Skip

Love my new job but discouraged by closely knit coworker
January 15, 2013 1:15 PM   Subscribe

I got a new job and have, in record winning pace, managed to be the outsider weirdo of my team (yay!) Details below and advice on both practical and professional ways to deal welcomed.

Them: All late 20-something ladies, married, dog-people, socially and politically conservative, and extremely close-knit (socialize a LOT outside of work). I work with all these ladies under one boss. They are my 'team'
Me: Also lady in my late 20s, single, cat person, socially and politically very liberal, and a musician / photographer / punk/goth outside of work. Not extremely fond of being best buds with coworkers but enjoy occasional social interaction.
The job: required me to move to a new city, but I get to work on very exciting things and got a ton of training and coaching.

I have basically been ostracized by my coworkers in all things social in the work place. I no longer have their social-pity as the new person. The few instances one of them have inquired about my life outside work, I admit I've not been very forthcoming ("My weekend plans? Well, I'm going to start off at a pub crawl, then I'm going to a burlesque show to support my stripper friends, then go to band practice. Sunday? Oh I typically recover from a hangover with my boyfriend by making brunch and mimosas and watching horror movies all afternoon" --> "My weekend plans? Going to a show, seeing some live music, generally relaxing") They then continue to talk about Obama and how he's destroying the world and internally I'm being destroyed. BUT... I enjoyed most of their company, and a saving grace being we all shared humor at least. I do hide my facebook / manage internet presence accordingly. In the last several weeks I've been the *sole* person on the team no longer invited to the group's lunches, they all quiet down when they are huddled in a cube when I walk by, and no one says bye to me when they (and quite literally once it was comically apparent) sneak past my desk. At first it was upsetting, but now I'm just mad... the breaking point was when one of the ladies on the team invited the department out to lunch. They took off without me, and I was stuck to get a ride with my male boss and his male boss. Getting to the restaurant, I was forced to sit with boss and boss boss and another male while the ladies (eight of them) sat at their own table, well aware I was there and that they made no effort to save me a seat. I was both embarrassed and hurt.

I am trying hard not to take it personally. I am having a hard time coping though, as I am around these people 40+ hours a week and feel I have no one there to even talk to. Focus on my job? The nature of my job means I have a lot of busy then slow times... this sort of thing is most poignant in the slow times. We also work very separately (next to no common tasks or goals). I also do realize I have made little effort socially and I have no excuse... except that I have a hard time coming up with something to talk about with these ladies and often am not met very warmly when I do (therefore fear rejection). This is so bizarre because in my time away from work, I am a social butterfly, just with different crowds... people like me instantly and my poor boyfriend just cannot understand how these coworkers don't like me (bless him).

1. How can I rectify any ill-feelings I may have caused with these individuals (perhaps I subconsciously expressed judgement in what I say / how I act)? What are some safe office-appropriate things to start up communication with one or a few of them?
2. If I try and make some very good efforts to socialize and am still shut down, how have any of you tried to work through situations like this and what are some good mental tools to have at least for your own esteem or working with unpleasant coworkers?
3. Should I approach one or several of these ladies about this or my boss? Although it's stressing me out, they have absolutely no responsibility to include me socially... they are professional for the most part. I do not think this is an HR / professional issue but just office politics.

I feel like I'm in middle school again, and am not sure if it's my own perceptions and self-esteem or if this is truly the case of working with the wrong kind of coworkers (cliche mentality). I invite frank advice, but please let it be constructive and not snarky. Thank you mefites!
posted by hillabeans to Work & Money (30 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I had this happen to me in a job a while back and I realized that a big part of it was that I didn't have any kids. The minute I got pregnant, they started inviting me to all kinds of things. It was so weird! So it might be something like that too - totally on them, not you.

