In­tro­vert ex­pe­ri­ences slow start fit­ting in on new job

The Progress-Index - - SCOREBOARD - By Abi­gail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I started a new job a month ago. It’s a well-pay­ing job at a great com­pany. My prob­lem is I’m an in­se­cure in­tro­vert. Mak­ing friends has al­ways been hard for me. At this new job, my desk is away from ev­ery­one else, and no one has ever asked me to lunch.

I’m sure if I reached out proac­tively and asked to tag along, I wouldn’t be re­jected. But the thought of hav­ing to ask semis­trangers to in­clude me and hav­ing to make small talk dur­ing lunch makes me anx­ious. I’m also afraid peo­ple will la­bel me as part of cer­tain sub­groups within the de­part­ment. I don’t want to be in any clique. What should I do? —


DEAR IN­SE­CURE: Not ev­ery­one makes small talk eas­ily, so don’t fault your­self for find­ing it awk­ward. Ask your co-work­ers what places they rec­om­mend for lunch and tag along when the op­por­tu­nity arises. I don’t think you need to “do” much more than slowly get to know them as you in­ter­act over work-re­lated mat­ters.

A pos­i­tive way to get at­ten­tion would be to bring some pas­tries and a fresh fruit salad to share one day dur­ing the morn­ing break. It’s a friendly ges­ture I’m sure would be ap­pre­ci­ated.

DEAR ABBY: My brother died 10 years ago. He was only 50. He was mar­ried for 15 years to a woman I’ll call Al­ice. A few years later, Al­ice be­came en­gaged but never re­mar­ried be­cause she would’ve lost my brother’s ben­e­fits.

Her fi­ance died a cou­ple of months ago, and now she’s post­ing re­peat­edly on Face­book that she has lost “the love of her life.” I think it’s ex­tremely dis­re­spect­ful to my brother. I un­der­stand she may feel that way, but to con­tinue to post it is a slap in the face to our brother. I’ve read your col­umn for years, and you are usu­ally spot on with your ad­vice, so I would ap­pre­ci­ate your opin­ion. — SAD SIS­TER IN THE EAST


Al­ice’s out­pour­ing of emo­tion is less a slap in the face to your de­ceased brother than bit­ing the hand that has fed her all these years. She isn’t think­ing about how her com­ments are af­fect­ing you and her other for­mer in-laws, and there’s noth­ing to be gained by try­ing to shut her up now. You will be hap­pier if you stop read­ing her Face­book posts, and that’s what I rec­om­mend you do.

DEAR ABBY: I have a rel­a­tive who has, over the years, got­ten many col­or­ful tat­toos on his arms, back and chest. I make no value judg­ments about this, but I am cu­ri­ous about what in to­day’s cul­ture mo­ti­vates peo­ple to get tat­toos, and why many peo­ple can’t seem to get enough of them. — CU­RI­OUS IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR CU­RI­OUS: Peo­ple get inked for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons. Among them: be­cause they are cur­rently in fash­ion, they think they are pretty, to mark mile­stones in their life, some­one they ad­mire has one or more, or be­cause their friends are do­ing it. And I sus­pect that some in­di­vid­u­als turn their bod­ies into can­vasses be­cause the prac­tice is some­how ad­dic­tive.

Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

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