And you'll soon find out it's true
And then you'll have to eat your lunch all by yourself"
When someone is eating lunch alone in a communal context (school, army, etc.), it means they are being actively shunned by everyone else, or the student is the New Kid and has not yet made any friends. It rarely ever means that they chose to eat lunch by themselves. Often, their return into the fold will be symbolized by someone else accepting to have lunch with them. Or if they keep their outcast status, having lunch with them will be a sign of independence of mind and refusing to follow the herd. Or it could be because that person has very poor hygiene for days on end.
May end up being the fate of the Alpha Bitch when her poor treatment of others comes back to haunt her.
Very much Truth in Television. There are introverts who enjoy the solitude, and even extroverts with normal social lives are known to do it for various reasons. More rarely, there are numerous anxiety disorders that can make one extremely self-conscious and uncomfortable about having others watch them eat. Another reason for it to happen is that cooking and eating are (somehow) parts of one's culture, so eating together can cause various Culture Clash.
- Bocchi the Rock!: Hitori eats alone (while hiding in a janitorial space under the stairs!) because of her crippling social anxiety.
- Kuroe Akaishi of Kaiju Girl Caramelise initially spends her lunch breaks alone because her Involuntary Shapeshifting is reliant on her emotional state — and it's harder to stay calm when interacting with other people. She's initially annoyed when popular boy Arata Minami strikes up a conversation during one such lunch, but it turns out that he also prefers to get some peace and quiet away from the throngs of classmates who typically congregate around him. Kuroe eventually starts eating lunch not just with him but also with her newly-made True Companions like Manatsu and Rairi.
- In Sailor Moon, Makoto is seen eating her absolutely delicious and abundant lunch alone since everyone fears her for her huge height and bad reputation. Then Usagi bursts in and Mako lets her have some of it.
- Ai Haibara in Case Closed claimed she was that. As a Child Prodigy, it is of course due to Intelligence Equals Isolation.
- In The Prince of Tennis, Kaidou Kaoru always eats lunch alone... to the point that the other students in his class scoot their desks away from his in order to give him a wide berth. In this case, it's not so much that he's shunned as that everyone is scared of him/creeped out by his aloof attitude. It doesn't help that he eats his mother's very high-quality traditional food in an overly reverent manner, which freaks them out.
- In the beginning of CLANNAD, Nagisa Furukawa is eating lunch alone at school because she's repeating her last year, so she doesn't know anyone in the current senior class.
- Whispered Words: Back in middle school, Kazama ended up eating alone (until Sumi suddenly joined her) after she accidentally outed herself as a lesbian to her friends.
- Justified in a tear-jerker way in Angel Beats!. Due to the system that the afterlife works in, Angel will always eat alone since being friends with her is automatic grounds to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. For all we know, she may have lived this "life" for years. Granted that this was the implication, not the truth, as the members of the of the main cast found out when they befriend her, it still takes quite a while before they're able to 'move on'. She would eat alone because the people she wanted to help were antagonistic towards her instead.
- Bleach: Uryuu Ishida does this early on, and objects to being invited by Ichigo to eat with others.
- In Umineko: When They Cry, Ange essentially eats lunch by herself every day because she is constantly shunned and bullied by the other girls at her private school. However, she uses this time to read her cousin Maria's diary, which she sees as a way of communing with her, and later learns to summon magical beings, Sakutarou and the Seven Sisters of Purgatory, to keep her company. Depending on your perspective, this is either genuine magic and a great source of happiness for the long-suffering Ange, or a truly pitiable case of someone who has to resort to deluding herself just to stay sane.
- Rei from March Comes in Like a Lion is usually eating alone on the stairwell to the roof of the school or the roof itself, since he's yet to forge any bonds with his classmates. Only Hayashida, his teacher, comes up to eat with him on occasion.
- Yuuta of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! in his middle school years, due to his All of the Other Reindeer treatment (for being a extreme case of Chuunibyou). Thus he treats Makoto's offer to eat lunch with him in the first episode as a good start.
- In the beginning of Blue Spring Ride, Yuuri ate lunch by herself outside, even in cold weather, since most of the girls in the class don't like her.
- Chihiro and Yugami, who sit next to each other, both do this in Yugami-kun ni wa Tomodachi ga Inai. In the former's case, she's a New Transfer Student that's yet to make friends, while the latter insists on invoking this trope. He's rather displeased to discover Chihiro is eating lunch beside him.
