I’m writing this after reading about the LW who kept getting stuck with the check. I’m in the inverse of a similar situation, and I’m not sure of the best approach. I’ve just started a job in an awesome place with a bunch of wonderful, appropriately friendly co-workers. Apart from loving what I do there, this job will (slowly) get me out of a pretty grim financial situation created by student loans and intermittent work over the past two years. For now, though, I’m on a skeleton budget and can’t afford much by way of unnecessary stuff, which is where the problem starts. My co-workers have all worked together for a while, and they do this cool thing were they go out to lunch together a lot and take turns either paying for lunch, or collecting money from the office to run out and get food. They invite me frequently, and once or twice have covered me for lunch on the rare occasion I forgot to pack one. I’d love to participate, but I can’t at the moment due to being behind on a lot of crucial bills.
The trouble is that it’s getting to the point were it feels really weird to be constantly opting out of these lunches, especially since we’re a small office, and the fact that I don’t volunteer to pitch in for food runs is creating some very awkward situations were I’m constantly removing myself from the rest of the group. I know I’m coming across as either stingy or unfriendly, which concerns me because I really want to make this job a pleasant environment. But it’s realistically going to be a few months before I can afford to do this, and I don’t want to explain my financial situation to my colleagues. Are there any scripts or tips you and the awkward army know of to navigate this embarrassing situation?
Dear Economic Casualty:
The first ever Captain Awkward reader question was about a similar topic, with friends and money and eating out. So, hey! We’ve come a long way.