Including yourself in exclusionary settings
November 23, 2007 11:46 AM Subscribe
How do you include yourself in exclusionary conversations?
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing to human relations (25 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Recently I had dinner with my roommate and three of her co-workers, whom I've met before at their job, but don't know personally. None of the others had brought guests, so I felt very much like the outsider all night. Most of their discussion was work-related, and while they didn't talk down to me when I was asked anything, and I was able to get a few comments in, it was rather awkward the rest of the time. I don't think they saw my quiet presence as awkward, mainly because it often felt like I wasn't even there. I'd expected stuff along the lines of "So how do you like it in town," or "What's your job like?" but didn't really get it.
I sort of have the same problem on my first days at a new job, where the others will chat among themselves, talking about personal matters and such, which again make me feel left out. And then they'll wonder why I'm so quiet. Not to say that anyone was rude in these two scenarios, but I'm just not the type to throw in my 2 cents with a group of unfamiliar people. More like the typical "Once you get to know me, I can be pretty fun to talk to" introvert. But I need some rope to get there. Even with friends, I get along much more easily when there's only two or three others, rather than five or six.
The more obvious question is how to throw yourself into the chatter more when it doesn't really involve you, without feeling like you're butting in. The other is how common it is for "established" groups to not make an effort to let someone less familiar feel more welcome. I felt like if my roommate had been with me and my co-workers, I'd have been pretty darn guilty if we only talked about my job the whole time.