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AIBU?

To confess to you what I did on my lunch break today?

157 replies

friendlesss · 24/01/2023 20:19

I was at work and all my colleagues went off for lunch, and I really struggle to invite myself along/tag along as I feel like a burden/not wanted (low self-esteem problems. I'm also not really close to any of my colleagues, whereas they are all quite close. Today nobody asked me, I just looked up from my desk and all my colleagues had gone off to lunch. I then felt embarrassed and didn't want to walk into the canteen alone, and didn't know what else to do.

My work is near a town centre so I spent my lunch going to one public loo to waste time, then walking along to the next set of public loos, and so on just to waste time. Then I forced myself to go into the canteen but felt so embarrassed that my colleagues would see me that I pretended to be busy on the phone, but I had nobody to call so I just phoned my doctor's surgery up knowing there would be a long queue and I just sat on the queue for a bit before hanging up.

I know this is pathetic, I can see the errors of my ways but I just feel so sad at how my life has turned out

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Keroppi · 24/01/2023 20:28

Why didn't you go and get lunch from a Gregg's or whatever in town, why did you need to go to public toilets? That does sound depressing. I think a cafe alone would've been much nicer.

Making friends when you have low self esteem is hard but maybe you need to bring a packed lunch and watch netflix in the canteen/read a book? Or engineer a conversation about lunch time/what time people are going on break/what they are eating? You then could go up to them in the canteen.

You can definitely overcome your social anxiety. Hugs op. Have you ever tried CBT?

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Mojitomogul · 24/01/2023 20:28

Oh bless you! Can promise you, no one would judge you for sitting on your own at lunch!! I have learnt over time that actually I love to have my lunch by myself, to reset and relax. I bet if your colleagues saw you by yourself, they may even ask you over. Could you take a book and at least then it's a good distraction.

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PinkArt · 24/01/2023 20:30

This makes me sad to read. Do you think you could take little steps forward? So perhaps don't go to loos if there's a next time! Go to a shop for a browse, take a route you don't know for a change of scenery. Don't phone your surgery, stick a funny podcast on and listen to that. You're great so do great stuff for you, not crap stuff. You deserve so much more than a lunch break touring toilets.
Little steps to build yourself up and hopefully you'll start to reach the point you can make small social changes too. Don't try to go straight to lunches if that'll overwhelm you, but are there other small things you could do? Do you say hi in the morning or ask how their weekend was? Ask to borrow a stapler?
Keep telling yourself you are awesome and you deserve awesomeness.

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DaveyJonesLocker · 24/01/2023 20:30

God OP I'm so sorry. I used to just walk round and round and round. Its so shitty. No answers just solidarity.

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turquoisegem · 24/01/2023 20:39

OP please don't do this again.
I remember when I was at school hiding in the toilet with social anxiety when I thought I had nobody to eat lunch with and I look back now and feel so sad I did that.
None of my classmates would have wanted me to have done that.
I've worked really hard to overcome social anxiety.

I've learnt just to do it, it's hard but once you do it's second nature.
I didn't even realise how social anxiety effected me until I overcame it and I promise once you do you'll wish you'd done it sooner.
It really is a case of fake it until you make it.
Or maybe just be honest and upfront with them nobody ever judged anyone for telling the truth, just be yourself, people are nicer than you think.

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turquoisegem · 24/01/2023 20:42

I don't know where you live but most areas have a self referral organisation where you can do online CBT courses, it's mainly mindfulness and exposure therapy but they call you once a week and set you little tasks and you keep journals and complete the online course. Maybe that could help I found it helpful.

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Wowzel · 24/01/2023 20:42

I had a job like this, I was almost never invited to go for lunch with anyone. I used to wander the shops and then sit on a wall to eat a sandwich, it was honestly so depressing.

I eventually started eating lunch every day with a man who also had no one to eat lunch with, which was nice, but the only thing we had in common was no friends!

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Swiftswatch · 24/01/2023 20:42

Your insecurities are making you have totally unrealistic ideas of what is normal or not.
No one is going to judge you for sitting and eating your lunch so calling the doctors is weird. Just eat your lunch, zone out and relax, read a book or something.
Why did you go from one public toilet to the next? Why not sit down in a coffee shop? Or look around a shop?

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SylviasMotherSaid · 24/01/2023 20:44

God I hate spending my lunch with colleagues when working in the office and always make a point of going out even though the town I work in is abysmal . I think it’s them who’s weird wanting to spend lunch with each other

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DarkDarkNight · 24/01/2023 20:45

This reminds me of school - I used to tag along, but never be a part of the gang. If I was late no one was waiting for me.

Are there no cafes in the town to sit in? or a nice coffee shop to get a takeaway? I know it’s not the weather for sitting on a park bench but the public toilets sounds awful. Could you use the time to run errands to get things out of the way?

If you want to use the canteen don’t worry about being in your own. Listen to some music or a podcast via headphones, take a book or magazine. Plenty of people in my workplace spend their lunch time alone, or go for a walk to get some air and nobody thinks anything of it. Nobody is judging them.

I understand you may not want to spend your time alone though, but I’m not the best person to give advice on socialising.

