Alice, we’ve recently hired a new member of the team and things seem to be going pretty well, except for one area. His skill set is good, and our internal customers seem to like working with him, but he seems pretty removed from the rest of the members of our department. We are tight-knit, but very welcoming and often have lunch together. He ate with us once or twice, but lately he seems to be eating at his desk instead of being with us. What can we do about this?

Alice says: This may be simpler than you think. If you’ve already ruled out having insulted him in some way, and he participates in meetings and other interactions among department members, there may be another answer.

I suspect that when you all get together for lunch, you do it to reconnect and to share things about work and outside. Your new person may need to be alone to recharge, while the rest of you get your energy from being together. He may just need more downtime than the rest of you do. Ask him about it, using non-judgmental language, and see what he says!