- How would this trope not be used when Haruka of Kotoura-san has a serious case of All of the Other Reindeer in the Downer Beginning? The situation actually reminds viewers of the Instant Mind-Reading Radius at the first scene of the anime.
- Gourmet Girl Graffiti:
- Implied regarding Yuki, the local Shrinking Violet. In Episode 10, she mentioned before that episode's events, she had never ate with anyone that's not her family. She's a college graduate at this point, implying this trope. In fact, Ryou sees her dividing a large pizza into 4 single meals a bit "sad." Even after she got a job as the high school librarian, she still tends to have lunch in her car.
- Shiina appears to be this when she was in Cram School, mainly because she's a quirky loner.
- In ReLIFE, Kaizaki notices Hishiro does this and tries to convince Yoake to eat with her. It doesn't work, but Hishiro does manage to become friends with Kariu and Honoka.
- No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! deals extensively with the subject of social isolation, making this a fairly common trope.
- Tomoko suffered this badly for the longest time. Because she had no friends, and her anxieties left her unable to talk to people, all of her lunches were spent eating alone surrounded by groups. This got really bad when someone once took her desk, which forced her to consider alternative places to eat, ultimately choosing to have lunch in a room reserved for storing extra chairs and desks. When that was taken away, she just settled with not eating lunch at all.
- While Kotomi is generally better off than Tomoko, she's shown resorting to eating in the bathroom when her Only Friend is absent. Because Tomoko considers this the absolute lowest thing a person can do, she can only look at her with absolute pity when she finds out, despite disliking her.
- This ends up becoming an issue for a more socially-active but mean spirited character named Koharu Minami. After she gets put into a separate class from her usual clique, she struggles to find people she can eat with for some time. She doesn't always want to always eat with her usual friends because she knows they'll make fun of her for not being able to find any other company, and her Only Friend in her current class, Mako, isn't always available. Koharu tries dining with a girl named Mike for a while, but not only does she find it awkward since the latter has a boyfriend, she's also a Lethal Chef who's always forcing her terrible cooking onto Koharu. Koharu eventually settles on hanging out with a Gamer Chick named Shiki Futaki, but the friendship she strikes with her sets off a chain of events that causes her old clique to fall apart...and the leader of it, Sachi, to start eating lunch alone herself.
- The story of The Quintessential Quintuplets kicks off with Fuutarou going off to do this, with the students murmuring about how he always eats alone, but his thoughts reveal he doesn't care one bit. However, his chance gets ruined when Itsuki picks the same table as him, forcing them to eat together when they refuse to give up the spot.
- Smax in Top 10 initially eats lunch alone by choice.
- Dead Kid Fred in The Intimates is a zombie, and is generally found repulsive by the other students at his Superhero School, forcing him to spend lunch hour effectively alone. He does have some company, but it's just Sykes, a walking vegetable who can't talk.
- Happens several times in Supergirl books:
- In Supergirl (Rebirth) the titular heroine eats lunch alone when she is transferred to her new school since everyone thinks she's a weirdo.
- In Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade: Early on, Linda eats lunch alone because she is shunned and bullied the whole time by cruel schoolmates. Later Lena joins her, but both girls are still shunned by everyone else.
- X-Men: Dust prefers to take her meals alone because as a practicing Muslim, she does not remove her face covering around men, and the X-Mansion meals are usually co-ed (she wears the full-face type). It has nothing to do with socialization as she otherwise takes part in group activities.
- Infinity Train: Blossomverse
- Chloe Cerise in Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail likes to eat lunch alone. Then, one of her classmates decides to sit next to her as an act of kindness...an act that would ultimately lead to a series of events that would take Chloe onto the Infinity Train so maybe it would've been better if Chloe was sitting alone.
- Infinity Train: Boiling Point: Willow finds Skara doing this in Chapter 6, and she decides to talk with her for a bit until she gets an idea...
- Both played straight and subverted in How to Train Your Dragon, where Hiccup first eats his food alone in the great hall, then ends up literally mobbed when he starts doing very well at dragon training.
- Happens to Riley after moving to San Francisco in Inside Out.
Mind Worker A: Okay, what abstract concept are we trying to comprehend today?Mind Worker B: Um..."Loneliness."