What I think I would do is make the first move a few times. Invite someone out to eat with you instead of waiting for an invite. Choose one or two women who you seem like you could have a nice conversation with. Once people get to know you better on an individual basis, it will be more likely that they'll remember to include you. Also, by showing interest in them, they won't be able to think that maybe you don't want to go out with them. (As in they might be thinking - "why would a single women like that want to go out with us?")

I think, in general, try to be the bigger person and show interest in them. Think of it as an interesting sociological/anthropological experiment.

oh, and for question 2: i just went to lunch with friends who worked elsewhere. And I really like to eat by myself so it was ok if I was alone.

3. I don't think any good can come of asking anyone directly about it.
posted by dawkins_7 at 1:21 PM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


They took off without me, and I was stuck to get a ride with my male boss and his male boss. Getting to the restaurant, I was forced to sit with boss and boss boss and another male

This is a feature, not a bug. Spend more time with the boss? Sure!

I don't think 1, 2, or 3 make sense. Why fake it and try to socialize, you have nothing in common! It is clear to me from your post that you don't like these people. They know you don't like them. Keep it professional and meet friends for lunch or go out walking & enjoy the fresh air rather than feeling hurt by people whose company you don't enjoy anyway.
posted by headnsouth at 1:23 PM on January 15, 2013 [24 favorites]


First of all, you don't need to have these ladies as your lunch buddies and your drinks partners. Thank God!

In your 20's you put a lot more into the social side of work, I'm 50, I could give a rat's ass.

Take this as an opportunity to do cool things for yourself at lunch.

Brown bag it to save money. Take an on-line class and do the work at lunch. If your workplace has a gym, it'll be empty at lunch.

Another option would be to invite other folks not directly on your team or in your group to lunch. Is there anyone you work with that isn't one of these ladies who might enjoy your company? That's how I met one of my best friends. We worked on completely different teams, but clicked. That chick in IT who set up your laptop. The dude at reception. They might want to go to lunch, invite them.

Don't worry about what you said or did that got these ladies in an uproar. Who cares? They're small, minded, Babbity people.

As for catching a ride with the boss and having lunch...BONUS! You got awesome facetime with higher-ups.

In short, get out of middle school. You have friends, you have an SO, you have a life.

It's always weird when you first start a new job. This is just weirder than most.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:24 PM on January 15, 2013 [26 favorites]


Take the high road, and assume against appearances that they like you. Be friendly no matter what, and engage in super low stress chit-chat whenever the opportunity arises. No good comes from being defensive and fearful - trust me, I know.
posted by facetious at 1:24 PM on January 15, 2013 [11 favorites]


My weekend plans? Well, I'm going to start off at a pub crawl, then I'm going to a burlesque show to support my stripper friends, then go to band practice. Sunday? Oh I typically recover from a hangover with my boyfriend by making brunch and mimosas and watching horror movies all afternoon"

I'm not a conservative, but if a coworker told me that, I would stop asking about their weekend plans too as it sounds like they're trying to shock me with them. The way that was said, also makes it sounds like they might have a substance abuse problem that I would have no interest in including in my life.

There are ways to say the same thing you just said, with different details included and left out to make it appropriate for less familiar relationships.
posted by 517 at 1:24 PM on January 15, 2013 [9 favorites]


While they sound really immature and not worth your worry, I understand not wanting to be excluded as it can impact your work life. So I would pretend like they aren't acting like children and invite the least objectionable one or two to lunch. Kill them with kindness as they say.

Also, this is a good opportunity to work on your small talk skills. There will be MANY times in your life where, while you'd like to just walk away, you need to be able to engage in meaningless chitchat. No politics or religion included. They are human you are human and you work together. You may have to dig, but you have to share one or two things in common.
posted by cecic at 1:25 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


517 makes a great point - what you were describing was definitely an overshare.
posted by facetious at 1:27 PM on January 15, 2013


There are ways to say the same thing you just said....

