Hey Everyone!

We wanted to share with you a letter that beamed us all back to those tough days in high school and how hard it can be to be the new kid on the block.  We thought this topic of discussion was the perfect way to launch our new, (but temporary until the site launches) GBD forum…BUT unfortunately it is still in the works :)…tee hee!  But we felt this topic could not wait!  Check out the letter below;
Dear Kristin and Kendra,
Hi! I’m 16 years old, entering 11th grade/Year 12.  My family and I moved to Shanghai nearly 3 years ago, and next week I’m going to be starting at a new school.  I’m a foreigner in China, so I go to an international school.  I’m really nervous.
I know this probably sounds very small and trivial, but one of the things that worry me most is the whole “lunch table” drama.  About 15 minutes ago, I started Googling “teen lunch table problem seating advice” and when like NO useful advice came up I suddenly remembered, hey, maybe Girls By Design can help me!  So, here I am.  🙂
My new school is really big, I don’t know anyone there, and everyone else will have their own group to sit with at lunch.  Do I just sit by myself for a week or two, until I get to know people better and get a better feel of my environment?  Or do I just pick a table and ask to sit with them?  But if I did that would people find it intrusive?  It’s just all so intimidating…I don’t know what I should do.  Could you please give me some advice?  Thanks!  😀

Well Ladies can you we give this gal some ideas? or Share your stories 🙂



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24 Responses to “LUNCH TABLE DRAMA!”

  1. Emma Says:

    Kendra, my advice to this member is: Don’t try too hard on the 1st day of her new school in Shanghai. It can be very intimidating going up to a bunch of new people, and besides that, how can you really tell who you’ll ‘click’ with in the beginning. My advice, from personal experience, is for her to sit and eat alone without even trying to interact with anyone, because it’s been proven that at least 1/2 other scholars will be intrigued by the new person, and will want to come meet her and introduce her to their own lunch group, don’t you think?? xx have a lovely day ladies!

  2. Emmy Says:

    Is she transferring from the international school to another international school, or to a school in her home country? I think this makes a difference because I’ve been to both, and I’ve found that the dynamics were different, in my case.

  3. Emmy Says:

    P.S. I went from an international school in Beijing to an American public school in the Midwest.

  4. Nina Says:

    I just can agree to Emma (btw I love your name 😉 ). Don’t try to hard to find new people! A new school and a new start are always intimidating and exciting! Everyone knows it! Also the kids in school with you! Just give it a chance and wait! Who knows, maybe you “click” with someone in your first class… or on the hall way! And if not – don’t worry! You’ll find new friends! Promise! And at lunch time – if you don’t find anyone you take to, just eat alone! The others will be curious about you, too – just like you are curious about them! They will come! Just don’t be afraid of your first school day! Noone can prognoses what will happen!
    That’s all I have to say 🙂 Have a great one, ladies!

  5. Lola Says:

    This is my advice for you, Shangai girl 😉
    You have to understand that you’re not the only one afraid of not finding a familiar face in that school.
    At the beginning, you’ll find other girls who look around, who are shy or who don’t know where to sit or look.. You are NOT the only one in that position..
    When you enter the school for the first time in a few days or weeks, just remember you CAN do it and that you are not the only one who’s afraid of it..
    We humans all SHARE THE SAME INSECURITIES =) “where to sit? who to talk to? what to say now? if i say that, is it appropriate?” and so on..
    You’re strong girl! And we are there behind you, to support you, all the young girls (and less young) of the world 😉

  6. Lydia Says:

    I’m sure girls will come up to you when they notice you’re sitting alone. And maybe some of your class mates will invite you to join them, if it’s not already the first day, it won’t take long.

    Be yourself. I believe in you, you can do this.
    And, as Lola said, you are not the only one, I think that your positive attitude might even encourage other girls to just be themselves.

    Go for it!
    I wish you a good school year.

  7. skahahoo Says:

    lol…”Shanghai girl”…I like it. 😉

    Anyway, I agree with what has been said…just from a practical perspective, if your school is that big, and it’s an international school, then chances are there are probably a bunch of other kids in the same situation, and maybe you’ll all naturally gravitate towards each other. lol. That’s what happened with me.

    When I started high school, I was also new (9th grade). But I was fortunate enough to experience what is apparently school bus drama before lunch table drama. lol. (But really…there was no drama. 🙂 ) Anyway, my high school was in the suburbs, so almost everyone knew each other before high school because they went to junior high together. So when I got on the bus, almost everyone was paired up. Except for this one girl, who was just minding her own business, staring out the window. And then I came along and plopped down next to her and said, “Hi” and we got to talking and it turns out that she was new too (thus the empty spot next to her). It also turned out that we had a lot of the same classes together because we were both new. And luckily for me, she was a solid person, and we became good friends.

