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Mallory Ortberg, aka Dear Prudence, is online weekly to chat live with readers. (Sign up below to get Dear Prudence delivered to your inbox each week. Husband’s being awful: I’m sort of worried my husband is an a--hole. To me, he is sweet and thoughtful and very much the wonderful man I married. Also, many of these kids have known each other since elementary school, so that makes me feel like even more of an outsider.

In the meantime, don’t be too hard on yourself for being quiet during lunch.

Look for opportunities to join the conversation by asking someone a follow-up question if they talk about something that interests you.

Are you afraid that they let you sit with them at lunch because they’re polite, but fear a repeat of what happened with your last social circle?

Your next move should depend on where your particular anxiety is located.

If you get the chance to talk to someone one-on-one and feel more confident speaking up there, you should do it.

You’ve had a nasty experience that shook your confidence, but I think you can trust that these kids are having lunch with you because they enjoy your company, even if you’re not the loudest member of the group. Sister stress: My younger sister went into the nonprofit sector while I went into the private sector.

This feeling exists, and does not require anything of me, other than to feel it fully and let it eventually pass.” If that means every now and again you need to leave an event a little early, or make sure that you don’t put yourself repeatedly in a situation that causes you pain, that’s fine.

Don’t beat yourself up for liking someone, give yourself whatever space you need, and enjoy her company to whatever extent you feel capable of handling. I am not an animal, don’t pet me: My husband of 10 years has gotten increasingly touchy-feely with me.

Our conversations revolve around the tales of woe my sister encounters every day and the injustices she fights. If I bring up anything in my life—my home renovations, my trips, office politics—my sister cuts me off. In our last conversation I talked about shows on Netflix, and my sister told me she wished she had free time to watch Netflix, but she was too busy trying to get funding for homeless orphans. I fear she is burning out, and I am afraid to catch fire. Maybe because we are safe to vent at, but I have been losing sleep after speaking to my sister.

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