Er, I think the OP is stating that she can't be any more specific about her weekend outings than "My weekend plans? Going to a show, seeing some live music, generally relaxing" because otherwise people will get judgey, and hence doesn't have an opportunity to bond over that stuff.
posted by griphus at 1:30 PM on January 15, 2013 [10 favorites]


@517 and @facetious... you may want to reread... I absolutely never disclose that sort of thing at work. I often make lamed down versions of my weekend plan, drawing the attention away.
posted by hillabeans at 1:31 PM on January 15, 2013 [8 favorites]


"My weekend plans? Well, I'm going to start off at a pub crawl, then I'm going to a burlesque show to support my stripper friends, then go to band practice. Sunday? Oh I typically recover from a hangover with my boyfriend by making brunch and mimosas and watching horror movies all afternoon" --> "My weekend plans? Going to a show, seeing some live music, generally relaxing"

I understood that sentence to mean that she didn't give the kind of detail in the first sentence, and instead translated those activities into a more acceptable version -- "My weekend plans? Going to see a show, seeing some live music, generally relaxing."
posted by barnone at 1:32 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think you should put any effort whatsoever into socializing with these co-workers. God, why bother, you have nothing to gain other than idle chit chat with a bunch of dopes. I'm nthing the bonus of having lunch with your boss, that is way better!

I work with all men and it's very, very drama-laden and nonstop bragging; I don't have lunch with them because they talk trash about women, then glance at me. Whatever. I really doubt I would be gaining much by befriending them. Fortunately, most promotions are based on your relationship with your boss, your performance, and overall likeability with higher ups, not your colleagues.
posted by waving at 1:32 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't have a lot in common with my coworkers, but recently I have been friendly with them during work hours. I agree that the key is to befriend (or at least be-aquaintance) one of them to start with. Don't approach them as a monolith. It's really high school, but that's the way it is.

Also, remember that they are probably as uncomfortable around you as you are around them. I try to have a sense of humor about my politics and make a joke whenever talk gets too offenssively political or religious - that helps a lot. I think maybe because you feel like you have nothing in common, you've been a bit too closed off? I was the same way. Opening up a little bit about your boyfriend and your cats and, I don't know, yardwork can help a lot. Smalltalk, basically.

But I'm sort of a loner so I don't need lunches and drinks after work.
posted by muddgirl at 1:33 PM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I suggest that when you make the first move you invite them to a place or activity that you think they will be familiar with and like. You said that you are goth/punk so these women may just be thinking that there is not a lot of common ground there or that you spend your free time at "little holes in the wall with undiscovered bands and artists". They may be intimidated or just not interested in what they think you are into. Perhaps a safe activity like apps at a chain restaurant or a mainstream chick flick might be a good fit?

You may not be at all like this but perhaps they see some part of this in you. Based on your weekend description (I think the first part is what you did but the edited part is what you shared) I think they may have had more dull weekends? Perhaps spin your time in more relatable ways? "Went out for dinner with friends and had a quite day with my boyfriend. How about you?"

Also if these married women have kids then you are just not likely to be in their club. Young moms/parents tend to stick together.
posted by saradarlin at 1:37 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's up to you to extend the olive branch, if you want a detente here. Bring in a big plate of cookies (and not your left wing Obama carob and oatmeal cookies, American cookies like chocolate chip and BBQ), and drop a line to the broader group (including, but not limited to the ladies). Hopefully, someone will come over and thank you, and you can breezily talk about how you're trying to get into baking, or your BF made them (which is great, but I can't get him to fix the garage door, AMIRITE ladies?) or whatever. You won't end up friends overnight (or possibly ever), but you can thaw things up a bit.

I'm a big proponent of going along to get along at the workplace. I don't ever need my work and home lives to overlap, but it is indeed more pleasant if people don't hiss at you as you walk down the hall. But I never take offense if I'm not included in cliques; I just keep in mind that I affirmatively don't want to hang out with co-workers (and I like my co-workers), so why should I care that X and Y went to lunch without me?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:48 PM on January 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


...how have any of you tried to work through situations like this and what are some good mental tools to have at least for your own esteem or working with unpleasant coworkers?

