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.