That I expect her to make a bit more conversation?

(47 Posts)
anotherusernameugh Wed 16-Mar-16 11:26:15

So there's a woman at work who is more than pleasant and just generally nice. Doesn't seem to have any anxiety or social issues. Of course I wouldn't know that for sure though.

When she joined she asked me to go for lunch and I of course said yes as she was new and I wanted to be friendly.

Lunch was fine, she didn't talk much and I found myself searching for things to say but I sort of put that down to the fact she was new and was still finding her way around.

We've also had a few chats in the office at various times so it's not as if these lunches are the only time we speak. Again, after she says "how are you?" I get nothing from her in terms of small talk, yet she always approaches me and looks at me as if to say "go on" with my chat.

She then asked me again a few weeks later and although I wasn't massively up for it I went as again I wanted to be nice. Again, she didn't say much and I found myself constantly thinking of new topics. She also sort of didn't carry conversation on, so I'd bring something up and she wouldn't really continue it, or she wouldn't come up with any chat herself. I tried to ask questions to get more chat from her, but it was short sentence answers and then I'd be muddling for something else to say.

She then asked me for lunch again a month ago but I was on holiday so when I got back just had a reason to say - sorry but we must do this! Then just left it. I thought she'd just get from that that I wasn't too bothered and that would be it.

I thought I was the only one but in explaining my annoyance to another much closer work friend the other day, she then told me they'd gone out for lunch and shed found it painful.

Now she's asked for lunch again. To be honest, I just can't waste another hour on this. I'm now feeling like I just am entertaining her rather than it being any sort of discussion and feel like I'd rather just plough through my work. AIBU to dodge her again? Will it look too rude as we work together? Also - as a general rant here - I don't think she has any issues so why can't she make some damn conversation if she always asks me to go out? I don't think she's just "letting" me speak to be kind - there are times when there are periods of long (awkward) silence! She may be shy, but I feel I just need SOME HELP to carry on convo. Like I say, she's nice, I'd just rather not bother with these frustrating lunches which aren't getting any better!

OurBlanche Wed 16-Mar-16 11:30:18

Good luck with that!

You are firmly stuck between the 'be nice she isn't horrid' rock and the 'I can't carry on doing this' hard place.

I'd say 'No thanks!' and duck, but then I am known to be an antisocial misery smile

KERALA1 Wed 16-Mar-16 11:31:07

YANBU avoid avoid avoid. Went on a few dates with a man like this in my twenties. By the third date I was exhausted and used up all my anecdotes. When I finished it he was baffled - he thought we had been getting on so well!

My ILs are also like this. I hate it as feel obliged to fill the silence as they sit there like lemons. Everyone has a social obligation to give something back.

I host teenage girls from Italy and they are all mostly like this. Fair enough as they are young but honestly by day 5 I ask about their day they answer then we sit in silence. Only so far you can go on your own. Unless you are a stand up comic or something.

QuestionableMouse Wed 16-Mar-16 11:34:12

I have a friend like this and it is bloody hard work!

Birdie85 Wed 16-Mar-16 11:39:03

Can you ask your other colleague to join you if you don't want things to get awkward by refusing to go to lunch? Safety in numbers and all that!

I feel your pain though, people like that are hard work!

YakTriangle Wed 16-Mar-16 11:42:55

I know someone like this. It's really hard to speak to someone who gives nothing back to a conversation. You run out of topics to try and introduce and it ends up in big awkward silences.

notinagreatplace Wed 16-Mar-16 11:46:20

I hate this.

I have found that, sometimes, just not picking up the conversational ball yet again can work. I.e. just letting the silence go on for longer than you're comfortable with. It doesn't always work but it does sometimes.

If that doesn't work, just avoiding the person or only going out in groups is the only solution...

BayLeaves Wed 16-Mar-16 11:51:37

I have a friend like this and at first I wasn't sure if we should bother being friends but she ended up inviting me to her small wedding so I assume that means she does enjoy our friendship.

I would say be compassionate. Personally I don't have a lot of friends so if someone is inviting me for lunch I would be grateful someone is taking an interest in spending time with me. I would happily invest the time and awkwardness to make a new ally at work. (That's if they're making the first move, I probably wouldn't go out of my way to invite them to lunch)

Some people suffer from social anxiety but still want to build friendships/networks at work, a bit of perseverance and kindness is much appreciated to help come out of their shell.

mumofthemonsters808 Wed 16-Mar-16 11:53:27

I would not put myself through it again, as I really don't have the funds to pay for lunch and if I do, its a rare treat and I really want to be in company that I enjoy.

Some people are just not very good at small talk and can not handle chit chat nonsensical conversations and do really struggle in these type of situations. My OH cant handle this type of interaction especially with people he does not know, he literally does not know what to say and feels very uncomfortable and struggles to give anything back. He too, spends a lot of time listening and nodding. Sometimes, he does not even listen, as his mind wonders off. It can be very frustrating for the other person and he comes across as being bloody hard work. It's just the way he is and it seems your colleague is similar. He's better when it is a subject he can relate to and has an interest in, like football, well any sport, and he will come alive. If you are willing to invest the time and energy, you will probably find something that your colleague can contribute towards. However, I can understand your reluctance to take this on board.

Arfarfanarf Wed 16-Mar-16 11:55:21

You could try developing her answers by asking supplimentary questions and inviting her to elaborate
when you think up a small talk topic, find things to ask her
so what do you think about that? how have you found that? etc not just a question, an answer and think of a new thing. But developing the topic by asking another question.

Also say wow, sorry, I am talking your ear off, I'd love to hear a bit about you...

give her more opportunities to talk if she doesn't know how to find random small talk things to say. Does she like to read becomes what did she last read which becomes what did she think of it. Does she like going to the theatre becomes what's the last thing she saw, etc etc.

