07/20/2011 02:30 pm ET | Updated Sep 19, 2011

Co-Worker Conundrum: How To Deal With The Odd Man Out

Every company has one. He tries so hard to feel like part of the cool crowd, yet he still seems like the high school kid who got pantsed in gym class and ignored in every other class. Most people feel pretty sorry for “The Odd Man Out”. But no one is ever quite sorry enough to take this co-worker under their wing.

Most people assume that “The Odd Man Out” works in the IT department, but they can be found anywhere. Well, except for upper management. Even if an upper-echelon supervisor is an oddball, no one would ostracize them simply due to job security. But things have gotten easier for the tech workers. In fact, since computers have become the most important part of many businesses, IT departments everywhere have been getting some much-deserved social clout.

“The Odd Man Out” is really a creature of pity. It’s not easy to even get annoyed with someone who seems so left behind. We all remember that insecure, teenage feeling of not fitting in with our classmates. And we know that this person is still experiencing those growing pangs well into adulthood. The problem is that “The Odd Man Out” tries so hard. They push way past the point of obnoxiousness. Their extreme social deficiencies can make them actually painful to spend time with.

I realize that I sound like a serious mean girl here. I’m not trying to put this person down simply for the fun of it. Honestly, working with someone without any social experience who desperately wants acceptance presents its own set of challenges. And this column is all about dealing with co-workers. So even if we feel guilty for admitting that this species lives on past senior year, here’s how to work with “The Odd Man Out.”

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