tricks of the trade: dining out alone
I frequently go out by myself- obviously for shopping but also for dinner, drinks, or just a nice afternoon near the beach. I find that I enjoy the time alone, but there is of course the issue of being devoured by soul-crushing loneliness and abandonment to consider as well. So here are some tricks of the trade to make dining out alone as enjoyable as possible. So take yourself out! Metaphorically speaking of course.
TRICK #1: PICK A RESTAURANT THAT RESPECTS YOUR PERSONAL SPACE
I find that crowded restaurants aren't the best for dining out alone, mainly because the noise and crowd may make you feel isolated rather than empowered. There is also the issue of being seated too close to other diners, which always annoys me mainly because I end up focusing on the conversation that I overhear rather than the experience of the meal. So pick a restaurant that lets you soak in the atmosphere in a way that's comfortable, because that's the fun part of going out alone- it's all about you and your experience!
TRICK #2: PICK A RESTAURANT THAT IS UNIQUE TO YOUR TASTES
I love going to unique places that I pick out after detailed, usually online research. I may or may not also online shop while researching above mentioned restaurants. But the process of looking at the menu, deciding exactly what you want, and debating which décor style you like best can be calming even if you have some anxiety about dining out alone. And remember, it's all about you! If you have a husband or friend who won't eat a certain type of food, why not go out for that type of food? Have a different experience than you normally would. This sense of adventure may help you feel engaged even if you are alone.
TRICK #3: CONSIDER NOT BRINGING A BOOK OR LAPTOP
I know most people suggest bringing a book or laptop if you are uncomfortable being alone, but I find that meals are better if you genuinely take the time to enjoy them. Focusing on yourself is a great way to get in touch with your inner calm (even if it is buried in many, and many more layers of stressed anxiety). And plus you need to taste the food and wine. I recommend Pinot Noir and steak on the high end and burgers (don't forget fries) at the lower price point.
TRICK #4: TELL OTHERS ABOUT YOUR RADICAL PLANS TO DINE ALONE
Now this trick is revolutionary- actually try reaching out to real people about your avant garde intentions- tell your friends, your pet, your therapist, someone random on the street- anyone! This will make it more like social outing- you are dining out alone in order to report back!
TRICK #5: YOU CAN SAY "JUST ME" WITH CONFIDENCE
Sometimes the most difficult part of eating alone is managing the interaction with the host or hostess- if you can start off this experience with confidence then it is more likely that the whole meal will follow!
TRICK #6: TRY TO FOCUS ON YOU, NOT OTHERS
Try not to focus on the other diners- this experience is about you! It can be tough not to worry about the reactions of others but it's worth it for a little "me time". Plus, you can people watch if you aren't so worried that the other diners are judging you!
TRICK #7: REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE AWESOME AND DESERVE TO BE TREATED
So take yourself out already! Metaphorically.