Work is work. It is the place you go to make the money that pays the rent and puts food on the table. If you enjoy your job? Fantastic! That's a wonderful bonus. Otherwise? The fact that you're not socially getting along with people with whom you have nothing in common and who openly exclude you isn't a failure on your part. Hell, if this close-knit group of people who openly don't like other people is like every other close-knit group of people who openly don't like other people, there's a good chance there's a Dark Gossipy Center to their crew and you really, really don't need to be a part of that.

So, they're leaving you alone with your boss and his boss? Fantastic. Seriously, in a practical sense coworkers are useful for exactly two things: getting work done at the office, and maintaining a network of people that could be useful later. It doesn't look like this situation is keeping you from getting work done, so you have that covered. Meanwhile, your boss is a much more useful resource to cultivate a relationship with than they ever will be.
posted by griphus at 1:50 PM on January 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


Two thoughts.

1.) I understand your desire to not be on the outs with this group, regardless of how little you may want to friends with them. I think cecic's point about small talk is a good one; one strategy I use is to ask questions that display an interest in the other person while leaving minimal opportunity to reveal too-personal things about myself. Listening helps here so you can follow up with relevant topics. Pick one or two people with whom you can use the "thin end of the wedge" strategy. Some examples I've used in the past:

-Have you cooked anything delicious lately? I'm always making the same old dinners and could use some recipe inspiration.
-How is your dog Sparky doing? I know you mentioned you got a new puppy and I was wondering how they were getting along.
-Did you watch the Golden Globes/Superbowl/American Kennel Club Show last night? Had you seen any of the movies/followed any of the teams/...?
-I'm really interested in exploring the area now that (I have a car/have more time/the weather's nicer). Do you and your family have any day trips that you like to do?

2.) I read somewhere, probably here, that there is a difference between being a comrade and being a coworker. Your 'team' is probably comrades, and you're still just a coworker. If you want to be a comrade, think about actions or behaviors you might be exhibiting that would spook the group or otherwise make them doubt your loyalty to the team first, and boss second. Are you perceived as a "company man"? Vocally support the boss' ideas without waiting to see what others think? It can even be something small like proposing a change for how the office kitchen is handled--groups that have had an existing dynamic for a while can be pretty hostile to change, regardless of how positive, well-intentioned, correct, or beneficial the proposed change is. If this is the case, you can change the dynamic by finding ways to show you're on their team (and a team player) without compromising your integrity or selling yourself short w/r/t your work. Ask for help from them instead of from your boss, find little ways to make their jobs easier (without making a big deal of it to the boss), ask them to lunch, etc. You can read up on industrial and organizational psychology if you need other strategies or perspectives on how to deal with this kind of thing.

Good luck. I think with time and relentless kindness, patience, and good humor on your part you can begin to change the dynamic.
posted by stellaluna at 1:54 PM on January 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


You're not obligated to like your work colleagues, and they aren't obligated to like you. Sometimes you get lucky and get along well with people, but sometimes you just have to rub and wear.

Downtime at work means a couple of things; it's a chance to leave work early OR it's a chance to spend some time getting paid to do something other than work. Can you take a course, or maybe even ask your boss for something to do when it's quiet? That would look good to your boss and will ultimately be FAR more useful than chit-chatting. Someone who shows initiative gets promoted.

It reads like you haven't tried hard to become part of the clique, and when you have tried, you haven't done very much to join it. Do you want to be chatty with these people because you actively like them, or do you want to chat because you're lonely and bored at work? If it's the latter, which it seems to me to be, then that's probably going to be coming across way more in person. If you actually like them, then show that a LOT more than you're doing, hopefully without it coming off as desperation.
posted by Solomon at 1:58 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


I may be alone on this but female coworkers can be tough particularly if you already are a little out their comfort zone. Keep it general and polite - you should get along but don't feel you have to be friends. Would you like them if they weren't your coworkers?
posted by lasamana at 2:09 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I suggest that when you extend that olive branch, you offer something more specific than "a movie" at least occasionally... Otherwise your reserved/lamefied story would seem standoffish to me. Sharing a little of what you like may make you more approachable.