- The Blind Side: Except it's not lunch, but study hall: Michael always sits alone, until Collins leaves her study table to sit with him instead.
- Used twice in Mean Girls. On her first day of school, Cady Herron eats lunch alone in the restroom. Later, after her fall from popularity, she has to return to brown-bagging in the bathroom.
- Private Santiago is shown eating alone during the montage that sums up his miserable experience in the Marines in A Few Good Men.
- It doesn't seem to hurt Peter in Spider-Man.
- In Superbad there's a throwaway joke that depends on the viewer's understanding the mythos surrounding Eating Lunch Alone. Seth and Evan are eating lunch together when Evan gets up, claiming he has to leave. Seth protests, "You want me to eat lunch alone like I'm fuckin' Steven Glansberg?" and gestures to another table. We get a brief shot of a lone kid gazing into the middle distance and taking a pensive forkful of his canned peaches; then it's back to Seth and Evan, and Mr. Glansberg is never seen or heard from again.
- In Smart People, Vanessa Wetherhold (Ellen Page) eats alone during lunch. Though her outcast status seems self-inflicted, as she refers to others as stupid, often, to their face.
- The protagonist Brendan Frye eats alone, though he does it by choice.
- His friend also says that he finds lunchtime difficult, presumably for this reason.
- George McFly, in the first Back to the Future.
- Toula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding ate lunch alone as a child.
- Momoko in Kamikaze Girls is shown eating her (utterly adorable) lunch alone.
- In the Disney Channel original movie Brink, after the title character has a falling-out with his friends, he approaches them one day while they're eating lunch and says, "Can I sit here?" They all say yes... and then as soon as he sits down they get up and leave him there.
- Deb in Napoleon Dynamite, when Napoleon awkwardly compliments her. Napoleon himself would be, if not for Pedro.
- In Easy A, this happens to Olive after she's become ostracized by much of her school.
- In Welcome to the Dollhouse; a heart-breaking scene in a heart-breaking movie. This scene, where Dawn tries to find a place to sit in the school cafeteria and is rejected from every occupied table is also used in the film's trailer, because it completely encapsulates the desperate and hopeless mood of the film.
- In Pump Up the Volume , Nora uses this to identify Harry. He eats lunch alone in the stairwell.
- Warren Peace from Sky High (2005) eats lunch alone until the sidekicks start joining him. He's not happy about it.
- In Can't Buy Me Love the protagonist ends up eating lunch alone after his plans to become popular explosively fall apart when the truth is revealed.
- In The Lonely Guy Steve Martin's character, after a breakup, is uncomfortable eating alone in restaurants - until his lonely friend tells him what to do: act like you're a pretentious food critic. They'll assume you are and give you the best table, the best service, and the best food.
- In Disconnect, Ben is seen eating his lunch alone at school which underpins his status as a loner.
- Nikki, the protagonist of Dork Diaries, eats lunch alone at her new private school before she meets Chloe and Zoey.
- Ender's Game: The title character at the beginning of his military training. Significant in that commanders have their own mess hall; a new commander cannot enter until after his first victory. Typically they're greeted enthusiastically. Ender is not only the youngest and smallest: he's the only commander ever to win in the Battle Room without having first been defeated a few times. The other commanders—envious, spiteful or intimidated—pointedly withhold the congratulatory rituals.
- The title character in Ethan, Suspended eats lunch on the stairs outside the cafeteria as often as not.
- In Finding Snowflakes the main character, who suffers from No Social Skills. He usually reads to avoid mortification and insists fictional characters technically count as people.
- Rae Voight in Fingerprints looks for a different place to eat at lunchtime after her 'mental breakdown'.
- Harry Potter, at least once. Presumably, Harry would have had to do this every day at the Muggle school he attended before Hogwarts considering he was made a social pariah by Dudley's gang and their bullying.
- In Hidden Talents, everyone considers Trash to be weird due to his habit of throwing objects around the place. Because of this, nobody wants to spend time with him and he's left to eat all his meals by himself. Martin later faces the dilemma of where to sit when he falls out with his friends, and he chooses to sit with Trash rather than by himself in the hope that people will think it's some sort of joke.
