Eating by yourself can be uncomfortable for a lot of people. Here are some tips for how to eat alone without feeling weird.
When we eat alone, we can feel out of place and awkward. Some of us can feel as if we are being watched by others.
It often feels weird while you’re waiting for your food to arrive; you never know what to do when there’s no one to talk to.
Avoid the crowds
If this is your first time dining alone, I recommend avoiding breakfast, lunch, or dinner rush. Being there during this rush may make you feel a bit more nervous and ultimately, not enjoy the experience.
If you’re not sure when the rush is for a particular restaurant or cafe, especially if you are in another country you are not familiar with, call ahead or ask a local.
Chat with the staff
You may find that someone on the staff is happy to chat with their customers. After they tell you the specials and take your order, ask them about their day.
If you’re new in town or in a country, ask them for recommendations on places to see. People love to be helpful and offer advice about their home towns.
Not up for chatting with others? No worries, bring something to do.
Bring a book or have your cell phone fully charged, maybe your laptop. Buy and puruse a local paper. Even if it’s not in your native languare, looking at a local paper or magazine is a great way to learn some of the local language.
I always encourage travelers to step outside of their comfort zone and talk to people. I’ve met the most wonderful people while I’ve been eating alone. Some of them are still my good friends.
Beer, wine, or cocktail anyone?
Enjoy a drink (if you drink) when you first get there. Having a drink may relax you a bit and help you enjoy your surroundings.
Being a little more relaxed will help you to feel more comfortable starting a conversation with a stranger.
Now, I am NOT suggesting that you get drunk! Use your head and instincts when you travel alone. Never drink so much that your senses are inhibited.
However, a nice coctail or glass of wine often helps calm the nerves and relax you a bit.
If you can’t just sit and soak in the ambience, why not people watch. People watching can be fun and interesting.
In fact make it a game. Try to find the couple on a first date or the birthday group. Imagine what conversations people are having with each other.
Make it fun and you’ll begin to forget that you’re eating alone.
Take this time to unplug
Maybe you don’t want to bring anything with you. You don’t want to chit chat and you just want to be. This is the perfect time to take a break and unplug for a bit. Unplug yourself from social media and maybe even people. Recharge.
Enjoy that glass of wine (or whatever you choose) and enjoy being with yourself. Lots of people enjoy doing this from time to time.
Join in with someone
There are no rules when it comes to traveling solo. You may also find other solo travelers when dining as well. And if you’re daring enough, start a conversation with them.
Some enjoy the conversation. Ask to join them or visa versa. Of course this means you’re no longer dining alone, but you’ve just met a new person and maybe someone of another culture. Take this time to get to know someone new.
No matter how uncomfortable you may feel you may be, check your anxiety at the door. Eat alone once or twice in your life. Take this time to enjoy being with yourself and living in the moment.
Enjoy the ambience of the restaurant or cafe. Enjoy the people that surround you. Enjoy the staff. Enjoy your food.
Hopefully my tips will help you enjoy a wonderful solo dining experience.