High School All Over Again

I know it’s pathetic how much I complain about this. But it’s really bugging me that I’m two and a half months in and no closer to figuring out how I fit in. I can goof off and joke with everyone at times when I’m brave enough, but I still just feel so lonely here. It sucks because I do love what I do here and I want to be here for a while. I don’t have expectations that my co-workers and I will hang out all the time. Although my roommates (who work at the same company) and I all hang out with people from their work, so that probably skewers my perspective.

I just want co-workers to drop by my desk and chat about non-work things.  Co-workers Who CARE about my life non-work and I’d care about theirs. I want to feel included. I want to feel like when I hear them congregated in someone else’s office laughing, that I can join in, understand the jokes and be included. I realize it will take a lot of effort on my part, but I feel so awkward & don’t want it to be noticeably forced. If that makes any sense.

It’s been awful lately. Jenna’s been perched at Christine’s desk (who sits right behind me) a few times a day. Their incessant whispering and high-pitched shrieking laughter makes me nuts and paranoid. I’m like a high-school girl (the one thing I never wanted to be ever again), wondering “Are they talking about me? Do they think I’m weird?”

They’ve also been going out to lunch every day for the last week. They’ll raise their voices to discuss that, of course. I’m allowed to hear about that. Then they march past me without a word. Never thinking to ask the new girl if she wants to come along. Even if they don’t want me to come, at least ask!

If this were high school, I’d be eating in the deserted bathroom stall.

At this point, given how clique-y they are, I’m not sure I’d want to be friends with them although Christine is fine on her own. We’ll engage in conversation when we’re just the two of us in our little alcove. Jenna’s the one who barely even looks at me.

I guess my problem with Jenna is we’re the same age (the two youngest in the department) and live in the same area of the city, so I expected more from her. I don’t know if that’s the right phrasing. I certainly didn’t expect anything like we’d be carpooling every morning (although that’d be nice, I am absolutely dreading the snow), hanging out every weekend & be each other’s maid of honor someday. I just didn’t expect she’d be the iciest one of all and act so hostile to me at times.

It’s probably (very) unfair, but I’m attaching to her my own expectations. If our roles were reversed, I’d have taken her out to lunch nearby during her first week and would go out of my way to be friendly toward her because I would remember how awkward it was during my own first few months, trying to find a foothold in the department & company social circles. It’s probably my background as Orientation Coordinator in college & just knowing how awkward & nervous I feel anytime I’m entering a new social scene that makes me always want to go out of my way for the newest “new kid.” If I knew the new girl overheard me discussing with my work BFF who practically sits right on top of the new girl, I’d at least invite her. Even if I didn’t want her to come. There’s a chance she’d say no.

I’m not trying to set this up that I’m an amazing person and she and Christine are not. That’s not true. I just wish they’d be friendlier and more inclusive. I really wish I knew what to do to make this easier and less awkward.

The other ladies in my department are wonderful, but they’re all over the age of 40, and have all worked together for years so they’re already a tight-knit group with inside jokes.

I know, I know, I know it takes time to figure out where to fit in and to feel comfortable settling in. I’ll have to muster up more confidence to make this easier for myself, but it’s just hard. I’ve never been in a situation where it took me so long to get comfortable and make friends.

I know that I’m a nice person with a good sense of humor and I will eventually get there. I know that I’m overthinking this and that Jenna has a year on me in terms of setting in.

I know my settling in and making friends here has to do with my comfort level. I’m the kind of person who is usually pretty chatty and friendly, but if I think you’re judging, or that you don’t like me, I shut up very quickly and retreat into myself. This is especially true in group settings where I’m not comfortable yet, which is what my department gatherings are like. Maybe I should have a glass of wine before any department gatherings? Haha.  I’m content to just sit there quietly rather than open my mouth and make a fool out of myself in front of so many people.

Any advice on how I handle this integration and stop feeling so awkward?


6 thoughts on “High School All Over Again

  1. Hey Caitlyn! I saw your comment on my blog from High Five for Friday and to come check yours out as well. We have SO much in common. I could have written this post 100 times over the course of the first six months I lived in the city I moved to after graduation! Even down to the Jenna situation – the girl my age that I so desperately wanted to actually hang out with at work was named Katie lol. I’m much more settled in socially now, but I still struggle with wanting to chat about non-work stuff with people at work that just don’t seem into it. I’d say just keep being friendly and chatty – they’ll come around. Best of luck!

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