Dear Miss LAJA,
I find it really awkward when I go for breakfast/lunch/dinner and I have absolutely no one to sit with. It’s super awkward especially when everyone has someone they’re sitting with. I don’t want to look like a loner or loser or both! Help!
Dear Lonely Eater,
Why are you freaking out like you’re getting ready for war? You need to calm down and think about this. It’s a dining hall NOT a battlefield, these are people not aliens or soldiers ready to eat/blow your brains out. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sitting alone! I actually like sitting by myself sometimes because I hate having to explain to people when/why I need to leave and vice versa. Plus I hate (yes I know, it’s a strong word) that feeling when you know your ‘table mates’ are ready to leave and you’re the one keeping them.Yeah, very uncomfortable and you feel the need to rush. Oh, and what if you want to get more food cause you’re super hungry that day? Or how about the struggle of trying to have a conversation when clearly everyone is feeling the awkward tension.You get what I mean? It’s just unnecessary pressure. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
When you sit alone, you get to do your own thing whenever and however you want. You can listen to music, catch up on Vampire Diaries, read, randomly stare at passer-bys (especially attractive ones) or eat as much as you want without worrying about ‘wasting anyone’s time’. So yes, I do like eating alone. In fact, I love it. Sitting alone doesn’t automatically mean you’re a loser or a loner. If you see me eating by myself, that doesn’t necessarily mean I have no friends. I just want to sit alone. Hold on, let’s rewind. Why am I explaining why I’m eating alone? See that’s the point, you shouldn’t have to. It’s no one’s business and it’s not weird. I doubt if your friend saw you they’d ask “Lonely Eater, why are you sitting by yourself?”. Of course they won’t because they’ll be joining you without needing an explanation. You get my drift? You owe no explanation to anyone for eating alone and your real friends won’t pick you out on it unnecessarily. It’s no big deal. This is college not high school. Ok, even if it’s high school who cares?
Mind you there will always be someone sitting alone (except it’s a party at the cafeteria and in that case you just need to squeeze into a table. Who’s gonna notice?). I don’t think people come into the cafeteria to judge who’s sitting with who and who’s the loner.
A: “Oh emm geee, look at that girl! She’s sitting alone. Such a loner!”
B:”I know right, look at that dude. He’s totally sitting with 4 other guys”
Ummm, okay… That sounds like a pathetic dinner conversation right? So it’s not that big of a deal. You’re only making it out to be one. Anyone who judges you for eating alone is dumb and probably has nothing better to do than spot people who are eating alone. Always remember that there are also people going through the same thing you are. It’s normal and it’s not weird. This is a way to learn how to get comfortable in your own skin regardless of what other people say or think. It’s not easy at first (nothing is) but with time and practice you’ll get better at it. And with time as well friends will come.
Now take that plate, fill it up with not-so-good cafeteria food and walk to your seat with your head up high. Act like you’re oh-so-busy and have no time to pay attention to the world even if you’re exploding with self-consciousness inside. Remember, when you act confident (even if you’re not feeling it), you look confident and with time, your confidence actually builds! Yeah, I know right? It’s one of those messed up mind games our brains play on us. Huh!
You’ll be fine. Believe me.