So what’s wrong with eating out alone?
Eating out alone can be challenging especially if you are used to having lunch or drinking your favorite coffee in the company of friends. But the truth is at some point in your life you will have to grab your coffee or eat out alone. And that will be an incredible chance for you to enjoy every single second of this unique experience. Why? Well, because eating alone can be a real joy. So if you think that entering a restaurant and asking for “A table for one, please” is a shame and you should experience intense discomfort and feelings of inadequacy you probably care too much about what other people think about you. And let me tell you something, people especially complete strangers don’t care about you as much as you think. And I mean it in a positive way. Everyone is mostly focused on themselves and if you act confident no one will question your behavior. Trust me I’ve been there more than once. So even if you don’t feel comfortable, confident or calm nobody needs to know this. You may have low self-esteem or low self-confidence but it doesn’t mean that other people perceive you this way. Reality is entirely subjective. Because each of our brains is different we perceive the world around us differently. And it’s completely normal. There is nothing wrong or inadequate with that.
Fight the Social Stigma
So if the only reason why you don’t eat out alone is that you are convinced that other people will find it controversial, weird or pathetic you are projecting your insecurities on others. And don’t get me wrong because whether we like it or not we all project in our daily lives to protect ourselves against our insecurities, difficult emotions, and deepest fears. But once we realize that our projection is a defense mechanism we subconsciously employ to protect ourselves from the things we don’t know how to deal with we will be able to get out of your comfort zone, experience new things and grow as a person. The fear is all in your head. Face this fear and you will be free. Don’t let this irrational fear about what other people think or say about you to ruin experiences for yourself. If you act confident, you will become more confident over time. Just like they say: fake it till you make it and you will be just fine.
But instead of overanalyzing it let’s prioritize active practice. How? Well, the next time when you feel like people look at you strangely don’t panic. Just look around yourself, notice other people and give them a genuine smile and go back to whatever you were doing. The rule is simple: When you act awkward, uncomfortable or shy others notice that. So instead of feeding your irrational fear or paranoia tell yourself: It’s ok to feel a bit nervous in a social situation that I am not used but I won’t let this irrational fear of falling or embarrassing myself to stop me from doing what I want to do. And take a step out of your comfort zone. Because life begins out of your comfort zone. The first few times will feel awkward but in time but if you act confident, you will become more confident over time. So don’t dedicate so much time wondering what other people think or say about you because it really does not matter. Besides most people we meet in life we most probably won’t see again. So, who cares?!
The same thing with eating out alone. If you think that there is nothing pathetic than a table for one,you’re listening to your anxious mind, not a rational one. Because what could be strange, weird or awkward in spending time alone and having fun? Once you learn how to embrace your solitude you will realize how valuable experience it really is. There is nothing more beautiful than having a strong and healthy relationship with yourself that you can celebrate during a solo date at your favorite restaurant or coffee shop. If you don’t believe me, it means that you haven’t tried. And you should because it’s a great and unique experience.
But if you need some tips for making your experience of eating out alone fun and enjoyable here there are:
Embrace Eating Out Alone With These Simple Tips:
Make it comfortable
Choose the place you will be spending your first-time solo dining/coffee drinking in advance because it will save you time, money and enormous amounts of stress. The best option will be your favorite restaurant, bar or coffee shop that you usually go with your friends and where the atmosphere makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. Plus, if you know the place well choosing your meal or drink will be much easier and less stressful.
Make it relaxing
If you are already stress-out about your first eating out alone experience don’t make it even more stressful by choosing a very crowdy and loud restaurant. Choose the “right” time for your solo dinner date to be able to enjoy a happier and stress-free experience. In my opinion, if you’re not used to dining solo the best option is to eat at off-peak hours when there are fewer people around. Unless a crowdy place is what makes you feel relaxed.
Make it fun
Sitting alone and waiting for your meal in a restaurant or drinking a coffee in a coffee shop can be stressful and challenging especially if you don’t want to draw unwanted attention. So if you’re afraid of making accidental eye contact or uncomfortable conversation with strangers bring something to keep you occupied or distracted. Use your phone, laptop, newspaper or book to keep you busy and avoid interactions with others. Maybe you need to answer an important e-mail, plan your next trip or catch up on that book you haven’t had the time for? Whatever it is do it. Make yourself feel comfortable, relaxed and fun!
Make it delicious
If this is your first time eating alone I suggest you order food you know and like. But hey, it doesn’t have to be a 4-course dinner. If you feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or awkward just by saying “a table for one, please” ordering a gourmet meal can be too much to handle. Ordering a salad, dessert or your favorite coffee drink will be a safer option. Start small, eat slowly and mindfully and let yourself enjoy every single bite of your meal. This simple trick will make you feel comfortable, relaxed and satisfied with your first solo dining experience.
Make it pleasant
Eating out alone can be challenging especially if you’re not used to it. But there is a lot you can do to make this particular experience exciting, delicious and pleasant. Just start smart and small. Choose a place with a relaxing atmosphere, kind staff, high-quality food and enjoy your delicious and pleasurable solitude.
Make it safe
On your first dining alone experience, you really want to avoid food poisoning or getting drunk after having too many cocktails. Because that would be embarrassing, unwanted and definitely unnecessary. Not to mention an obvious fact that this would draw unwanted attention to your humble person. Just like they say: Better safe than sorry, right? So before taking yourself for a date choose mindfully a place you want to eat and study menu beforehand to avoid unwanted surprises. For this particular reason, you definitely want to avoid risky foods like raw seafood, raw meat, raw or partly cooked eggs and maybe think twice before you choose something from a buffet or salad bar or you order the next cocktail.
Make it guilty pleasurable
Do you feel like eating your favorite dessert or drinking delicious hot chocolate for breakfast? Or maybe you’re like me and you constantly breaking “Italian coffee drinking rules” and your order your creamy cappuccino much later than you should according to Italian coffee culture. Whatever your guilty pleasure food or drink is, go for it! Treat yourself. And I mean treat yourself good. Make your “eating out alone” experience fun, relaxed and above all pleasurable! Forget about what other people think and enjoy your own company.
Unexpected Benefits of Eating Alone
- Me, myself & I with the company of great food
- A great opportunity to practice mindful eating
- Healthy eating choices
- No food sharing
- No food compromises
- Checking your phone or reading a newspaper without the fear of being rude
- A great opportunity to meet new people