Only non-Spanish speaker: alone in a crowd at work?

So I started a job a month and a half ago, and I’m really struggling to connect with my coworkers. All of them speak Spanish and I only speak English. I have tried to jokingly say I will need to learn Spanish to get in on the office gossip, I’ve tried to use the minimal amount of Spanish I know to participate when they are talking, but no matter what I try they are constantly having conversations and laughing with each other in Spanish either next to me or even across me and it leaves me surrounded by people and yet completely alone. I try to start conversations in English and they go for a few minutes then it’s right back to Spanish. Everyone at the office speaks wonderful English when they choose to. I’m not trying to say I only want them to speak English or any of that ‘Mercia  crap, I genuinely just want to bond with my coworkers and don’t know how. As a cis white female I don’t know how to let them know how lonely it makes me feel. It’s not my place to tell them what language to speak. I already struggle with depression and now it’s like I wake up alone, I’m alone for 9 hours at work and then I go home to be alone. I love the job, but I need some interaction. I don’t know what to do. 

Update:

Update I work in the medical field in Potomac MD. It’s not only another language but it has medical jargon too. 

I really tried to engage with all of them. I’ve tried to take an active interest in them. How their weekend was, how the parent teacher meeting went for their kid, or how the new puppy’s crate training is going etc. Those convos just end so fast, then there’s the rest of the 9 hour shift. 

 By the time I can finally speak Spanish at their level we’ll all be working somewhere else. 

11 Answers

Relevance
  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    No, I'm not the "only non-Spanish speaker: alone in a crowd at work."  Learn the definition of the word "question."

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Pi
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    I think that many Spanish speakers do that, which is rude imho, to bolster their self esteem and mock non Spanish speakers in the workplace.

    I used to manage huge operations where many of the employees were Spanish speakers along side non Spanish speakers and I had a policy of English only at the workplace because this is the US and not some other country whose native tongue is Spanish.

    I am fluent in Spanish, in fact my Spanish is way beyond regional dialects and had zero tolerance for such practices.

    It is rude, inconsiderate and foments divisions among non speakers and native English citizens and it took about a year and a half but they eventually came around to complying with the policy since their jobs were at stake.

    Then an interesting thing began happening, like Spanish speakers became more fluent in English and thereby able to apply for work in other industries so yeah, no regrets or any love lost but increased productivity engaging everyone at the various tasks at hand.

    • you are racist, I work for years at a company down in Mexico with americans not only they were not told to speak spanish they were not even forced to learn the language, so idk why racist people like you want spanish speakers to forget about their own language

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Try using sign language first. After listening to them for a while, you'll pick up their language. Then you'll be able to converse with them.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • 1 month ago

    I had to look up the meaning of "cis white female" I thought you were transgender or travesty or something like that.

    You seem like a nice person, I'm sorry you're experiencing all that..I don't think hispanics should use spanish at the workplace unless they are dealing with customers who only speak spanish.

    May I ask where you live? judging by your work environment I would guess that you live in Miami where most hispanics are cuban or puerto rican..If that's the case then I think you would have a hard time learning their spanish....such spanish versions are hard to understand even for other spanish speakers.

    You're a very respectful and kind person...I have watched lots of video on youtube of people who harass Hispanics for speaking Spanish in public places.

    God bless you.

  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Take classes and keep on trying to learn, practice your improving vocabulary outside 

    of work. Spanish is my third language, yet speak it with more enthusiasm than many 

    coworkers who grew up with it.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    I am a native Spanish speaker, so maybe you won't be interested in my answer. 

    Why don't you try to speak to them? You could speak with one or two of your coworkers (the ones you feel closer to or get along better) and explain your feelings to them. If you don't say a single word, they will never guess how sad and lonely you feel. I would immediately change my attitude if you told me that you don't feel at ease or you feel isolated. 

    Show them (and tell them) that you want to bond with them! Everyone needs some time to get to know people and make friends, but how could you do that if you don't share time and do activities with them? Don't give up, though. Try to do a course or something to improve your Spanish. You could also ask them to help you with that, too. Showing interest in learning their language and culture can help a lot.

    ¡Ánimo y buena suerte! 😜

    • ...Show all comments
    • Anonymous1 month agoReport

      I value the opportunity to be a part of the team. I don’t want to get in the way of the relationships they have built with each other. At the same time it feels extra difficult to establish a good bond with them when I can’t communicate during the team bonding of “shooting the ****”. It’s lonely. 

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    As a cisgender white female??? 

    Is this language shunning connected to gender assignment? 

    What exactly is your job? 

    @Anon

    You're speaking from a privileged perspective?

    You are a trained medical professional.

    Give the best service to your patients as is possible.

    That is your job.

    If your Spanish speaking co-workers can't do their jobs safely, including communicating in English, then report them.

    If they won't chat with you in English on your break, then ignore them. 

    Your co-workers sound like a problem.

    If you're in a predominantly Spanish speaking area, and the patients are Spanish speakers, then you should move to an English speaking facility.

    Not understanding or misunderstanding patients could have a bad outcome

    Regarding your update about "medical jargon", you need to learn that ASAP!

    Be safe.

    Be wise.

    • Anonymous1 month agoReport

      I work in medicine. All I meant is I’m speaking from a privileged perspective so I can see I need to be extra careful not to sound offensive. There will be things I think are ok to say which arn’t and I may not know that or the way in which I say something may be taken differently than I mean it

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Gloria
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    I feel bad for you because it's not your fault white America looks down on Hispanics and people of color.  Maybe you should start looking for another job where the people are friendlier and not so bigoted.

    • ...Show all comments
    • M.
      Lv 7
      4 weeks agoReport

      Perhaps YOU don't understand how Hispanics outside of your family and your area ACT! 

      Here you are attacking ME when you know nothing about me.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    🥴 Not going to happen.

    Been there. Done that. You're not going to connect with anyone unless you have something in common with them.

    Not your fault. Been around non English speakers forever. The only way they connect with you is if either of you need something regarding work.

    Keep it that way. Eventually, you pick up on what their conversations are about anyway. Boring.

    I actually used to mesh well with foreigners. But it's because we had things in common. For one, they think American borns are lazy and incompetent. I was raised the way the foreigners were despite being American born.

    Word to the wise, you're wasting your time. Stick to meddling with American English speakers.

    • ...Show all comments
    • Lv 5
      1 month agoReport

      But good luck. ;-) You're young. When you have 20 years of work experience working with different races and nationalities? You'll understand what I'm telling you.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
  • IOM
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Obviously you have two choices:

    1. Learn Spanish

    2. Get a new job

    Up to you. Best wishes. 🙂

    BTW, IMHO option 1 is preferable because America is rapidly becoming a bilingual country.

    • Commenter avatarLog in to reply to the answers
Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.