Eating out has become such an integral part of our culture. Meeting friends and family in a restaurant and enjoying a good meal together is a typical social practice. But enjoying a favorite meal at a restaurant could and should be a great experience for a single diner as well. Here are some solo dining tips.
Practice Makes Perfect
The first step is to practice eating alone long before you get to a restaurant. I don’t mean to eat while standing by the kitchen counter or leaning against the kitchen sink. You must really sit down at the dining room table and eat, all by yourself, without the buffer of the television to keep you from your own thoughts. Yes, even without a book or newspaper for a distraction. Sit down and really savor the meal. Enjoy each bite and allow yourself to be alone with your thoughts. When you have mastered the art of eating alone in the privacy of your own home, it will be time to take your act on the road and eat in a restaurant.
Start with Breakfast
Your next step is to start small and simply. I find that breakfast is an easier meal to face alone. There are often other diners who are alone as well. You can always shield yourself with a newspaper, a book, or even work. It is more acceptable at breakfast-time to have more than just the meal to focus on.
Work your Way to Dinner
You know you have achieved the knack of solo dining when you set your sights at the evening meal. Remember to walk in the room with confidence, your head held high. Eating alone is never anything to be ashamed of. We are an army of solitary eaters, all alone and yet united by the very act of dining. Be proud of who you are! Set down your newspaper or book and boldly sit tall with the assurance that you can do anything. Relish each bite. Smile at the other patrons. Appreciate the experience.
If the food is delicious it is much easier to tune out the loneliness that is associated with dining alone and focus on the tastes and smells. Make sure you eat at a restaurant that you have been wanting to try or one of you favorites so that you know the food will be worth it.
If you prepare yourself for the experience it can become natural. You can conquer the dreaded “Table for one?” question. You will have conquered the solo dining adventure.