But yeah, make allies of some of them as individuals and make friends with your boss & other people.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 2:40 PM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't dislike any of coworkers, but I'm definitely not part of the "in-group" of women that has formed at my workplace, for a not-dissimilar set of reasons to yours (see also: introvert, not much into small talk, like to keep work and social life separate). And sometimes that stings a little, still, but when it comes right down to it, I know that I don't want to do the work involved in getting into that group. They're nice people and I have no reason to think they dislike me, and we're pleasant to each other at work, and that is all that needs to happen, really.

Now, what gives me pause about your question is that it seems like you could have the beginnings of an actively poisonous situation here. But it could also be that you're in a heightened emotional state and reading intentions that aren't actually there. As long as your work isn't being negatively affected, I would not approach the women or your boss as if there is a problem. That's escalating too much at this point.

I think you should stop fearing rejection. It doesn't sound like the women involved are in any position to negatively affect you professionally, so what do you have to fear? Make some small-talk overtures to establish that you're interested in them and want to be approachable, and see where things go from there. But all that you really need to be doing with respect to your coworkers is being pleasant, professional and polite and getting your job done. Keeping your relationships at work cordial but shallow also potentially saves yourself from getting sucked into totally unnecessary politics and drama by not being on the inside of the group.
posted by EvaDestruction at 2:49 PM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


My guess is that they think you're the young artsy chick who's secretly judging them and finding them to be old-fashioned stick-in-the-muds. While you don't have to suck up and be everyone's new BBF, you might take the high road and try to find a common interest--crafts? Cooking? Old-timey music? Do they sew? Do they do cool stuff with their dogs, like agility training? Do they know where to get really good (Local food favorite here).

I would find one of them and get to know her a little better and find a way for them to understand that you're not holding secret snark sessions about them. You're the cool girl, and I think they're probably intimidated.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:09 PM on January 15, 2013 [7 favorites]


They may think that you think that you're "better than them". Especially if they're southern. Especially if you're not, and if your accent differs from theirs. This is deeply ingrained stuff that even educated people have to work to overcome. Your profile says you're in TX; this could be a factor. Not-too-incidentally, this kind of cultural-assumption-divide is perhaps behind a lot of the political difficulties in the US lately.

I don't really know how to address it, but it's worth using your brain, I think. Ask for advice from someone you know who has worked across this cultural divide -- maybe you have friends in a similar job situation.

A lot of people would be calling these ladies unflattering names by now -- good on you for not giving up on them or yourself. I really think its worth making the effort.

You may be more likely to be promoted than they are (they probably sense this), so learning how to relate will be both more challenging and more rewarding for you.
posted by amtho at 3:35 PM on January 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Be careful what you wish for.

You want to have a fun work environment, based on being part of a great in-group. That works - when those are people you are likely to get along with. But when they are not, when there are stark differences that are irreconcilable, such as religious and political (if the group makes that a very much "required" feature, i.e. there is little tolerance for diversity), well, guess what - that will not work, ever. In that circumstance, you will NEVER be part of the in-group.

And if so, time to give up on that dream. This, by the way is a positive, not a negative. Do you really want to hang out with people whose conversation will be likely constantly offensive to you (even if you don't show it), and where you have to censor yourself otherwise there will be drama. If you do become "accepted" into the group, whether on some lower-level status and always provisional, or otherwise, the alien experience will simply grate day in and day out. There is an office that I have to occasionally use for various paperwork tasks, such as notary services etc., and the owner is a tea bagger who is happy to broadcast his views to his customers on a constant basis. I cannot imagine the utter boredom I'd experience if I had to be around him and make nice for 8 hours a day. By becoming accepted into their group, you'd quickly find yourself climbing walls you cannot even see.

This is an opportunity to assert your inner identity. You don't always have to be accepted and not everyone has to love you or vice versa, and you don't have to twist yourself into a pretzel to become "accepted". Many people - particularly women in this culture - feel a compulsion to have everyone accept and like them. Screw that. You can't please everybody, so don't worry about it.

Now, that doesn't mean you should be hostile toward them. It is not worth the energy, and they don't deserve hostility - they are who they are, and that's that. So be nice to them. Yes, be nice. But it should only go about a millimeter deep. Cheerful and happy and polite, but no further. You make no overtures, respond cheerfully and politely at the workplace, but don't stand around waiting for invitations. Make it clear that you expend zero mental energy on playing games and attempting to become one of the "in-group". And make sure that is so - you have your breaks, you do your stuff, and that's where it ends. The key here is to never project an air of superiority. You are simply from a different planet. Cheerful and genuinely unconcerned with their opinions. Allow their slings and arrows to bounce off harmlessly - never respond with hostility, just smile cheerfully, shrug and move on - never allow them to get to you.

Let them trot off on their merry way. You have a path, and you're marching forward - friendly, nice, but taking nobody's shit. End results - left alone, and happy not to be forced into unpleasant social interactions. Use your time for YOU.
posted by VikingSword at 3:53 PM on January 15, 2013 [12 favorites]


If you are on the opposite side of the political spectrum from them, and politics imbues their discussions a lot, it's just as well if you don't hang out too much. They can sense that you disagree with a lot of what they say.

Or, what VikingSword said.
posted by BibiRose at 4:29 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Be professional, courteous, and pleasant, like disarmingly so. THEY will look like bitches, you will continue being awesome. And don't show them that you feel left out, nothing like your [professional, courteous, and pleasant] indifference to their childish actions to get on their nerves :D
posted by Neekee at 5:02 PM on January 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also do realize I have made little effort socially and I have no excuse... except that I have a hard time coming up with something to talk about with these ladies and often am not met very warmly when I do (therefore fear rejection).
Honestly, this is everything right here. You (feel) have little in common, you didn't match their social overtures with ones of your own, and now they'd rather talk to each other than to you. I know that it hurts to feel excluded, but maybe this is a lesson going forward -- if you want to have "work friends" you may need to actually work at it, especially with an established in-group like this. It was clear to me that you don't really like/get these ladies, and it was probably clear to them too.

If you are determined, though, I think you need to figure out SOMETHING you have in common with these ladies and try to engage them in conversation a couple of times. Talk to them about something universal, but could be personal (men!pets!) but not hot-button-y (Cabinet appointees! LGBTQ!) Maybe catch one in the ladies room or getting a drink of water, when they aren't with "the herd". Make a point of saying "good morning" and "have a great night!" Kill 'em with kindness, even if it isn't exactly returned.

Above all else, remember that you have a fulfilling life outside of work and enjoy it.
posted by sm1tten at 5:46 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is a phrase I learned on the Internet years ago. It's "Not Our Kind, Dear."

You are not their kind and they are not yours. It sucks to be obviously, rudely ostracized at work. But... you are literally the antithesis of the kind of people that they want to hang out with. And you being liberal? And a single female ESPECIALLY? Yeah, those two things would kinda doom you right there. (Though yeah, if you got married/got pregnant, I bet their tune would change immediately.) Your not having a husband and kids and dogs and hatred of Obama to talk about gives you....well, next to nothing that they're interested in hearing about at lunch. I apparently can't be friends with most young Smug Marrieds because I'm single (I literally got told, several times, that they wanted couple friends only!), though I have better luck being friendly/friends with women in their 40's who got over that shit.