- How I Survived Middle School: In Can You Get an F in Lunch?, after being subjected to a prank by some eighth graders over the cafeteria location (which makes her late to lunch and gives her former friend Addie an excuse to shut her out from her table, which is crowded with her new friends), Jenny ends up having to eat lunch on her own in the phone booth. She has lunch by herself in other locations throughout her first week (the stairwell, the library, the hall near the janitor's closet, and the phone booth again) until she befriends Chloe, who introduces her to her own friends. (She does have two other established friends she could eat with beforehand, but they don't have the same lunch period as her.)
- I Wish You All the Best: When Ben first transfers to North Wake High, they spend every lunch period in the quad, where the burnouts go to smoke, and where Ben can draw in peace. Then the art teacher, Mrs. Liu, gives Ben permission to spend lunch in the art room. Eventually they befriend Nathan, Meleika, and Sophie and start eating with them.
- Lu, the protagonist of Murderess, does this frequently, out of disdain both for the food the cafeteria serves and for her classmates, although the disdain is mutual―other students think she’s a loner freak and a black-clad basket case.
- In Protector of the Small, the male pages refuse to eat with Kel and her sponsor Neal when she first begins page training. Neal puts a positive spin on this previously unobtainable luxury known as “elbow room,” and it isn’t long before Kel starts winning boys to her side.
- The main character of the YA book Speak not only eats lunch alone, but in the bathroom.
- Tally in Uglies eats lunch alone when her operation is delayed, and later when she suspects that her friends know she's a spy.
- In the first chapter of Worm, we learn that protagonist Taylor Hebert has been eating lunch in a locked stall in the girls' bathroom for weeks to avoid a trio of bullies that have been targeting her for a year and a half. Unfortunately for Taylor, this chapter is the day the bullies find her.
- My Dark Vanessa: After Vanessa's Only Friend at public school moves away, she takes to sneaking out of school and eating lunch at a nearby diner.
- Vivy from Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! used to eat lunch in the hallway until the teacher said she wasn't allowed, so she started eating at a table with a few other kids who never talked. After she joins the Flying Squirrels, she starts sitting with the catcher Alex Carrillo.
- Where the Crawdads Sing: During her first and only day at school, Kya sits at an empty table to eat lunch. The other kids mock her for being swamp trash, and no one wants to sit with her.
- The Scholomance: The monster-infested Wizarding School is so dangerous that only the most palpably repellent unconnected 'loser' (hello El) normally risks getting stuck with a table to themselves. When a Senior year Enclaver eats lunch alone, it's only because he did something so awful — sacrificing a classmate to the Void — that even those from his own enclave would literally rather see him dead than associate with him.
- The Nowhere Girls: In her former hometown, Grace became a pariah due to her mother's newfound liberal views. Her "friends" refused to sit with her, so she ate lunch in the gym bathroom.
- Serpico is ostricized by his fellow officers after blowing the whistle on police corruption. His next captain sees him dining alone in the mess room and assumes at first he must be a police informant, until told otherwise. Fortunately he's one of the few officers who approves of Serpico's actions and makes a point of befriending him.
- Lost Voices: Before Luce is transformed into a mermaid, she always sits in the same spot in the school cafeteria, alone and with her back to everyone else.
- In Zenobia July, Zen's genderqueer friend Arli lectures her over text about the importance of educating herself so she can be a good ally to trans people, not knowing Zen is trans. The next day, Zen so dreads the idea of another lecture from Arli that she eats lunch in Siberia, as the kids call the most deserted corner of the lunchroom.
- In The Pants Project, Marion Meltzer, the only other kid in school who's as unpopular as Liv, sits by herself at lunch. On her first day of school she looks up hopefully every time someone walks past her table, but after that she gives up. Weeks into the year, Liv feels guilty that he's been so wrapped up in his own problems that he hasn't thought about Marion, so he and his new friend Jacob Arbuckle sit at her table. She hates wearing a skirt too and is happy to help out with the Pants Project.
- Gracefully Grayson: At the start of the book, sixth grader Grayson has eaten lunch in the library ever since third grade, when her best friend Emma moved to Florida.
- In Selfie, Eliza eats lunch alone, standing up over a trashcan. She says its better for digestion. At the end of the episode, Henry buys her a trashcan of her for his office so they can be near one another at lunch. She explains the digestion thing was a lie and that no one wanted to sit with her at lunch in school, so now she's just used to it.