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Nevermind31 · 24/01/2023 20:50

Go to a shop. Run errands. Bring a packed lunch. Take lunch back to your desk.
i love eating lunch on my own as I can read - I really dislike having to make small talk. I wouldn’t judge anyone eating on their own

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aintnothinbutagstring · 24/01/2023 20:55

Gosh - I think I love my own company too much that I'd love to get out of work and wander round town for a bit! I'd find a nice cafe to sit though. Maybe you feel its weird to lunch alone whereas lots of workers prefer to take a break from their colleagues or some have alternate lunches so no choice. Please enjoy your lunch somewhere a bit nicer tomorrow! Even grab a nice sandwich and take it back to your desk with a book/your phone. It's your break, your time - don't spend it feeling self conscious.

Unfortunately I work in a school with a 25min lunch that is rarely ever 25min.

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Muffinmctuffin · 24/01/2023 20:57

I used to be the opposite, I always tried to find ways to have lunch on my own as I needed time to myself to not talk to anyone and just relax - helped me work better in the afternoon.
I loved going on different long walks each day and discovering the local area - could you try that if this happens again? Or look around the shops and treat yourself? That could be a conversation starter back in the office if you do.
It sounds like you'd like to have lunch with your colleagues, I would pick one who you think is kind and have a quiet chat with them to tell them how you feel - but don't make it heavy, just ask if you could go along with them with a smile. I honestly think you'll be surprised. It might be daunting the first few times but it will get easier.

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ButterCrackers · 24/01/2023 20:59

It’s ok to spend your lunch break alone. This is your time and make the most of it. Line up a series to watch, check out apps to read online for free, music, radio. Make it your time. Eat your lunch and relax. Have a walk, is there a gym nearby or a park. A library is a great place to sit by yourself and check your phone/ rummage through the shelves. A shopping centre has good seating and it being busy you’ll blend in so you can relax. You are doing great. You will feel rested and also energised for the rest of the day without the energy sapping nonfriends. You will make friends and these will be good friends

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AlbertaAnnie · 24/01/2023 21:03

My work has a tiny staff room and nowhere close enough to go for a wander so I have no choice except to sit with my colleagues. I would love to go sit in a cafe with my book and not have to make small talk! Just bring a book/ go to the shops/ find a cafe. If you want to sit with them just go for it I’m sure they are just being thoughtless not inviting you not deliberately malicious

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Lizzy1328 · 24/01/2023 21:05

I love going to the canteen alone to escape my colleagues for a bit! Look at it in a different way maybe. Xx

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Americano75 · 24/01/2023 21:11

I just want to give you a massive cuddle. You've been given some great advice, I hope things get better for you.

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Mamoun · 24/01/2023 21:11

Take a book, sit alone and noone will judge you.
They'll be jealous of you reading a nice book and being content on your own.

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78Summer · 24/01/2023 21:14

Headphones, listen to some funny or interesting podcasts, bring your lunch. It is only an hour or less. I enjoy getting away from my colleagues at lunch so try and see it in another way. Hugs for you.

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365names · 24/01/2023 21:20

Headphones and podcasts or a wickedly funny or lovely book - what about one of the read a longs on here - you could listen to the book on audio and catch up? They would welcome you on the thread!!

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JupiterFortified · 24/01/2023 21:21

i would echo the advice about taking a book along/listening to a pod cast so you feel more comfortable going to the canteen alone.

I actually prefer eating lunch on my own which makes me sound like the grinch but I just like having a proper break without having to make small talk.

I think if you go alone then the absolute worst thing that could happen is that no one will speak to you. But then you’ll already be reading a book/listening to a podcast so it won’t matter anyway. And people certainly won’t think you’re weird xx

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UWhatNow · 24/01/2023 21:22

What does it matter what they go off and do? Perhaps they think you don’t like them?

Instead of sitting feeling sorry for yourself because of some perceived girl-gang you’re not part of, just relax and enjoy your lunch break. Do things you want to do. Many of us would give our right arm for a peaceful hour to ourselves! The happier you are in your own company, strangely, makes people more drawn to you.

Stop worrying about other people’s perceptions of you - learn to value yourself and know your self-worth.

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365names · 24/01/2023 21:22

  1. See in the park wrapped up warm with a nice soup in a thermos, feel being alive and listen to an audio book go same time each day


  1. smile at someone else in the second week of doing - 1.


  1. strike up a conversation after doing the above for a week each
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ThisLifeIsTough · 24/01/2023 21:23

oh op Flowers

I once worked somewhere where everyone in the office ran off to someone’s house to have lunch together. They actually said ‘we’re off to Kim’s for lunch, see you later’. When they came back one of them actually asked where I had lunch. I made up a lie about dashing into town to pick a birthday gift for a friend.

There’s another thread at the moment about people not going to work social events. I never go because I know no one will talk to me anyway. Colleagues are the worst.

At one job I used to take a book, a flask & sandwiches and sit in the car reading. It was bliss!

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ForestLilac · 24/01/2023 21:25

I’m only on five percent so just a quick thing to say I’ve done very very similar in the past. Over multiple jobs.

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