He Said-She Said: Living in a Married World
- Thursday, April 28, 2011
EDITOR'S NOTE: Each He Said-She Said column features a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to He Said-She Said (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: I work with two other women in my department: my boss and a co-worker. Of course, both are married with young children and I am single, never married, no kids. It seems like all they ever talk about are their kids, their husbands, what their kids did this weekend, how their husbands get on their nerves, etc., etc. I really believe that my co-worker enjoys the fact that she has all this in common with my boss, and I don't. So, I sit there not being able to join in on most of the conversations, and I am really starting to feel like a social outcast and reject. Is there a way that I can properly deal with this, so that I am not so upset all the time by it?
HE SAID: In many ways, it seems as if we do live in a married world, even though there are 96 million singles in the United States (comprised of those at least 18 years old, never been married, divorced or widowed), which is 43 percent of the population according to the Census Bureau. Approximately 61 percent of those have never “walked down the aisle,” totaling nearly 60 million people. It would be a stretch to place singles as a whole into a social outcast status, but maybe we can receive a minority classification.
Nevertheless, having been single since the pre-cell phone days, I do empathize with you. Most of us spend the better part of our day at work in a situation which, if not conducive, has the tendency to affect the rest of our lives. I have to ask though, if you don’t share all of those commonalities with your co-workers, do you really want to take part in their “venting session”?
Here is my honest take on the situation.
First of all, your co-worker probably does enjoy having many things in common with your boss—wouldn’t you in that position? Whether she is trying to “stick it” to you or not, there’s not a lot you can do (i.e. confront her, talk to your boss, etc.) without it becoming a bigger deal in your office and alienating you even more.
You’re at work, so just work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world (John 9:5).
When I encounter times at work where I don’t feel part of a social conversation or don’t have anything constructive to offer, I usually bow out and do what I am being paid to do. If you utilize those opportunities where your boss and co-worker are sitting around socializing, and spend it working (with excellence) rather than trying to “fit in” to their world, what is the worst thing that will happen, your co-worker will say, “Look at her, all she does is work”? That won’t score any points or make her look any better.
You will seldom be scrutinized by your superiors for working too hard, and it will clearly separate you from your co-worker even if they do have a lot in common. Don’t feel as if you have to be like them to succeed.
Outside of work, expand your horizons.
I have come so they can have life. I want them to have it in the fullest possible way (John 10:10).
Instead of trying to blend into their world, establish your own. If you arrive each morning from having “experienced” your single life in the fullest possible way, others will want to hear about it, because they aren’t doing it.
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