With the constant din of call takers and managers, I value my reading time so that I may have a respite and some peace. I do have friends at work and consider myself social, but I’d rather spend my break constructively as opposed to discussing office gossip. How do I politely deflect my co-workers and not seem anti-social? — Bookish and Annoyed
DEAR BOOK: Like you, I try to read when it’s possible, even when I’m not at home. In your case, where you know these people, it’s a little sticky. Amazing, isn’t it, that people see someone reading a book and then sit down and start talking? This just tells you that some people are so dense that light bends around them.
What you should say, in a friendly way, the next time this happens, is something like, “I hope you’ll excuse me. I’m using my break to relax, and I do it by reading.” — Margo, restoratively
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter.