DEAR JERKASS: Schoolchildren, especially middle school or high school students who may not be socially adept, often eat lunch alone because they don't know what to do when it comes to joining other kids at the lunch table. My grandson, who is on the autism spectrum, is one of them.
Classmates would be doing a great service if they said, "Hey, 'Josh.' Come sit with me." It's a small way to help others, and they could serve as examples/mentors. Kids with autism or some other challenges can learn socialization from helpful peers who are good in this arena.
It's lonely to eat lunch by yourself. Please encourage your readers to consider this. -- SOMEONE WHO CARES IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR MEDDLER: Fuck off.
Learning how to deal with awkward social situations is part of the learning curve and I'm going to tell you a little secret; many (not all) kids on the autism spectrum don't really give a fuck about other people the same way you think they should. They don't care if people like them or not, they only care about who they like.
I chose to eat alone at lunch because I hated having to choose between eating and having a conversation. I don't want to talk while I enjoy my food. I LIKE not talking while I'm eating. I don't like eating around other people. Sometimes I wear headphones that aren't plugged into anything because I don't want to have a forced and polite conversation with people I don't know or care about But apparently to someone like you that HAS to be changed because it's something YOU don't like, and if you don't like it then nobody likes it so they have to change.
Some people DON'T WANT to socialize at lunch, and it doesn't make them less of a person or lonely. There are many of us not on any kind of spectrum that just don't want to spend our whole day gabbing with people, and want to take some time to reflect and have our own thoughts.
Did you think about that? Or were you too busy being terrified because you can't stand to be alone with your own thoughts, so you projected that insecurity on others?
If someone asks you for help, or complains they have no friends, then you can offer advice.
Please consider encouraging others to throw things at you.
Judas' Advice Column
This is where I take a Dear Abby column, and add my own brand of advice. I started by calling it Dear Crabby, but that's taken and JERKASS seems more fun.