd think we would all be past that, but it always seems to happen in almost every work place in some way or another.
It's natural for you to feel hurt or left out, and it could be that they don't realize that they're excluding you. Yes, people can really be that obtuse. And you don't want to try too hard with them because then you worry about looking like you're kissing up.
If this group of gals are friendly enough, the easiest thing to do is take the initiative and and invite them to lunch with you. Maybe you heard of a great new restaurant, or maybe there's a fresh piece of mancake working at the deli near you that you all could ogle while he slices his meat. Heh. I said 'meat'. Anyway, it really is as simple as that. Put on your friendliest smile and invite them to lunch. The worst thing that will happen is they will say no.
Don't fret too much over it if you can. From what I've experienced in the working world, office friendships can be trickier to navigate than those high school cliques. And if they do say no, it's OK. If their circle is that tightly closed, you probably wouldn't have much fun in there, anyway. There's always someone else in the office that's looking for a lunch buddy.
Derfs, what are your experiences with office friendships?
If anyone has a question they would like me to answer, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org