Yes, it is harder to do that but easy natural two way flowing small talk is really more difficult than people think. Those to whom it comes naturally think that it's a little thing, an absolute trifle and anyone can do it - they don't realise what a skill it is that they have got!

I am absolutely rubbish at small talk. I try really hard but it is torture. Answering a question, or asking one is so much easier than making statements about the weather or that new filing tray on floor 15 grin

or - radical option here and one that most people feel all twitchy at the mere thought of grin - don't talk. Silence doesn't have to be uncomfortable. Eat together, don't chat. see how that goes. Most people can't do that because they are uncomfortable with silence but silence doesn't have to be a bad thing. It can be nice to be in company without feeling obliged to fill the air with pointless chatter.

ime the people with the amazing small talk skills are also those who can't do silence. Those who aren't so good with the chatter are the ones who are comfortable with periods of quiet. (generally)

Ceeceecee Wed 16-Mar-16 11:56:49

I actually wouldn't go but if I felt obliged I'd definitely take someone else.

Joolsy Wed 16-Mar-16 11:57:56

I would say that, yes, some people are not good with chit chat, but then why would you keep inviting people out for lunch? I'd knock it on the head until you get to know her a bit better. My BIL is like this; he v. introverted and therefore would not go out of his way to socialise. In the beginning I could not bear to be on my own with him. It's taken time but he's come out of his shell and I'm quite comfortable making small talk with him....for a short time!

IgnoreMeEveryOtherReindeerDoes Wed 16-Mar-16 11:59:51

Maybe she doesn't want to continuously chat during lunch but just wants company. I find small talk really awkward it's something I'm still learning in my 40s and wasn't brave enough to do in earlier life always being shy person and have been practicing. I'm comfortable with silence so long as the other person doesn't give me awkward vibes.

maddening Wed 16-Mar-16 11:59:55

Do you ask her questions?

midsummabreak Wed 16-Mar-16 12:01:53

could be social anxiety and using safeguarding behaviours suxh as remaining quiet to avoid making a fool of oneself in social situations that provoke anxiety www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/shynesssocialphobia.asp
"'safety behaviours' can result in what is known as self fulfilling prophecies. For example, by staying quiet in social situations, people may come across as 'distant' and others may respond by making less of an effort. As a result, their beliefs that they can't mix well remain in place. "

anotherusernameugh Wed 16-Mar-16 12:02:05

It's also my lunchtime and it feels as if I'm leaving work to go do more work. I know I should be compassionate but I do think I tried enough all the other times we've "talked". I agree sometimes silences are uncomfortable but honestly why would you want to invite someone for lunch just to sit in silence the whole time if you don't know them well enough? I'd be happy sitting in silence myself in Pret then! I do that with my Family and my DH and my best school friends. Not a colleague I'm trying to get to know.

Talking to my friend right now about her coming along but she's not up for it at all. I'm trying though!

anotherusernameugh Wed 16-Mar-16 12:02:59

maddening as in my post yes I do.

BluePancakes Wed 16-Mar-16 12:05:11

Do you have to go 1:1 with her? What about if you went out with other colleagues. You could spend time talking to them, so the pressure wasn't just on you.

I'm a quiet one, and generally don't find silences difficult (in fact I've some friends/family I wish would shut-up for a bit so I can think/have space to speak, as there is no need for them to fill every gap, imo) but do know a couple of people that I find difficult to talk 1:1 to because we're both bad at keeping conversations going. In company of others, I find I enjoy the company of the quiet ones more.

jay55 Wed 16-Mar-16 12:05:53

Is there anyone at work who is a bit 'me me me' you could introduce her to?

HPsauciness Wed 16-Mar-16 12:06:03

I wouldn't bother continuing the lunches, as you don't intend to be her friend- to me, work time is really precious in that I have to work hard to get everything done, and so an hour would be fine if we were fantastic friends, but I wouldn't have an hour every now and again for quite a few people and especially not those I don't have anything in common with. But, if you feel it would be awkward to refuse entirely, is there a way you can have a team lunch/with other colleagues, I mean once every few months, so that she's not completely excluded, but it doesn't become your thing to entertain her.

I would chat quickly over a coffee though, or ask 'how's it going' and be pleasant, I like to get on well with colleagues, but I wouldn't pursue what looks like a friendship when I didn't want to be friends.

Ceeceecee Wed 16-Mar-16 12:26:54

You don't want to go so don't! You'll end up stopping soon do might as well just stop now.

kiwifluff25 Wed 16-Mar-16 12:36:47

I agree with Jay match her up with someone who she can act as a sounding board for, win-win for everyone!

There was a girl I was at university who eventually I had to hide from when I saw her coming, she'd just come up and say hi, then stand beaming at you waiting for you to fill the silence, then give 1 word answers. She never knew when to leave either. Painful.

I don't understand how people are so lacking in basic conversational skills but yet don't find it awkward?

grumpysquash Wed 16-Mar-16 12:53:00

Try to engineer a little group that eats lunch together, then she can join in, but no need to speak all the time.
It's quite bold of her to invite you several times, if she's shy.
But having it more casual so you can dip in and out would be better IMO

Ceeceecee Wed 16-Mar-16 12:58:51

I don't think you should treat her social life as your responsibility or try to match her up with a new friend.

ButEmilylovedhim Wed 16-Mar-16 13:16:44

Have you seen the 'Father Stone' episode of Father Ted? He said absolutely nothing except "Fine, thanks" type things but was desperate to be with the others. Watch it if you haven't seen it.

I would find it very, very hard work too. I think go out in as big a group as you can muster is the way to go with this.

<not entirely sure about the new font but I'll get used to it no doubt>

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