Last Saturday I went into a water park. I went with 5 medical doctors, who knew each other.
I spent the whole day among them, and the reality was, that trying to socialize with a group you do not know that shares a lot in common -specially work ghettos- is really hard. If they do not try, you will never be integrated, it doesn’t matter what you do. Every question you ask, never returns, every conversation you start won’t probably last 2 or 3 interactions.
If I wasn’t at the park -we had all the time something to do or somewhere to go- I probably wouldn’t have lasted with them half an hour.
I’ve seen this happen also at work. When somebody brought a relative or friend to have lunch within the programmers gang that we join, it has been a total disaster. At least I have my conscience clean.
I’ve tried hard every time. Asking questions, ignoring the comments of the ones going all the time around technical and work topics, trying to keep the visitor entertained as I could.
Why? Because I’ve felt it too. Multiple times. You join a group where you only know one person, and unless you are really good with social skills (which isn’t usually the case, those are exceptions also), you feel isolated, and it just isn’t worth it.
It is even worse when you bring somebody you love or care about, and the people you hang out with every day just ignore him/her to the extent of full boredom. It’s a huge shame. Both for me, and for the group.
So just a kind reminder, when somebody is visiting or joining you on a group, please pay extra attention. Just a couple of details from each person can make the difference between good manners and being absolutely rude.
Even if we do not notice, ignoring completely this person and showing absolutely no interest, not only by not asking him/her, but by talking about highly specific topics that only relate to the group, you are being highly rude to him/her, making him/her uncomfortable and isolating him/her.
Yeah, maybe its just idle chatter, but that can be the starter for good conversations. Anyway, isn’t talking about your work with the people you do everyday usually about the same shit -may be with a different smell- even worse?
Social skills are hard, so are people, but there are some limits. Showing that you do not give a fucking shit about the visitor that your friend does care about says a lot about you and the relationship with said friend. If we did not do it on purpose, let’s be more careful next time. We can be better. Let’s do some social workout.