And I really don't know how you can get past that stuff without becoming more like them. They outnumber you, they have seniority and localness. You will have to bend to them if you want them to be more friendly to you. I concur with sm1tten that you need to find some common interest, or develop more of an interest in dogs or something that they are into. Or ask them about cooking--the conservative young marrieds looooove to talk recipes, right?

But I wouldn't shoot for friendship so much as "hopefully they can be polite to me during work hours." Nor would I hope for lunch invites. I also agree with VikingSword that you don't want to have to put on an entire fake persona to be friends with these people. But at bare minimum, you always need to be polite and friendly and swallow the calling them on their shit, because it's work.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:31 PM on January 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


I so get this. I'm a person who tends to be introverted - it takes me a long time to figure out who I want to cultivate at work. I don't automatically bond with other women just because I also have ovaries. So I have similar issues as you, but mine are self-created. To me it really sounds like these girls are being jerks to you.

You may be in the wrong world entirely. You're young, hip, artsy, alternative. Could you change your job entirely? Work at a record store, art gallery, symphony gift shop, comic book shop? Could you do promotions for bands? Would you be happier in a different environment?

We have a gossip mill at work, and lots of toxic personalities and politics. I find that focusing on the nuts and bolts of my job helps a lot, with frequent self-reminders about why I'm here: the paycheck, mostly.

Another thing that helps is my schedule. I get in around 6am and am gone by 2pm. It suits me just fine! (Also I have fond hopes of leaving my job, and am chipping away in secret at that project every day. Good for morale.)

You're young and talented. You'll find something better soon!
posted by cartoonella at 9:03 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thank you all for the awesome feedback. Sometimes when you ask a question it's nice to be reminded that you may be asking the wrong questions. I've been focused on how to be friends or get along with these people instead of questioning if I even should be.

Just a few clarifications:
Could you change your job entirely? Work at a record store, art gallery, symphony gift shop, comic book shop? Could you do promotions for bands? Would you be happier in a different environment?
I have a business degree and eventually would love to work in an environment that's more artistic and around more people I'm akin to... it would make me happier. However these corporate jobs are very helpful in gaining a ton of experience directly related to my degree and pay well, and eventually I see myself running my own business. There is light! Just way way way down the tunnel.

Multiple suggestions above about asking about food / local foods
Very good suggestion, I know one of the ladies loves wine and plan to ask her about a good local brand I could pick up for a party. Showing someone that you're impressed (and for me genuinely so) by their knowledge on something.

They may think that you think that you're "better than them". Especially if they're southern. Especially if you're not, and if your accent differs from theirs. This is deeply ingrained stuff that even educated people have to work to overcome. Your profile says you're in TX; this could be a factor. Not-too-incidentally, this kind of cultural-assumption-divide is perhaps behind a lot of the political difficulties in the US lately.
I grew up here in the South and, to say it delicately, what our politicians and the crazy-ass rednecks (that seems to make the news) say... is definitely not representative of the majority of us. True there is a general leaning towards Conservative values. I know here on Metafilter most people don't think too highly of Texas and often question why anyone with a right mind would live here... but politics aside the economy is GREAT and believe it or not Dallas, TX is a Democrat county. Weirdos tend to flock together. Long story short, I doubt my location is a huge part of my 'outsiderness'.

Thanks again guys!
posted by hillabeans at 7:29 AM on January 17, 2013


Hey there,

I grew up in a small town in Georgia. I watched a lot of TV and had parents from Ohio and California, so I didn't develop an accent. Not sure if that's the cause, or just that I was kind of introverted, but some girls did give me a hard time because they thought I "thought I was better than them". I was in fact neutral on that point, but we never really discussed it :)

Just saying, I'm from the South too, and I didn't mean to give the impression that I was indulging in stereotypes. I met a lot of different, thoughtful southerners during my time at Georgia Tech.
posted by amtho at 10:20 AM on January 17, 2013


« Older Is Facebook still spoofing fri...   |  What was this young adult (or ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post