Lonely. Not alone.

Standing in a line that snaked through the room and back, I stood unsure of what to do with my arms. Folding them self-consciously across my trunk, I looked around. People around me seemed happy in their little circles. Half sentences from all around me were clashing around in my brain. I was listening to it all, taking nothing in.

It’s about a week since I started my new job and this was at a potluck today. In the time it took for me to get to the tables with half empty food trays, I was ready to slip away unnoticed. Wearing a false smile, putting on a brave face, I helped myself to tiny portions of the already scarce vegetarian food and looked around for a familiar face. Finding none, I next scanned the room for spots in the crowded hall where I could put the plate down and pick at my food while I wallowed in self-pity. Finding an empty chair at a crowded table, I gathered courage to walk up and ask if they minded me joining them. Of course not the answer came, just that the chair was already taken. Muttering a no problem, I walked away to find a spot behind a huge pillar.

Hidden from the mass of humanity around, I reflected on what it is that I was expecting. The place was new, the people new. The only way I could make friends was to stop a random stranger and introduce myself. Yet, here I was cowering behind a pillar bulldozing through my food so I could make a quick getaway.

Less than an hour later, I sat at my desk wondering if I would ever grow up and feel comfortable in an alien place. As the years pass, I seem to long for the familiarity of routine and the known faces. Change is uncomfortable. Change makes me inspect the parts of my psyche I had pushed into deep recesses. Changing workplaces means not just a change in the work I do. It entails building a new professional network from scratch. It means trying to keep the eight odd hours at work clinical with little personal interaction. It also means standing in a room full of people feeling completely lonely.

4 comments

  1. Aww Laksh,

    Its just a short phase. I have been there, very much, not so long ago when I moved jobs.
    Just give it some time and things will fall in place.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Tough phase! I am sure you already know this, but give it sometime and you will get very comfortable soon. Whenever there is a difficult change in my life, I read the story ‘who moved my cheese’..I have read it several times, but everytime I undergo a change and I read the story, I could relate very much to the rats and it helps me adapt well. Change is difficult for sure but without change there is no growth!

  3. Good that you blog your thoughts. Read the same post after 2-3 months. You will be laughing at yourself. For the kind of person you are – its a matter of time before everybody at work knows you.

  4. This too shall pass! I used to feel like a friendless sore thumb when I first joined my new job and kept having nostalgic flashes about my old place of work, especially since I am more of the shy wallflower type and break into sweat whenever I have to interact with someone new!

    But, things improved rapidly after a couple of months and I wound up making quite a few good friends. These things just take time – so hang in there and good luck!

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