A: People in a circle tend to face inward. Either your co-workers have their heads wedged so far in their associative habits that your friendly overtures haven't registered, or they simply aren't interested in expanding their flock. Being generally cheerful, helpful and willing to make occasional coffee runs may help people warm to you — but when you're repeatedly rebuffed, even politely, it's best to back off and focus on forming one-on-one bonds. In the meantime, make your own lunchtime plans with actual friends. Seeing a familiar face in the middle of a lonely day can be a lifesaver.
Karla L. Miller writes an advice column on navigating the modern workplace. Each week she will answer one or two questions from readers. Miller has written for and edited tax publications for 16 years, most recently for the accounting firm KPMG's Washington National Tax office. You can find her on Twitter, @KarlaAtWork.