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Marlene Dietrich

So. You want to be alone.

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.

Sincerely, 
Kinda Hungry

Hello, Hungry:

BOY DO I FEEL YOU ABOUT EATING ALONE.

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