When I was in high school, I hung out with good friends who had similar interests. We were definitely not the popular crowd. We did have fun and enjoyed our high school years together. I was probably considered one of those quiet, "good" kids by most of the student body. With my friends, I talked up a storm. Introvert to the majority; extrovert to my minority.
Whether consciously or not, I remember actively trying to immerse my firstborn son in lots of social, extracurricular activities. I wanted him to be social and comfortable with other kids. I would go out of my way to encourage him to talk and play with other children. As a young boy, he did make many friends and enjoyed being one of the group.
I've always considered my son to be well liked and maybe, even sort of popular. Tonight, he tells me that he is at one of the "loser" lunch tables. He laughed when he said it. Apparently, it doesn't bother him. He thinks it is no big deal. It's just the way it is now at his middle school. Typical of middle school, there are a couple of popular tables surrounded by all the not so popular or "loser" little tables.
He told me not to worry that he still has a bunch of good friends. What did surprise me is that many of the kids who were his "friends" over the elementary school years are no longer interested in even saying hello to my son anymore. Just last year, all of these kids seemed to not be so concerned with categorizing themselves into one group or another.
My son seems fine with the situation. Funny how it bothers me though. After all my attempts to socialize my son, it turns out that he is just like me, sitting at a table with his few good buddies. I guess you have to be born with that popular gene :) I know that the popular group at his school gets into trouble, so he's better off without them. I'm just amazed at how some boys (that I've known since they were 5) all of a sudden act like my son doesn't exist anymore.
It's like something clicked in some of these 11 year old brains. Once they turned 12, these boys decided that they are off to the popular world and some old friendships are expendable.
Interesting to watch the popular crowd form right before my eyes once again. I guess middle school/high school politics will never change.