Sitting alone at third lunch


I was extremely unlucky this spring with my lunch schedule.

I had switched my fourth hour class for the second semester, which, sadly, kicked me into third period lunch away from my friends.

And, since all of my close friends were either in first or second, I was in a bit of a pickle with what to do with myself.

There were people there who I knew as acquaintances at best, but most sat with their own friend groups whom I didn’t want to bother by joining an already crowded table.

So, for most of the spring, I camped out in the school library, working on assignments or silently reading in the corner.

I’ll admit, it wasn’t awful most of the time as it was a nice break for myself during the middle of the school day despite getting quite lonely sometimes.

It gave me time to think and reflect on a lot of things, and most of all, the cafeteria environment.

I know it’s not unusual for someone to sit alone at a table at some point in their lives. I mean, we all must have done it at some point in our lives: elementary, middle, or even high school.

It’s a fundamental learning experience that teaches us to be outgoing and talk to people—that I can acknowledge.

However, in saying that, I feel like once it reaches a certain point, there are flaws we don’t often consider.

For example, there’s this stigma that if kids—mostly older kids—are sitting alone, people assume there must be something wrong with them that makes other kids not want to talk to them, kind of like an imaginary warning sign.

In reality, they are probably either too shy or new to the school.

Additionally, older kids tend to stick with the groups they’ve already formed in previous years. After all, you already have something great, so why ruin it with another kid who you don’t know joining the group, possibly offsetting the chemistry of the group?

It’s kind of ironic—if you think about it—that some of the most outgoing or extroverted students in the school are the most non-confrontational.

Because, in its essence, that’s what meeting, inviting, or talking to new people is: confrontation.

Because, in its essence, that’s what meeting, inviting, or talking to new people is: confrontation.

I won’t be an optimist here and say you can become friends with someone new if you just talk to them daily because that’s not always the case.

Everyone knows that a relationship—whether it be platonic or romantic—needs communication and commitment from both sides to be successful.

New bonds need to be formed both ways because both parties have to be interested for it to work; otherwise, it’s like talking to a brick wall.

That’s why it is so easy for students to become complacent with the groups they have instead of finding new friends throughout the year. 

And I’m ashamed of myself because I know that I have participated in this kind of thinking before, and I can really only blame myself for what has befallen me because of my past decisions.

Sadly, as I’ve watched the people around me make the same mistake, I’m saddened to see that this kind of thinking is not being recognized as bad because people only consider these things when they are forced to reconcile themselves with the truth—like me.

So, I promised myself that by the end of the year, I wouldn’t be sitting by myself in the lonesome library but instead going out and talking to people to try and form new friendships while I can.

I can tell you from personal experience now that it is a painful and often awkward process to go through with people who know nothing about; but, eventually, everything goes away, and I’ve met some extraordinary people because of that decision.

So, I implore you: if you see someone sitting by themselves, go try to invite them over to your table or go talk to them; challenge yourself, because you might live to regret it one day, like me.