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Introvert Experiences Slow Start Fitting in on New Job

DEAR ABBY: I started a new job a month ago. It's a well-paying job at a great company. My problem is I'm an insecure introvert. Making friends has always been hard for me. At this new job, my desk is away from everyone else, and no one has ever asked me to lunch.

I'm sure if I reached out proactively and asked to tag along, I wouldn't be rejected. But the thought of having to ask semi-strangers to include me and having to make small talk during lunch makes me anxious. I'm also afraid people will label me as part of certain subgroups within the department. I don't want to be in any clique. What should I do? -- INSECURE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR INSECURE: Not everyone makes small talk easily, so don't fault yourself for finding it awkward. Ask your co-workers what places they recommend for lunch and tag along when the opportunity arises. I don't think you need to "do" much more than slowly get to know them as you interact over work-related matters.

A positive way to get attention would be to bring some pastries and a fresh fruit salad to share one day during the morning break. It's a friendly gesture I'm sure would be appreciated.

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