Ladies who do not lunch
May 6, 2011 12:30 PM Subscribe
I like my coworkers, and I like lunch, but I have anxiety issues with eating in public. Is it socially acceptable to skip 90% of friendly work lunches? Will it hurt my working relationships, in your opinion?
posted by jess to Work & Money (32 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Over the years I have learned to control much of my social anxiety, but one of the situations where I am still likely to have a panic attack is eating in an unfamiliar place with a large-ish group of people I do not know exceedingly well. There are a few reasons why this is the case, but the important bit is that there is a pretty excellent chance in this situation that I am going to be silently freaking the hell out and possibly locking myself in the bathroom.
This means that I usually try very hard to skip situations like work lunches. I enjoy the company of most of my coworkers, and I am friendly and pleasant (based on feedback), but when you get 7+ of them together for a casual lunch my anxiety goes through the roof. I usually try and go at least once a month to be sociable, but lunches are a big part of the culture here and they often go 2-3 times a week. I make up nice excuses like saying I brought my lunch, or I'm meeting my husband (who works on the other side of town!).
I am worried that not going on these excursions will subtly cause my colleagues to see me as less of a team player, and this could hurt my job experience in the long run even though I am otherwise friendly and hard-working. So I guess what I'm asking is: in your professional lives, if someone politely begged off most optional lunches would it negatively affect the way you think about them?