Dear CC: Everyone from work eats lunch together, while I prefer eating alone. Am I making a professional mistake by not bonding with them?

Tricky. You don't want to seem aloof, but if you join them a few times but not always, is that worse? Not if you take a direct approach: "I really enjoy hanging out with you guys, but sometimes I just like to have a quick sandwich and catch up on paperwork. I hope you don't mind." Bring a dozen Krispy Kremes your first time, and you'll be golden for months.

Got a workplace worry? E-mail cubiclecoach@marieclaire.com with your thorny career questions.

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