No one talks to me at my husband’s work conferences


Dear Miss Manners: I sometimes find myself at an event where no one wants to talk to me.

My husband is a scientist, and at his conferences and other work events, the other guests are usually only interested in talking to fellow scientists in their field. I was once sitting at a table in a bar, and the woman sitting next to me turned in her chair so that her back was to me and her front was to the person on the other side.

I understand that these people may have traveled a considerable distance and just want to gossip with their colleagues. But what can I do? I feel uncomfortable sitting by myself while the party goes on around me. I usually check my phone. Can I bring a book? Should I learn to knit, like the faculty wives in Miss Pym’s books?

I don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun by forcing them to talk to me. I avoid these situations when I can, but it’s not always possible.

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