    What was working in my favor was that I’m generally pretty oblivious when it comes to these types of social dynamics. It’s not until people bring up the issue that I realize there even is an issue. So, I think because I was so oblivious, I wasn’t too nervous and I wasn’t trying too hard to fit in. To me, it was just school and I was in the middle of getting over the tragedy of vacation ending. lol. I was having a hard enough time trying to find my classes and the bathrooms. 😀

    Don’t worry too much about it Shanghai girl. In a school that big, you’re sure to find your place eventually. Whatever you do, don’t make friends with just ANYone just to fit in. You’ve got to surround yourself with people who have your best interests at heart and respect you for who you are. 🙂

  8. Jennifer Says:

    This subject brings back memories.If I were in your shoes and I have been I would sit alone for the first day or so. Hopefully you will find some nice girls that see you sitting alone and come sit at your table. If not maybe there will be someone in the same shoes as you and you could go sit at their table. Good Luck with your new school year. I hope you make lots of friends.

  9. Denise Says:

    hmm.. well in 11th grade i was in the same school, but in a different lunch period then my friends. I pretty much just sat in the cornor with the people I looked like I would fit in with. Then i skipped lunch for 4 days got in trouble and just said ” whatever they are just classmates” and found a table and sat there, a few days later they talked to me, shared their conversations with me and asked my opinion on things. So, just be brave, go to lunch and sit wherever you like, be friendly ask if anyone is sitting in your spot, if they arent friendly back pick another table. High school is tough, i wish you luck girl 😉

  10. Arelis Says:

    Ahhh, this reminds me when I first moved to Central Florida for my junior year of high school after living in South Florida most of my life!

    First day at a new school can be very scary and exciting all mixed into one! I’m normally am excited when I go to a new place with new people, because it’s always a fresh start and things are always so different and new!

    Lucky for me, on my first day in the lunch room I was approach by a group of girls, two which rode the same bus as myself that morning, whom I exchanged a few words with at the bus stop… 🙂

    I was lucky that day… and I have faith you will be too!

    My piece of advice is, just be a bit outgoing with the new people you meet that day and I’m sure they’ll keep you in mind once lunch time rolls around!

    And I wouldn’t worry too much if you click with those people or not, as the year processes you’ll find the people whom you’ll truly end up becoming good friends with… I didn’t meet one of my bestest friend EVER until about a month or two into the school year! We’ve been friends ever since! 🙂

  11. Gina Says:

    That’s hard being new! But being new in a different country? That’s even harder! Well, I can’t really give good advice, since I was the ‘shy’ one in school (and still am). I just let the people go to ME and me NOT go to them. I observe people a lot (’cause I’m an artist and that’s what we do lol) and I observe them before I can make a decision about who I should befriend or not. There is always a crowd of people that you should avoid (for your own well-being).

    I know I give crappy advice, I’m sorry! 😦

  12. Kristin Says:

    being the new person sucks but i moved in my 8th grade year and i decided to sit alone and eventually people came up and started talking to me. so if you decide to wait give people like a day or 2 and they will come up to you!

  13. Kaila Says:

    I’m very introverted so my first impulse is to do what Kristin suggested, to sit alone until people come to you. But unless you are ok being on your own (I was and I still am,) it can be awkward seeing people form groups around you until that happens. And feeling left out wouldn’t really help your nervous bug at all. So I suggest try making friends with people in your classes before lunch. Hopefully there will be some group or partner activity so you can talk to people and ask if you can join them at lunch. Or if you see someone sitting alone, go up to them and ask if they mind if you sit there. And if they say no they don’t mind, hope they’re talkative so you won’t sit there in awkward silence..ha. But if you could, gain courage and start a conversation, idealistically you guys could become great friends. =) Good luck!

  14. alyssa Says:

    My advice to this girl is to befriend someone in one of her classes early on in the day. Try to become aquainted with atleast 2-3 people, have a conversation with them. When Lunch time roles around you’ll have 3 people to chose from, to sit with. I have a feeling though, that if you make friends with someone, and they know your new, you won’t even have to worry about where to sit because they will probably invite you to sit with them. Good Luck

  15. Saad48 Says:

    I agree with the majority, you start off sitting alone and eventually people will come over and start talking to you. I never had to make a change for primary or high school but this year i had to make the transition from high school to tertiary and it was intimidating because i didn’t know anyone and for lunch i sat alone and eventually people did come over, you just have to be patient.It totally sucks i know but just hang in there.
    Good luck in your final year.
    All the best

  16. MoMo Says:

    I think that if you start talking and conversing with people, maybe you can ask to sit with them or ask them where to sit. The sooner you introduce yourself the sooner you’ll find a spot.

