Dining alone almost feels like a social taboo. Few people seem to like eating alone at restaurants. Meanwhile, many people act like being seen dining alone is a public confession that you don’t have friends to dine with.
We all know that isn’t universally true, so why do some of us act like everyone else thinks dining alone means someone is friendless?
They might have solomangarephobia. Solomangarephobics are afraid of eating alone in public, not because the act of eating alone is scary, but because they’re afraid of how that makes them look to other people. It’s a hyper-specific variant of social anxiety that you’ve likely experienced in a high school cafeteria or at a fancy restaurant where you’ve waited a little too long for your date.
This fear can be so intense that people who have it will wait for hours until a friend’s lunch break lets them meet up for a meal. Imagine sitting there, starving, because you can’t stand to eat alone.
It’s rough living in fear all the time, but facing our fears can be just as daunting. Hopefully, these reasons to eat alone will give you the will to try solo dining next time.
In fact, no one cares. Period.
As mean as that sounds, the truth is that people generally do not have the time and energy to wonder about why you’re dining alone. They’re busy too, and they likely came to the restaurant to try out food for their blog, take a break from work, or meet a friend of theirs. Whichever it is, they are not thinking about you and why you’re sitting alone at the back of the restaurant.
Another thing to remember is that the servers don’t care either, especially if it’s a busy day. They’re trying to get as many meals served as possible, and if they’re even thinking about you, they’re probably just happy you don’t have a loud, messy group of people eating with you.
Okay, sometimes there are people who do care. We’ve all come across people who can’t mind their own business before. But if they’re that type of person, that’s an even bigger reason not to care what they think.
If you’re an extrovert, this might not apply to you, but if you’re the introverted type, you may have thought about this before. Eating with other people can be annoying.
Think about it. You’ve ordered your favorite meal, and you can’t wait to dig in. You already have your spoon hovering next to your mouth when someone at the table talks to you, forcing you to make conversation before you’ve even had your first bite. That’s just the “good” annoying scenario. What if they’re the type of person who can’t seem to continue their train of thought unless you make direct eye contact and nod all the time?
Do you really want to spend an hour or two quickly eating between replies?
When you eat alone, there’s no one to talk to, and that can be a good thing!
Another upside to eating on your own is that you don’t have to worry about making reservations that fit several people’s schedules. The only schedule you have to work around is yours! This makes scheduling easier and gives you more options for the date and time you want to go to the restaurant.
Because of this, you can schedule your meal before or after peak hours and choose a day when there are even fewer people dining out. This is especially useful when you want to go to a restaurant that always seems to be full on holidays and weekends.
Not all of your dining-out escapades are going to be at nice restaurants. Sometimes, you’ll be eating at a cozy hole-in-the-wall type of place or a fast-food joint. These places won’t let you make reservations which means you’ll be seated on a first-come, first-serve basis.
But have you ever noticed that most people who go to restaurants go in groups of three or more people? Though more tables are dedicated to seating four or more people at dining establishments, the fact that more people go to restaurants in groups makes it harder for them to get a seat.
If you go alone, you can expect to be seated in a few minutes at most, no matter how busy it is that day.
Going out to eat alone isn’t just convenient; it’s also a relaxing activity.
Dining alone can give you some much-needed me-time that you might not realize you need. We tend to rush through our day, always thinking about what we’re going to do next after we finish what we’re doing now, even though we should appreciate the time we have to enjoy a nice meal.
By dining alone, you get a few minutes of rest from thinking which lets you be more mentally and emotionally present in yourself. Anytime you eat and drink alone is a great time to meditate about your day, re-organize your schedule, and listen to how you’re feeling mentally and emotionally.
Just because you start a meal alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely or that you have to keep eating alone. Places like cafes and pubs are great for striking up conversations with people you find interesting but would otherwise not approach because you already have company.
Of course, a lot of people don’t like to be disturbed out of the blue, so be aware of that when you try to chat up strangers. Most of the time, it really depends on the environment and whether or not they’re busy. If the person you’d like to share a table with has their earphones in or they’re on their laptop, it’s probably not a great idea to ask if you can share a table.
But, for example, if you’re at a board game cafe and they seem to be sitting alone while doing nothing, it wouldn’t hurt to bring your coffee and a board game over to their table to ask if they’re interested in a game.
Since you don’t have a lot of distractions when you’re eating alone, you’re able to appreciate your food more. Dining out is more than a social activity; it’s a rich sensory experience that you can lose yourself in for a couple of hours.
There’s no one there to interrupt you, so feel free to smell your wine as much as you like, eat as slowly as you like, and enjoy the ambiance for as long as you want to.
Another great thing about dining alone is that no one is around to judge what you order. When you eat with other people, you might get comments about how your order is weird, uptight, or childish. Everyone seems to have something to say about what you eat.
However, if you eat alone, you could be at a steakhouse and still order the healthiest meals on the menu without being told that it’s the “wrong” choice.
There’s something oddly comforting about scrolling on your phone for no reason. It’s true that scrolling mindlessly on your phone isn’t a socially healthy or productive activity. At the same time, though, why do we need to be busy all the time? There’s nothing wrong with taking the time to see what everyone else is up to and what the newest trends are if those are things you’re genuinely interested in.
Eating alone is the perfect opportunity to do that because you aren’t obligated to work or talk to someone.
Maybe you’re not the type to scroll while eating, but you like taking photos of what you eat and the restaurant you’re at. If you eat alone, you won’t have to worry about your dining companion asking you to stop. Take it from us; if you’re having a glass of Merlot at a place like Texas Wineries, you’re going to want to take a photo.
If you happen to like working in a relaxing environment, eating alone at a restaurant with a gorgeous view is just what you need to feel more productive. Thankfully, there are jobs out there that let you work on a remote basis so you can work wherever, whenever.
Jobs, side gigs, and business ideas that let you make money online are the best option if you want to work free from an office cubicle. Plus, a number of these remote work options are ideal for adventurous diners who like eating alone. Taking stock photos and writing about food are great ways to monetize and enjoy eating alone at the same time.
Eating alone might seem scary at first, but there’s really nothing to fear about it because chances are, most people won’t notice or care that you’re dining alone. Aside from that, eating alone gives you time to relax and enjoy the view, your food, and your own company. Give it a shot sometime, and you might find that not only do you like dining out alone, but you also like working at the same time.