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Awesome Etiquette: Balancing Personal Time And Co-Worker Relations

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Lunch can be a great time to take a break from work and socialize, but what if you'd rather spend the time alone and recharge? How do you communicate that politely to your peers?

Lunch can be a great time to relax and recharge in the middle of the work day. While some people enjoy getting lunch with coworkers, others might prefer to use the time to do their own thing. How can they politely convey that desire to their peers?

 Hi Lizzie and Dan,

I work in a small office with nine other people. Since everyone is often in everyone else's business and we often work long hours together, I really value my hour lunch break. I often use the time to workout, run errands or just get out of the office and have some me time. Several coworkers take my leaving the office personally and one is even trying to implement mandatory staff lunch get-togethers. When we have staff lunches it just feels like an extra hour of work with no break during the day. I've told my coworkers that I need the time to get my personal business done but that seems to fall on deaf ears. How do I explain to my coworkers it's not personal and my alone time at lunch is needed for my own sanity and to be a better team player during the rest of the day.


The answer:

It's important to carve out that alone time in life but it's also important to get to know your coworkers socially. Attend a holiday a get-together at the end of the year or to accept that invitation to the summer barbecue at the boss's house.

Even if it feels like you're giving up a portion of your Fourth of July weekend to go spend with your work colleagues, it's an opportunity to build and grow those relationships in different ways. You never know what you might gain later on.

The idea is to try to find ways to connect in your own way to connect. Try to make small connections like just asking how somebody is doing or what they're watching on TV. Little teeny tiny chit chat like that can build up relationships so that when you take your hour at lunch, you don't have to worry about people judging you for doing it.

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