Ask Denise: Employee not included in coworkers’ plans

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Editor’s note: Writer’s answers do not reflect those of the Mitchell News-Journal and are not meant to replace medical or mental health care.


Dear Denise: My husband and I recently moved here from out west, due to a job opportunity for him. We like this area very much and feel it will be a suitable environment for raising a family when we are ready. I also have started a job here, which I like very much. I miss the friends and social connections we had back home. The people I work with are very tight-knit and have done nothing to include me in their activities. They go out to lunch three or four times a week and meet some weekends at one another’s home or a restaurant. They make their plans in front of me, but act as though I am not even sitting there. This is very awkward for me. How can I make it clear I would like to be included? Do you think it is because I am a different nationality?

Dear Reader: I imagine this must feel very awkward for you. I remember how it felt for me when I moved here 19 years ago. I am assuming your co-workers have been together for some time, in which case they have built a family like bond. Being a “new kid on the block” can be a difficult situation. Have you reached out to them? Try bringing in some baked goods one morning for everyone. Try to engage them in conversation. Show your interest in getting to know them. Maybe when summer gets here, have a cookout and invite them – waiting for others to make the first move can be slow and frustrating. 

If all these attempts fall flat, maybe it is time to realize your social life may not be coming from your work partners, but from someplace outside of the work environment. It may take a while; small communities tend to be close-knit. I hope this works out for you soon.

Dear Denise: A couple of months ago I wrote to you about my boyfriend, who was cheating on his wife to be with me. You advised me I should cut my losses and move on. I followed your advice, and I am glad I did. He is already “dating” someone else, and still hasn’t left his wife. I have met a very nice, and single, guy who I have begun dating. I am glad I listened to you.

Dear Reader: Thank you so much for the follow-up. I am always grateful to hear how things turn out. I am pleased to hear you made this choice and are happy now. Best wishes.


Dear Denise: Is it always necessary to send a thank you for a gift, when you already thanked the person when you opened it?

Dear Reader: Yes, if it is a meaningful gift it should also be acknowledged in writing. A text or email may suffice, unless it is a gift received at a significant event, like a shower or wedding or graduation. A formal handwritten card or note should be sent then.

Denise Harrison is a Licensed Counselor in Spruce Pine. Send questions to or call and leave a message at 828-467-0037. Submissions are anonymous.

The MItchell News

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