- Battlestar Galactica:
- When Gaeta is suspected of having collaborated with the Cylons on New Caprica, he eats alone in the mess hall.
- Happens to Starbuck as well around the same period, not because she was hated but her captivity in New Caprica had left her bitter and anti-social. She finds company with the equally bitter and traumatised Saul Tigh.
- In one episode of Full House, D.J.'s first lunch period in high junior high is spent in the phone booth, eating lunch while listening to time and temperature, after she is snubbed by some older girls.
- In Misfits, Simon eats by himself until Alesha comes to sit by him.
- Veronica Mars, until Wallace decides to sit with her.
- Malcolm is seen eating alone in the first episode of Malcolm in the Middle. He explains how people actively keep their distance, and then an overhead shot reveals a crowd gathered at a wide radius from him, moving along as he does.
- Though in most episodes afterwards he actually has quite a circle of nerd friends around him during lunch.
- This is bookended nicely at the graduation ceremony in the final episode when the other kids give Malcolm and Reese a wide berth and the other guests give the rest of the family a wide berth. Though this time, the smell provides an in-episode reason. Doesn't excuse everyone besides the family giving Malcolm applause as he's about to make his valedictorian speech, however.
- In a 3rd Rock from the Sun episode, Mary and Nina refused to have lunch with Dick:
Dick: Fine, I'll have my lunch alone! Like a man! [sobs] My apple is so tiny!
- Randy in The Wire was given the cold shoulder at the cafeteria after the word got out that he'd been snitching. Then his house got burned down.
- On The Steve Harvey Show, this trope is why Regina created the student assistant position in her office for Lydia as she frequently ate lunch in the girls' restroom because no one would talk to her.
- In Forever Jo eats most of her meals at her desk, a reflection of how she's buried herself in her work since her husband died. Henry discusses this, suggesting Jo shouldn't shut herself away.
Henry: I worry about you, Detective. You have breakfast at your desk before anyone arrives, dinner after everyone leaves. You only go home to sleep. There's more to life. […] This is the most exciting city in the world. There is someone out there for all those breakfasts and dinners.
Jo: Yeah, well, I already found him. He's gone.
- Frasier has struggled with this trope in restaurants on several occasions. Generally, he thinks he should be fine with it, as a cultured and self-confident adult... but it just feels weird. Of course, trying it on Valentines Day was probably asking for trouble. In another episode a little boy from a nearby table approaches and says his parents will let Frasier sit with them. Frasier tells the boy he's fine but after seeing multiple happy couples together he ends the scene by sheepishly asking the family if he can still join them.
- In a subplot from Friends (which was only available in the extended cut) Rachel goes to lunch alone when nobody else is available to go with her. Turns out she actually liked the experience of eating alone, in fact she enjoyed it so much she turns down a lunch date with a cute guy because she'd already made plans to go alone. After Monica points out what she just did Rachel reconsiders and goes through an Internal Monologue breaking up with herself so she can ask the guy out. Unfortunately his internal monologue makes it clear he won't be going out with her because "you're a freak who eats alone".
- Weirdly subverted in Gilmore Girls, in which Rory often ate lunch alone in high school, reading and listening to music, until she was encouraged by her headmaster to sit with other students at lunch. Unfortunately, the kids whom she chooses to befriend have a weird initiation ritual where they "kidnap" her in the middle of the night, break into the headmaster's office and get in trouble. By the end of the episode, she was happily eating lunch alone again, and not another word was said about it.
- When Ja'mie King from Summer Heights High has fallen out with her friends, an inversion of this trope leads to her spending lunchtimes in the staff room, rather than eating alone.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy is first treated warmly by Cordelia, who sees her as another Alpha Bitch. She is disturbed by the way Cordelia treats Willow however, and when watching her eat lunch alone Buffy splits from Cordelia and chooses to be friends with Willow instead.
- In Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Ami used to each lunch alone before befriending Usagi and the others. Later, when Ami is turned into Dark Mercury, she makes the other students shun Usagi, who is then seen eating lunch alone on the rooftop, where Ami used to eat.
- On Seinfeld, Elaine pretends to live in the janitor's closet of the apartment building across the street because her building isn't in the delivery zone for a certain Chinese restaurant known for their flounder. She says this is preferable to eating it alone in the restaurant "like some loser".
