“You can’t sit with us!”

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October 6, 2016 by unclespike218

Ah, the cafeteria. Such a(n anti-)socially formative place. 

Our story begins in 8th grade, as I transferred from a comfortable school to a horrific yuppie training facility. I quickly learned where I stood on the totem pole of social acceptability. Right at the bottom…with the nerds and the disturbed kids. Oh, and the two black twins, who were far too busy enjoying life and having fun to care what others thought of them. (I think there was a life lesson in there somewhere that I missed. That year, at least.) Anyhow, it was mainly the nerds and geeks I hung with…we four guys who were the misfits. There was the square-rimmed glasses-wearing, brace-faced awkward and overly-tall geek, the chubby, overly-eager-to-get-to-know-you geek, the token metalhead nerd, and me, the overly-sensitive skinny academic nerd. Yet we still were able to have fun…we even headed up for a weekend of skiing all together at the chubby guy’s condo near Keystone, I think. Which, for guys like us, was pretty impressive. We never went to parties or anything…never invited. But we still hung together, and had our place at the cafeteria, apart from the popular kids.

Then came high school, and I transferred away from the prep school to a public school much more my speed. There were times I’d sit at the cafeteria on my own and eat alone, but as the years went by, those occasions were less frequent. I was able to find friends – even seniors as a freshman! – with whom I could get together and snarf down a pleasant lunch and bitch about my freakish history teacher or the insane schedule I had chosen. All was good, usually. By the time senior year rolled around, I had my group of friends…the ones I could reliably hang with, even in the cafeteria or (more often, since my school was an open campus and we all could drive) other restaurants around town. But I was very seldom alone, almost always socially secure, and my social future looked pretty bright.

Well. Oops. That all hit the fan when I went away to college. I sat alone. Period. Almost always. I could not relate to people around me. All that social awkwardness that I had shoved away for the previous three or four years came back. And since that time, I’ve remained the type of guy to eat lunch alone. May have a lot to do with why I struggle in building my business, perhaps.)

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