“I’d rather die than eat alone.” By talking with friends, I’ve learned that many wouldn’t even consider uttering the words, “Table for one.”
Last summer I had an internship in Paris writing guides to the city, and part of my job was to review restaurants. Eating out at these places meant going to them alone, and it wasn’t always easy. Through experience I learned that it’s all about your mindset. Changing your attitude towards anything can automatically change your perception, even of something as daunting as eating out alone.
Eating alone can be intimidating, but fret not 20somethings, here’s a little guide to start loving your next date with yourself.
1. Being Alone Doesn’t Have to be “Sad”
You may find that eating out alone isn’t for you, but let’s face it, there will come a day when your friends are busy, or you might even be stood up by a date. Either way, it’s important to enjoy your alone time in public.
When eating alone, many people come to one conclusion: they feel like they are on display. It’s time to get over this idea and begin enjoying the moment. I learned from my time eating alone that it’s quality time you can spend with yourself. You can indulge in your guilty pleasures like people-watching or take a moment to reflect on your day.
2. Get off your phone
I found that one of the most challenging parts of eating alone is how to entertain myself while I’m waiting for my food. I used to depend on my phone for this distraction, but really, how many times can you scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed? Or fake a very long phone call? Believe me, I’ve tried both and it doesn’t fool anyone. My advice: sit at the bar because there is always something to observe from there.
3. Become a Fake Food Critic (it worked for me!)
I had to review a fancy restaurant at a hotel in Paris one day, so I donned my finer clothes and brought my notebook and camera to look more legit.
When I arrived at the restaurant, the hostess sat me at a beautiful table overlooking the garden. The waitress gave me the menu and a little stool for my camera and handbag. After I ordered my food, I decided to pull out the notebook to doodle. Before long, I noticed the waiters whispering to each other and smiling, and soon enough the Chef peered out from behind the kitchen and smiled with a little head nod. I like to think that I had them fooled.
I took the role so seriously that other people started believing it! I love to do this when I eat out alone because it makes me feel like I’m there for a purpose, and it makes me focus on what is on the table rather than other diners judging me.
4. Be Confident
Next time you muster up the courage to eat alone, remember that walking into a restaurant with your head held high automatically gives you a positive aura that can build your confidence. Be proud of your solo status!
Really, eating alone shouldn’t be such a big deal, and although sharing a meal with the people you love is always fun, eating alone can give you the freedom to eat whenever and whatever you want.
So next time you decide to eat alone, pick yourself up (perhaps a notebook and camera too), dine happily all by your lonesome and enjoy the experience.