- Liz from 30 Rock (a Big Eater and Only Sane Employee) is repeatedly said to eat lunch in the bathroom at work just for some peace and quiet, although we usually see her eating with other people.
- On Peep Show, Dobby's family can't make it for Christmas dinner, and she declares that she's not going to go to a hotel to eat alone "like a millionaire madwoman." She then talks about trying to buy a last-minute turkey for herself, and Mark can't take the pressure and is forced to invite her to his family's Christmas.
- In Teen Wolf Boyd eats lunch alone, and states that the reason he decided to become a werewolf is because '“I just want to not eat lunch alone every day”'.
- Tuvok, the Vulcan security officer from Star Trek: Voyager. He does this through choice, though this doesn't stop him from being bothered by his human colleagues at nearby tables trying to draw them into conversation, or the excessively-chatty Talaxian Neelix trying to force his latest culinary horror on Tuvok. Captain Janeway dines separately due to her rank, though she sometimes invites her Number Two Chakotay for a home-replicated meal. The Captain actually had her own private dining room, but Neelix turned it into a kitchen (without asking permission) early in Season One.
- Never Have I Ever: Jaya Kuyavar sits by herself at Ganesh Puja. After marrying an American Muslim man instead of the one chosen by her parents, she is an outcast in the Hindu Indian community.
- The titular protagonist from The Mandalorian takes his meals alone because he follows a strict code that forbids him from showing his face to others. An exception is when he and the Child he's caring for share some soup; he lifts his helmet just enough to drink from the bowl while leaving the rest of his face covered.
- In The Big Bang Theory Amy says she had to do this in high school, but she ended up eating lunch with the janitor in his storeroom- until the janitor's wife called her a 'puta'.
- Young Sheldon: In the second episode, Mary worries that Sheldon is sitting alone in the cafeteria. Older Sheldon explains that he actually liked being alone, pondering the mysteries of the universe.
- The Billy Talent song "Nothing To Lose":
My parents never knew that I ate all my lunches alone in the bathroom.
- The music video for Taylor Swift's song "Mean" shows one little girl eating alone in the bathroom after being snubbed by the other girls for wearing the wrong color sash.
- "Miss Invisible" by Marie Digby:
There's a girl who sits under the bleachers, just another day eating alone.
- Charlie Brown eats lunch alone sometimes in Peanuts, sometimes while watching the Little Red Haired Girl who clearly has a lot of friends to eat with.
Charlie Brown: Some studies say those who eat peanut butter sandwiches are lonely. When you're really lonely, the peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth.
- In Adventures in Odyssey after a boy commits suicide a girl remembers that he used to sit alone when eating his lunch (it is hinted that he decided to commit suicide because of his loneliness). So she decides to invite a girl who was going to eat her lunch alone to sit with her.
- It is never said explicitly that he committed suicide. The girl does infer that if he had had at least one friend he would not have fallen to his death, because the train trestle he fell from was where he went when he was depressed.
- During the rehearsals for the original production of West Side Story, the cast members were encouraged to stick to their groups, even during their free time, leaving the actress who played Anybodys to complain, "No one will eat lunch with me!"
- Discussed in Wicked. Elphaba (ostracized since day one for her green skin) offers to share her lunch with her teacher, Dr. Dillamond, ostracized for being a Goat. She eats her sandwich; he eats the paper bag it came in.
- In The Caligula Effect, Suzuna reveals that she did this frequently in high school, usually eating her lunch in the bathroom to avoid being picked on by others.
- You do this in The Trail Of Anguish, being new and friendless. But the entire cafeteria applauds you for managing to finish your lunch at all.
- Pokémon: Path to the Peak: After failing several school activities, Ava sadly eats her lunch alone in the cafeteria.
- In the "December" arc of Bittersweet Candy Bowl, Mike tells Lucy she'll likely be eating lunch alone once the new year starts, as he won't sit with her anymore and expects the rest of their friends to follow.
- In El Goonish Shive, apparently Nanase used to do this before she shared a lunch period with Justin.
- Penny Arcade: Brought up in a strip when Tycho gets back into Magic: The Gathering and it makes Gabe reminisce about high school.
Gabe: Are you going to start listening to tool and wear a trenchcoat again too? Because I remember you listening to a lot of Tool. And wearing a lot of trenchcoat.Tycho: You really want to get into this shit with me, Mr "Eats Lunch Alone In the Art Room?"
