Dear Annie: Left out at work
Dear Annie: At my job, I’m the newbie on the team. The others I work with seem to know one another well, and they chat and make jokes in the office all the time. Meanwhile, some of my teammates are rather passive-aggressive with me. I don’t understand why, though. I’m good at my job, and I always put in 110 percent effort.
It seems to me that teammates who make more careless errors but are part of the “inside club” get far kinder treatment than I do. I’m a laid-back person and very open and honest, and I just want to be able to talk casually with these co-workers I feel have excluded me. I want to be a part of their fun conversations, but friendship can’t be built instantaneously. How do I become more connected to these people and stop feeling so lonely in the office? It hurts to see them laugh with one another while I’m singled out. I’ve seen a co-worker curse in the office while laughing with another co-worker and then turn to me and speak coldly; it’s like a 180-degree switch. Ugh. — The Odd One Out
Dear Odd One Out: If they’re intentionally excluding you, you’re the better for it. Those aren’t the sort of people you should worry about impressing. But I doubt they’re acting out of deliberate malice. More likely, you’re just the newbie, and it takes time to build rapport at the office. Familiarity with co-workers is earned through years of working together.
Continue being yourself and doing good work, and stop putting so much pressure on the idea of being friends with everyone. You may never end up being super warm and fuzzy with your colleagues, and that would be totally fine. Look at it this way: You’d be able to get more work done while others socialize and to go home and have a healthy social life that’s not tangled up in work.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Mulling Over Memoir,” who wishes to record her father’s stories. I help people write their memoirs, and there are a few methods I’ve used that are helpful if the interviewee lives some distance away.
For my own dad, I emailed him a question a day, and he replied with his answer, which I copied and pasted into a growing document. When our online interview was complete, I had amassed an entire memoir with relatively little effort.
If email is not an option, another way to gather stories is telephonically, using a speakerphone and an audio recorder. That way, your hands are free to type what is said, and the recording device captures anything that may have been missed.
I highly recommend a book called “To Our Children’s Children,” by Bob Greene and D.G. Fulford. It contains hundreds of questions that cover different eras of a person’s life.
I hope this helps your readers record their loved ones’ stories while there’s still time. — Making Memoirs in Michigan
Dear Making Memoirs: These are incredibly useful and practical tips for helping loved ones tell their stories. Thank you for writing.
Dear Annie: I would have added a few more things to the response to “Hurt, Frustrated and Appalled in Florida,” whose husband has trouble saying “no” to his adult children and told his daughter she could have her wedding at their house. This is “Hurt, Frustrated and Appalled in Florida’s” time to shine and rise above. She should put on a lovely event that everyone will remember. There are easy solutions to all of her concerns. She could move her personal belongings somewhere safe. She could have a port-a-potty or have a designated usher to show guests to the bathroom.
She could frame it differently and have everyone love her for it. — A Wife Also
Dear Wife: Well said. I agree with all your points. Our framing goes a long way toward shaping the picture. Thanks for writing.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.