February 10, 2018 I’M STUCK SITTING NEXT TO SOMEONE REALLY ANNOYING! Hey Brandon! At my school, we have assigned seats during lunchtime and I’m forced to sit next to this girl who drives me NUTS! She’s loud, rude, and totally obnoxious. How do I make her stop so that I can eat in peace?! Lousy Lunch Hey Lousy Lunch, Wow. Your school has assigned seating for LUNCH? I mean, I assume it MUST. Because otherwise I’d just tell you not to sit by her! But since you HAVE to sit by her (which is a bummer), I think the main thing to address is this: How do I make her stop so that I can eat in peace?! Short answer: You can’t. I mean, the thing is you can’t ever force someone to change his or her behavior. You can only change YOUR reaction to it. She is who she is. But here are a few things that might help you deal with it: HEADPHONES: I mean, it’s a little anti-social, but if she bugs you enough, you could put on headphones and listen to music or an audiobook, or even just noise-cancelling white noise. COMPASSION: Ask yourself WHY she is how she is. Is she always like that or is it when she’s just at lunch? Does she have something like ADHD that might be a part of her behavior? If she does, it might be somewhat out of her control. Just be aware of stuff like that. TRY TALKING TO OTHER PEOPLE: Make conversation with the other people you sit around. Don’t IGNORE this girl, exactly, but try not to let her antics ruin your lunch. Smile and nod at whatever she’s doing, and then go back to your calmer conversation with other kids around you. TRY TALKING TO HER: This is kind of the opposite of what I said before, but it sounds like she wants attention. And sometimes our natural reaction to someone who wants attention is to NOT give it to them. Like, we don’t want their attention-hogging behavior to pay off for them. Except…if they want attention, it’s probably because they’re missing it somewhere else in their life. So maybe before she gets too crazy, you could ask her genuine questions about her life or her opinion on stuff. Get her TALKING before she feels the need to balance a lunch tray on her head or something. BREATHE: I mean, duh. Please breathe, or you’ll die. But especially when you’re feeling super annoyed, doing slow, calming breath exercises can be surprisingly helpful. AND HANG IN THERE: It’s not forever. It’s super annoying, but it WILL end. Think of it as character building. You’re going to be soooo patient after surviving this! 🙂 If none of these things work and this is just a really impossible situation, you could consider talking to your teacher, lunchroom monitor or whoever’s in charge of the seating assignments. Talk to them about the steps you’ve taken, and ask if you can be moved. I mean, hopefully you won’t be told “no,” but be prepared just in case you are. In these situations, it seems like teachers usually tell us to work it out or learn to live with it. They think they’re preparing us for later in life when we have annoying co-workers, roommates or whatever. But if they say yes, you should also be prepared to explain why you moved, especially since the girl you’re trying to move from might wonder what happened. You’ll probably hurt her feelings if you say, “I asked to be moved because you’re an annoying wacko!” So maybe have a kinder reason prepared, like “I just wanted somewhere different to sit.” I hope these suggestions help! Hey readers, how do YOU handle a super annoying person you’re forced to interact with?