We've all experienced it at one point in our lives—that crippling walk to the lunch room where after intensely scoping out the layout against the back wall, you don’t recognize one familiar face to rely on. The outcome for the rest of your school year may very well depend on who you sit with at lunch, so when you don’t see any of your friends—you panic! But before you go running off to spend your lunch period in the bathroom, take a look at the following 5 tips to make finding your lunch table a stress-free experience.
- You're not alone – First off, breathe! Whether you're a new student or a hometown veteran, the first day of school will always bring out the worst case of nerves, especially when choosing who to sit with at lunch. But while you might be dreading for the lunch bell to ring, so are the majority of your classmates.
- Ask around - It never hurts to check with friends or with fellow peers beforehand to see what lunch they're in. Play it casual though, you don't want to turn an innocent question into some crazed obsession.
- Find your niche - You might be desperate enough to sit with the first table of people you stumble into, but take a look around and evaluate the lunchroom. If you have options, then make a quick assumption of which table you'd most likely fit into personality-wise. You might end up sitting with these people for the rest of the school year, so is this a group you'd be happy to hang out with?
- Take the initiative - As much as we'd like for someone to invite us to their table before getting to the lunch room, it just ain't realistic. All you need is one friendly face for you to approach and ask, “Mind if I sit here?” The percentage of somebody actually saying no is so low that it's worth taking a shot. And if they were cruel enough to say no, then you don’t want them as a friend anyways.
- Reservations for one - Even if you tried all the above and still find yourself pulling up a chair to an empty table, remember this—nobody likes seeing anyone sitting by themselves (at any age). If you look distressed (which you probably can't help), there will be at least one kind soul in that lunchroom inviting you to join them.
By following these tips, you will undoubtedly learn a few things about yourself thanks to the lunch table scavenger you are. You’re self-reliant, confident, and a pro at controlling your anxiety and remaining calm under pressure—valuable personality traits that will take you far in life. But for now, look on the bright side by opening up to the possibility of meeting a new group of awesome friends.