- Sleepless Domain: In a rather dramatic case, Undine ends up eating her lunch alone at a bench in the school courtyard after three of her friends were killed on their nightly patrol, and a fourth transferred schools as a result. As a result, Undine doesn't have any friends left to sit with, and most of the school would rather avoid her after the incident. Fortunately, a girl named Kokoro offers to sit next to her after learning what happened, and eventually invites her to eat at a table with her and her friends.
- The Sad Keanu meme, born of some paparazzi photos of a somber-looking Keanu Reeves sitting on a park bench eating a sandwich. You can now buy a Sad Keanu action figure (sans sandwich, unfortunately).
- In Stop Bullying Now Milton was this way at first before he got friends.
- Youth & Consequences: Nerdy social outcast Colin is often shown eating alone in the school auditorium.
- The Spectacular Spider-Man "Intervention" Gwen eats alone with Harry being Put on a Bus and Peter off under the influence of the alien symbiote. Mary Jane soon joins her, as she too has "Lost track of her clique."
- Valerie Gray of Danny Phantom in the episode "Shades of Gray." She's banned from the popular table thanks to her sudden lack of affluence and rather than sit with Danny, Sam, and Tucker, decides to sit on her own at another table.
- Poor "Big Patty" from Hey Arnold!, who's perceived as a bully but is really just shy, hates lunch period most because she's always eating alone. Harold, who befriends Patty and loves to eat, has difficulty comprehending this.
- Happens a few times in The Simpsons.
- More often than not, Meg Griffin from Family Guy sits alone at lunch time. Especially in the later seasons.
- When Peter secedes from the US and starts his own country, he is mocked at UN meetings and forced to eat lunch alone in the UN cafeteria. He is then approached by another ambassador who gives him some advice.
Ambassador: They don't respect you.
Peter: Whaddaya mean?
Ambassador: Listen to me. I used to be the laughingstock around here until my country invaded Kuwait. Now I have a seat in the third row. Look, the only way to get any respect around here is to find something you want and just take it!
Peter: Wait a second. If everybody respects you, how come you're still eatin' here by yourself?
Ambassador: I don't shower.
Peter: Ohhhh, that's what that is...
- When Peter secedes from the US and starts his own country, he is mocked at UN meetings and forced to eat lunch alone in the UN cafeteria. He is then approached by another ambassador who gives him some advice.
- Happened to Courtney Gripling from As Told by Ginger in the episode where she lost her position as the most popular girl in school to another girl named Hope.
- Happens to Lemongrab of Adventure Time in "Too Young" for a few reasons. He sent everyone in the kingdom to the dungeon, so he was alone anyway. Aside from this, he doesn't have any friends, and he doesn't like anybody because he's a jerk with social problems. Contrawise, nobody likes him, either.
- Hawkgirl in Justice League Unlimited. There's even a little bit of awkwardness beforehand when she and Wonder Woman reach for a tray at the same time.
- Mission Hill - Kevin tries to start a relationship with classmate Eunice, AKA 'Weirdie' (to get in good with her physicist father and get a letter of recommendation for college entry) - he introduces himself at the cafeteria where she's eating alone (however, she's quite comfortable in her loner status).
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Boating Buddies", Squidward wants to sit at the lunch table at boating school, but refuses to sit with SpongeBob, so he has to eat alone behind a dumpster "just like in grade school".
- Young Justice: In "Terrors", the Riddler is regarded as such a loser that none of the other supervillains will let him sit with them in the Belle Reve dining hall.
- X-Men: Evolution: The Blob/Fred Dukes in the episode "Mutant Crush". He decides to sit by himself at a secluded table away from everyone else rather than sit with the other Brotherhood members. It's because he hasn't made friends with them yet.
- Played with in The Lion Guard. Fuli's friends notice that she goes off to hunt by herself, so they decide to join her to make sure she feels included. They then learn that Fuli enjoys hunting alone and needs time to be by herself sometimes. Moreover, the fact that she needs to be by herself sometimes doesn't mean she doesn't still love her friends.
- Eating Lunch Alone is how Lydia Deetz is presented without Beetlejuice in her life in the episode "It's A Wonderful Afterlife." Beetlejuice wishes he never existed and gets his wish and then is shown what his neighbors and Lydia would be like without him.