  17. Binks Says:

    I don’t think anyone is a really big expert at this. haha Everyone feels timid and out of place in a new school. Which thank goodness I’ve only had to experience once. It’s pretty scary and overwhelming, but like all the other peeps here have said, you’re not the only one. You’re gonna need time to adjust to the new place (btw an international school seems like an awesome experience! lucky!) anywho… you can try to socialize with other students during your classes, that often helps, who knows, they might ask you to join them at lunch, eh? you could ask someone to sit at their table if you feel comfortable enough, or try finding other new students, those will be the easiest to talk to b/c they feel just the same as you since you’re all starting out. 😀
    It’s hard, so don’t get discouraged if the first day doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it too. After a few days you should be making friends and before ya know it you’ll be having fun and enjoying your new school. 😉

  18. Ashley Says:

    I swear when you guys pick topics to talk about I think you’re actually my life story. I’ve moved countless times and went to countless schools so I know what it feels like to be in a new strange envoirment. High school is like the bomb digity of any girls life there’s prom, spring flings, why do i sound like Im reviewing a movie? Anyways, lunch room isn’t a big deal as everyone makes it out to be…being new to a school opens chances for you to meet new people and does GBD for some strange reason. lol I would suggest look around for an open seat and just kindly ask them if you can seat them or if the seats open. Then once they say its alright just introduce yourself and get to know them. You never truely know what a person thinks unless you talk to them. And Im sure they wouldn’t mind. I hoped that helped.

  19. Ilana Says:

    I say take the initiative. You have nothing to lose!
    I like MoMo’s advice: “The sooner you introduce yourself the sooner you’ll find a spot.”

    I have found from my own experiences (transferring high schools and starting college) that you CANNOT expect people to come over to you. Or else you may find yourself eating alone all the time.

    If you give it your best shot, and the people don’t seem interested in befriending you, it’s their loss. Eventually you will find people that can appreciate you for who you are. Just keep at it.

  20. Emily Says:

    I would advise this: Just make it a point to talk to people in your classes before lunch. Then, when lunchtime rolls around, just look for someone you know from class and say “Hey, we have [insert class here] together. Mind if I sit with you?” If that doesn’t work out, Emma and other posters are right – that one extremely friendly person will come up to chat. Instant friends – wouldn’t it be nice? Good luck!

    Love from Arkansas!

  21. Gabby Says:

    I know this can be very tough, I’ve been through this a lot. I’ve lived in different cities in my Brazil and in three different countries.

    My advice to you is first of all be yourself. Dont try to be someone else just so you can be part of a group. This way people that really relate to you will wanna get to know you and be your friends.

    But dont worry, in all schools I’ve studied, and there’re a looot, 8 to be exact, people have approached me and offered me to sit with them at lunch.

    Also, you might feel more comfortable if you are aroud new people too. So look for people in the same or in a similar situation as you. If you’re going to an international school there will probably be new students.

    Finally, dont be afraid to let your guard down a little. It’s a human thing to judge people before you get to know them, and there are people who are going to judge you. But if you let you guard down and again show them who you really are, you will have friends in no time, to eat with you during lunch and to hang out in your free time.

  22. Shanghai girl Says:

    Hi everyone! Shanghai girl here!
    Wow! Thank you SO MUCH everyone for your great advice!!!! I’m sorry it took me so long to post here. I actually had no idea that my letter had been posted on GBD until about 5 minutes ago when I checked my email and saw an email from GBD notifying me that they’d posted my letter here! The number of replies and WONDERFUL advice you guys have written is overwhelmingly comforting. Thank you so much! Your support makes me feel so much better. And after reading all of your advice, I don’t feel so lost anymore 🙂
    Answer to Emmy’s question: I’m transferring from an international school to another international school, though my new school is a LOT bigger than my old school.
    Once again, thanks to everyone who replied. And thanks to GBD for posting my letter. 🙂 Hearing advice from so many people from different countries and points of view helps a lot! 😀

  23. Shanghai girl Says:

    Oh, and by the way, I LOVE the nickname “Shanghai girl”!!!!!!!!

  24. caitlyn Says:

    well i moved from nova scotia to alberta and what i did was just make i friend in your class and ask if you can hang out with them at lunch time =) and dont worry if people dont like you right off the bat just keep trying

    live life with love and friendship

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