I’m going to try to get through this week with no questions about inappropriate touching. Ready, set, go.
Dear Captain Awkward,
All in all, it’s pretty simple: I really prefer to eat by myself at lunch. I love to read and write while I eat and not have to worry about making conversation. A little bit of time spent not working and not having to talk is heaven for me.
The problem is when I started work where I am now about six months ago, a friend from school started with me. We didn’t socialize a lot during school, but the whole thing was a huge trial by fire and we all bonded pretty firmly. So I’d consider him more than a mild acquaintance.
He hated eating alone, and so we ate together every day. I often wished I could tell him I’d rather eat alone, but I could never find a way. After he decided to switch to part time (I’m full time), I thought it would be nice to have lunch with him every other day or so, and I could occasionally have some time to myself.
But we had a new guy start. He’s a nice guy, and for the time I’ve known him I genuinely like him. I enjoy talking with him while we work in the office. But he started eating with my friend and I, and now that my friend isn’t here, I think he’s assumed we’re “lunch buddies” and that we’re always going to eat lunch with one another from now on. The fact that I don’t know him as well makes the idea of eating lunch just with him sound not-very-enjoyable, and frankly, I feel like I should be able to eat lunch by myself if I want. I’m a big introvert, but I like people, and I’ve learned to socialize and enjoy talking, but it’s EXHAUSTING, and I want a chance to be alone for an hour a day.
My family and other friends have suggested a few strategies: Bringing my lunch (but I like to go out!), making up an elaborate excuse, sucking it up and using it as a “networking” opportunity, which is ridiculous because we all work in the same tiny room and we network plenty.
So here’s what I want: I want to let my friends know that, although I like them and enjoy their company and think they’re good dudes, I just prefer to eat alone so I can read and work on stuff on my own. Please help.
BOY DO I FEEL YOU ABOUT EATING ALONE.