GOOD SAMARITAN: No one eats alone at this table

By Connie Garcia-Ball, MA. LPC

Picture yourself walking into a lunchroom full of people talking and laughing. Imagine not knowing anyone and feeling a bit shy about having to sit at a table with others you do not know. Then a person walks over to your isolated table, sits down beside you, smiles, introduces him or herself, and proceeds to ask you how your day is going.

We would all like to feel valued and respected when interacting with people. Making friends, connecting with others, and suffering from social anxiety can be the toughest roadblocks to the youth population today. Let’s face it, we all want to feel included and establish connections with others as our human nature intended us to.

During every third Friday of February, the mission of National No One Eats Alone Day is practiced. The significance of this day symbolizes youth social inclusion, increasing a sense of belonging, and reducing social isolation during lunchtime. We also celebrate this day to honor a 15-year-old girl who was frequently socially isolated and unfortunately passed away from her struggle with a facial syndrome. Most importantly, this day can show young people how significantly positive it can be to brighten someone’s day by sitting with them, socializing, and increasing social acceptance.

Some things that you can do to spread awareness and improve social acceptance include:

Inviting people, you do not normally talk to, to join your table before lunch and/or making room for others who are looking for a seat or are walking around alone.

Using icebreaker topics to get to know a person such as asking about interests, sharing a funny story, or offering a compliment to lift their spirit.

Spreading awareness about this day through researching more about this mission, talking to people at school, work, or posting about it on social media.

Whether you are extroverted or introverted, we all, as human beings deserve and want to establish some kind of social connection with people in our lives. Tapping into our compassion, thinking about doing one nice gesture to others we see struggling, or just simply observing what is negatively going on around us can be critical to changing the life of someone. Also, you never know how easy it could be to make a genuine connection with someone that could turn into a lasting friendship just by your effort in initiating a conversation!

If we can be of assistance, feel free to contact Samaritan Counseling Center at 432-563-4144.