The Art of Dining Alone

 

 

food-tomato-largeDuring the summer, I’m able to travel with my family but for work, I often find myself wandering down unfamiliar streets, stepping into small cafés and eateries. One thing that’s

When I was younger, the act of dining or traveling alone was not as appealing. But as I’ve explored more parts of the world and have learned to enjoy the quiet moments of discovery, I’ve come to look forward to these experiences as acts of self-reflection. It’s also a great opportunity to people watch.

If you’re not in the habit of dining alone, it can feel like a big step. Several thoughts might be running through your mind. Are people watching me? What will I discuss? Will I be bored?

Rest assured, like any adventure, it becomes less awkward, and more enjoyable over time. Take a look at the following tips. Dining alone is the foundation of a seasoned traveler.

Leave your amor at home

If you’re leaving your amour at home, then I’m guessing you’re also able to spend one night alone with just your company. Take ‘amor’ to mean anything that you can bring with you to distract from the experience: phone, tablet, magazine, book. Of course, you won’t always want to dine without these items, but to truly master the art of dining alone, you’ve got to be comfortable with your own company.

Find the Right Spot

Dining alone for the first few times will feel strange. To help relax you, find the right environment to make this work. My recommendation? Opt for a quiet, dimly lit bistro that is perhaps more accommodating to the solo diner than a loud, trendy eatery.

Wear the Right Attitude

Dogs can smell fear. Babies can, too. Take a deep breath and channel your inner confidence. We may be programmed to expect that our dining habits are social, but our perceptions shouldn’t define our experiences.

Think about it. Single people eat the majority of their meals alone. If you can’t remember the last meal you’ve eaten alone, take this as an opportunity to enjoy a time with yourself.

Take Advantage of your Server’s Expertise

When you’re alone, you’ll have a longer amount of time to spend with your menu. Instead of trying to choose a meal on your own, enlist the help of your server. Nobody has a better knowledge of the food than your server, so take advantage of their inside intel.

Make the Occasion Memorable

Find a reason to celebrate this meal. Maybe you just received a big job promotion. Or you’ve just completed the half-marathon you were training for over the last year. Maybe the event is smaller. You’re committing to a positive change in your life. You read 15 books last year. Whatever event you want to highlight, take advantage of the evening. Positive reinforcement does wonders for our own personal growth.

What did I miss? Do you have any secrets on how to break into the art (and enjoyment) of dining alone?

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2 thoughts on “The Art of Dining Alone

  1. I remember how uncomfortable I felt the first time I ate alone in a restaurant. Later, I recognized it as an exercise in assertiveness. We have the right to enjoy our own company.

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  2. Great post! As an only child, I have always felt comfortable eating alone in restaurants. I am now an expert and will usually make a friend for the evening by catching someone’s eye or asking them how the food is. I even had fun in SLC where people are a little suspicious of a woman drinking on her own… Thank you for the follow.

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