Why are we so afraid of eating out alone?

Is it the act of eating alone we are afraid of? Or is it something else? How many of us are actually afraid of being judged? How many of us are scared of others looking at us, thinking: “Oh, that’s sad, she/he is alone.”

A few years ago, I was the same. I couldn’t imagine just walking into a restaurant, order a meal and enjoy it without a possibility of being judged by others. This was constantly on my mind. Looking back I realised, I missed out on so many amazing places, meals and tastes.

Tacos El Pastor at La Capital Tacos, Montreal

One thing that helped me to overcome my fear was my solo travel. Just to make things clear, travelling solo doesn’t mean you will always end up eating alone. However, you should feel comfortable enough to do so when the situation comes.

During my travels, I came across one amazing little restaurant serving some of the most delicious tacos I’d ever tried in my life. The place must have been very popular. It was completely packed whenever I passed by. On top of that, not one person there seemed to be eating on their own. Naturally, my initial thought was: “No way I am eating there alone!’ On the other hand, I really wanted those tacos. I mean, look at them. I felt like some hungry wolf that could not catch his prey.

Since the taco calling was stronger than my fear, one day I just gathered all my courage and walked into the restaurant. After few stressful moments (for no one else, but me!), I was approached by a very kind waitress. She seated me at the bar. It was the best spot I could’ve wished for. The bartender offered me a drink straightaway and I placed my taco order. I looked around entirely sure I’ll see someone staring at me. I couldn’t be more wrong.

I’ll be straightforward. No one gives a f***. Yep, that’s right. People are so involved in their own conversations and lives, you’ll get hardly noticed. In the end, do we go to restaurants to stare at other people? No, we go there to enjoy a good meal!

While I was sitting there, enjoying my tacos, I thought about something else. How many times we go to a restaurant with our friends, family or colleagues but instead of having a nice conversation, people end up checking their phones, constantly taking pictures of food or they don’t even talk to each other? I’ve seen so many couples and groups like this. Another scenario. How many of you have that one friend or a partner who promised you to go somewhere together, but it actually never happened? Or it took forever. What if you end up going alone on a business trip? Does it mean you won’t eat at all?

Don’t take me wrong. In no way I do encourage you to start eating alone. I still prefer going out with my friends and family. However, when I end up in a situation when I am alone I want to be confident enough to walk into a restaurant and enjoy my meal.

This is how I got rid of my fear and stopped being afraid of eating alone step by step:

  • Go and see a movie on your own. Think about it. Everyone normally focuses on a movie, you watch it silently, plus it’s dark (the dark part might sound a bit creepy but it will help you a lot).
  • Have a coffee on your own. No take away! Get a coffee and stay in a cafe. There are so many people who work on their own. Bring a book to make it easier for yourself.
  • Grab a lunch during a day. People are too busy to work and chase their dumb numbers anyway. So who gives a damn if you are alone.
  • Go to a concert. I have managed to do this only recently. Despite my fear, it was great. Plus you think someone will notice one tiny girl among other 10,000 people when they can look at Justin Timberlake?
  • Grab a dinner on your own. Choose a small place to make it easier for yourself. It helped me.
Photo by Courtney Prather on Unsplash

You do it once, the second time will be way easier. I could truly immerse myself in my foodie experience. What started happening to me very recently is that I get more (and faster) attention from waitresses and bartenders than a big group of people. For the win!

“Here is my last piece of advice. If nothing I mentioned above helps, think about it this way: Who is a bigger loser? A person who dares to eat alone once in a while or a person who doesn’t dare to do so and misses out on a great meal?”

I enjoy researching different topics, occasionally, I’ll turn them into articles.

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