Eating is usually a social thing. We enjoy home-cooked meals with our family. We grab quick bites and beers with our friends. But sometimes, life just happens; everybody’s busy, so you have to eat alone. Believe it or not, this can be a very rewarding and meaningful experience though it seems overwhelming at first.
The Joys of Solo Dining
A lot of people frown upon eating alone because of the solitude factor. They worry about what others will say and fear being tagged as the loner in the crowded room. However, this alone factor is the very thing that makes the entire dining experience meaningful. You get to tune out the world and have time for introspection. If you’re traveling or just got out of a toxic office, you need this time for yourself. You need to process the things you saw. You might need to recall the things you learned from your last business meeting. It can be hard to do these things when you’re eating with a friend or a significant other.
If you dislike eating out alone, your dining experience shouldn’t be a lone ranger thing. The good thing about going to a restaurant alone is that you get to meet anyone and everyone. You get to strike a conversation with the staff or other solo diners. If you’re traveling, this is an especially enriching experience. This is where you’re able to connect with people who can let you in on the latest happenings on the island or city you’re visiting.
Being Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
Now that you know the perks of eating out alone, it’s just a matter of doing it. But just because you know something’s worth it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy. Nonetheless, there are ways to make things less overwhelming, one of which is picking your happy spot. Find a corner where you’ll be comfortable. For introverts, this might be the farthest booth. For extroverts, this might be the counter in the burger joint. Singaporean foodies also recommend eating outdoors if there are available seats. These spots are a little more informal because they’re open. You’ll feel less self-conscious in these spots. Plus, there’s the perk of people-watching while you enjoy your juicy, meaty burger.
Moreover, plan carefully. If you’re not comfortable being seen as a party of one, go inside at noon. The atmosphere is more casual during this time. So it’s essentially less stressful for a solo diner. If you don’t have a choice and need to go in in the evening, it’s better if you can come in early. There’s less anxiety when you’re already settled before the crowds start to pour in. Alternatively, you can go inside when families and friend groups begin to thin out. If you must eat out at busy schedules and are uncomfortable being by yourself, read a book to read or write a journal entry.
Eating out alone might not be the definition of fun in your vocabulary. But it can be. Try it during one of your trips or after a long day in the workplace. You’ll discover that it can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences.