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Why You Aren't Invited Out With Coworkers

Do you ever feel like things aren’t quite right with your co-workers?

Perhaps recent interactions feel a touch off to you and you’re not being included as much as you used to be.

Situations like this can be extra tricky because there may not be a specific incident or behavior that you can call out to address, but you know something is wrong.

Start by reflecting on past behavior to see why you may have been left off of the invite list for lunch or Friday Happy Hour.

1. You’re Taking Invitations Too Literally

With very few exceptions, an invitation to lunch isn’t about eating and happy hour isn’t about drinking. They are about creating a community and getting to know your co-workers outside of the office. If you’ve already eaten, don’t drink coffee, or are celebrating ‘Sober October’ consider joining your co-workers anyway.

You can still enjoy their conversation and camaraderie without food or drink. If you absolutely cannot join, consider suggesting another activity instead or inviting them to something soon. It’s very likely that they want to include you and spend time with you, not watch you eat a sandwich.

2. You Always Say No

Don’t make friends or co-workers chase after you. The chances are very high that after two declined invitations, requests will stop coming. If you can’t join the team for an outing, be sure you express that you’d like to be included for future events, or create your own to bring people together.

3. You’re Focused on Work

Are you constantly bringing the topic of conversations back to work, or worse, complaints about work? Use time out of the office to step away from your responsibilities and try to get to know your co-workers better. There’s plenty of time to talk shop before and after a team outing.

4. You Lack Self-Awareness

Observe your co-workers reactions around you. Do they stiffen up when you say certain things? Exchange glances? Roll their eyes? Take a moment to put yourself in their shoes and imagine why they’re having those reactions. What are you saying at the time and how might it land on them?

A client of mine recently shared with her co-workers that she didn’t envision staying very long at her company because she wanted to work at a place that was more dynamic and exciting. Her co-workers took her message to mean that staying at the current company meant they were stale and boring. That was not her intent, but just the same, she ended up having to do damage control afterward. Consider how your comments may impact others to ensure you stay on the group text.

If you find you’ve been guilty of one of these offenses and would like to get back into the good graces of your old lunchtime crew, don’t fret. Depending on your team, you could organize the next team outing to put yourself back into the group, or simply ask to join their next event. You’ll be back in everyone’s good graces in no time flat.


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