Saturday, October 27, 2012

Being anti-social

You may have noticed from my previous posts that I am not enjoying the company of my new colleagues (well, not so new now really) particularly. That may have been my fault for being shy and not knowing what to say when I first started, and it also may have been their fault for being assholes not overly friendly.

After enduring many an awful social event, I have now reverted to avoiding them altogether. Time will tell if this strategy will be ok, or if it's going to cause no end of grief.

Unfortunately, I am not a very good liar. I really want to be able to say the truth "ugh, hanging out with you guys in my time off is my idea of hell", but some instinct for self-preservation makes me make up a feeble excuse. I am already worried about how I am going to keep all my lies straight.

Admittedly, it does help somewhat that no-one has shown any interest in my life outside of work, or even my life before I started work, or let's face it, what they hell I am doing at work in the first place. One would think then that it would be easy to invent glamorous weekends away or fancy cocktail parties that I am attending with such regularity that I can't possibly take time out to go to a mere work function. But alas, my lying skills are just not up to scratch.

Perhaps I will get better at it in time? When I run out of mundane "family functions" to attend I might be bold enough to switch it up and say "Oh no I can't - I am going on a wine tour. Oh what a shame! We booked it ages ago! No I don't think I can change the date without losing my deposit". Or something else that sounds far more interesting than the sad fact that I would rather stay home watching crappy TV than hang out with people who clearly don't care for my company.

The funny thing is, I am actually much better at socialising than these awful work functions demonstrate. The awfulness lies in the company that I have to go with. If I went to the function on my own, I would have a brilliant time meeting new people and generally hobnobbing. But no, if I go with my colleagues, we all sit together in awkward silence while they laugh at and mock the other people there. It really is most uncomfortable. To my eye, when they point and mock, all I see are ordinary folk going about their business - eating, drinking, dancing and being merry. And I long to join them, because after all - they look like they're actually having quite a good time.

Once I did do that - I went and chatted and danced and carried on in a way that I thought was a perfectly enjoyable affair. Then I discovered at work the next day that I am the one to be mocked.

WTF?? I can't believe that anyone would take themselves that seriously that they can't relax and enjoy themselves. From that moment on, I vowed to avoid any future work functions, less I do something terrible like, oh, have a good time.

Pass me the remote.


  1. Do you think your co-workers hide their own social awkwardness/discomfort by making fun of others? Perhaps they are jealous that you can chat and dance and carry on like a normal person and they can't? It doesn't excuse their behavior, but I was curious if this might be in play.

    1. Oh, undoubtedly! I guess I am just not used to hanging out with such dysfuntional people. As an academic you either spend a lot of time by yourself, with students or with people you choose to hang out with! So not a lot of scope for mingling with the general public and really understanding what a "normal" workplace is like. Although I am not sure my workplace is very normal.

  2. Sounds awful. If I were you I might just try to keep lying and coming up with excuses and then they'll just give up asking. If you have a partner you could say they've been ill/ broke an arm/leg and they need you at home. One of the great things I've discovered about having my school-aged children as dependents is that I can use them as an excuse frequently. 'Oh my husband is away again this week and I need to be home looking after the kids.' It works very well and then they stop asking. Little white lies that no one at the office will ever know or care about! It's not that I don't like my work-mates, but in truth I just don't want to spend my precious non-work time hanging out with them. I do have sympathy for your situation though - having to get through working days with these difficult types. Is your line-manager helpful - maybe a good person to chat to about this - or does he/she join the crowd? Good luck with this - I wish you the best in working it out.

    1. I have tried to broach the topic before, but it's all part of the culture of the organisation I think that we have to pretend we're really enjoying spending time together. It's quite clear that no-one wants to really be there. I think we should ditch the pretense and carry on with our own lives. Anyway, at least no-one cares what my excuses are.