bookish: Lunchtime reading

Do you remember that Gilmore Girls episode where Rory is branded as a loner at Chilton because she prefers to read and listen to music on her lunch break? Well, I think I’m in the slightly more grownup equivalent of that situation.

There is no secret sorority, and there is no nighttime traipsing through school in my pyjamas but, I believe my lunchtime reading habit makes me seem rude and antisocial towards my colleagues. They are very nice and I get along just fine with them but we are most certainly not friends so come lunchtime I much prefer to eat while reading my book instead of going for lunch with them.

Just typing the above sentence has me a bit worried that I’m simply trying to pass antisocial tendencies as something else… But, in my defense, I have on occasion accepted lunch invitations from colleagues and, to be honest, I found it rather boring as we don’t have very much in common. So why should I spend my break being bored when I could be reading? Please, please say that you can relate to this even a little bit!

I’m beginning to feel that my reluctance to have my lunch with others and my occasional declining of lunch invitations is making people think I’m weird/a loner/rude. This is frustrating because I don’t think I am any of those things and also because I suspect that if I chose to do something else on my break, like go to the gym or, I don’t know, shop, people would accept it easier. ( Disclosure: I haven’t actually tested this theory.) Surely, reading shouldn’t have any antisocial associations?

I’m not saying that I always choose reading over actual human interaction on my break; I do arrange to meet a good friend who works nearby for lunch about once a week and, of course, on those days I am thrilled to have a nice chat instead of reading over lunch. However if it’s bland conversation with mere acquaintances then, I’m not sure I see a reason for sacrificing my reading time… Apart from the not being the least popular person at work, which is something to think about for sure…

So tell me, do you read on your lunch break? Do you think it makes you look unsociable? Does it sometimes feel like people view you as a loner because of reading? I really hope I’m not alone in this!

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9 thoughts on “bookish: Lunchtime reading

  1. lipsyy says:

    Ha I feel EXACTLY the same…and was actually thinking about posting something similar – you beat me to it! I’m pretty sure my colleages (most of whom I get on with) think I’m strange more than anything. They don’t seem to understand why I won’t sit with them at lunch (we have a common room) and watch TV. I’ve told them so many times that we stare at a computer all day…why would I want to sit in front another screen at lunch? But they seem to take it personally for some reason. I tried sitting with them but reading, but then they won’t stop asking me things knowing that It’ll annoy me so

  2. lipsyy says:

    …I gave up on that and now I just read at my desk or go and sit outside. I’ve decided I don’t care if they think I’m rude or weird, I know I’m not doing it to be rude and that’s all that counts! πŸ™‚

    • bookworm says:

      Ah great minds think alike! πŸ˜‰
      The weather has been lovely here so I’ve been having my lunch outside and it’s so nice to read and soak up the sunshine for an hour! I just don’t like it that this might be perceived as an insult or as rude behaviour. But oh well, I don’t mind it enough to give up my reading time!

  3. Trish says:

    Yes, I do prefer to read on my lunch break. Or even just read blogs! I never ever eat with my coworkers–they tend to gossip and I don’t want to spend my hour being privy to that. The way that I look at it is my hour is sometimes the only free time I have during the day. I get up in the morning and drive immediately to work. Work work work, have lunch, work work work, pick up my daughter, prep/eat dinner, bedtime for Elle, and then finally I have time with my husband. And sometimes I choose to read rather than spend time with him but that DOES make me feel antisocial. πŸ˜‰ So, lunch hour it is.

    If your coworkers are giving you a difficult time, maybe approach it in a way that makes it clear that you need a mental break and just need to relax with a book? I venture to guess you’re an introvert? As such I find social lunches exhausting! Fun every now and then but generally I just want to be alone with my thoughts.

    Also–you make an excellent point about working out or shopping. Funny how books tend to get such a nasty reputation from non-readers!

    • bookworm says:

      I’m so glad others relate to this! I think of my lunch break as my free time to do something I like too. Although, once when I told a colleague I just wanted to read and he said “But don’t you read on the train home?” as if there’s a maximum time of reading one should get done in a day…

  4. Roberta says:

    Hi Maria I’ve been reading your blog for a while but this is the first time I write… I’m lucky enough that I go home (my mother’s home) for lunch but if I were to spend the lunch hour at work I would certainly try to read, even if maybe not everyday since I like my coworkers and some of them can qualify as friends to a certain extent, even if we don’t see each other out of work. Anyway it seems to me that reading is always seen by other people as something you could always do some other time, or that you are doing just to waste time so if someone approaches you, you should be happy and let it go. I don’t know the reason and I am not happy about this. Sometimes even my boyfriend seems to think that even if I am reading he can ask me something every two minutes, call me to see or do something in another room, etc. I agree with you that if you were to decline invitations to go shopping or to the gym your colleagues would probably be much more understanding. Maybe you could try and let us know! πŸ™‚ I think every hour of our day is important and we should always try to have quality time and never ask forgiveness for this. I have stopped trying to make people happy, no matter how hard I try there is always someone complaining. If you received criticism from your family or close friends, it would be worth some thinking, but since this is not the case, if I were you, I wouldn’t waste my time worrying about what your coworkers think about your choices, you just do what you like and be happy! Sorry for the long comment and for my english (it is a ‘passive’ language for meC!)

    Roberta (from Italy)

    • bookworm says:

      Hey Roberta, thank you so much for your comment!
      You are exactly right, free time every day is so limited and precious, why not spend it doing something you enjoy?
      Of course, I love spending time with my friends and family, it’s not like my reading is ‘a problem’, it’s just these work acquaintances (who are obviously not readers) who seem to think that I’m being antisocial. But I do have the impulse to try and make other people happy, which is something I’m working on. And I guess, in this case, I don’t really care about what they think enough to change my lunchtime habits.
      It’s such a shame reading is viewed as something that one can/should put off doing more than any other hobby.

  5. beckyday6 says:

    Ohhh I love that episode of Gilmore Girls and I love Rory’s reading habits. πŸ˜€ I’m not technically employed so I don’t get lunch breaks, but if I was I would use them to read! When I was younger I used to grab for my book when I was sitting in class just so I could get five minutes of reading time in before the teacher turned up, lol.

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