ADHD News & Research

The Anti-Clique, Anti-Bullying App That Solves a Big Daily Problem

For any child who struggles to make friends, the cafeteria can be anxiety inducing. Now, a teen who once endured middle-school bullying and lunchtime rejection has created “Sit With Us,” an app to make meeting new friends easier.

September 21, 2016

Finding and keeping friends requires a host of skills not typically associated with ADHD: staying focused on a conversation, listening without interrupting, and empathizing, just to name a few. Difficulty reading social cues and delayed social maturity can complicate the process of making friends even further.

As much as loved ones want to help them — prevent or stop the mean remarks, the rolled eyes, the bullies — when they are at school, in the cafeteria, and on the playground, our kids are on their own to face heartbreaking social challenges.

Sit With Us’ is helping to make one space at school a little safer and friendlier for children who haven’t quite found their clique. The app (free, iOS) helps lonely kids find a table in the cafeteria that will welcome newcomers with open arms. Creator Natalie Hampton, a 16-year-old from Sherman Oaks, California, sat by herself during lunch period for all of seventh grade, and found that being alone not only made her feel bad, but also singled her out as a target for bullies.

The app lets students designate themselves as “ambassadors” who invite others to join their tables. Then, other students seeking company or a safe place to sit can select a seat using only their phones — without exposing themselves to painful, public rejection. They know that when they walk up and say, “Can I sit here?” the request won’t be rejected.

And that’s enough to make any parent cry a tear of joy.