I would estimate that doing your research and choosing a restaurant in advance more than triples your chances of having a successful night eating out alone. When it comes to dining alone, choosing a restaurant off the cuff is just another daunting task to add to an already intimidating activity. For some reason that escapes me, dinner seems to be the one meal a day where it is more taboo to dine alone. Going a little earlier or later will be far less stressful.
Is that couple over there watching me? Pick up, flick through and put down wine list Arggghhh. I want to leave.
Return to menu as though making a final decision. If there is any chance you can study the menu before you sit down, do it and make a decision or at least a shortlist of three things that you want to eat. A lot of menus are online these days. Otherwise, visit the restaurant at lunchtime just to look at the menu.
That new, experimental outfit can surely wait for another time? Actually, this Is going out alone weird to all eating out experiences — solo or not.
But from an eating alone perspective, there is nothing to be gained from increasing your discomfort! So, in return for your bravery, think up a nice, low-stress reward for yourself.
My Travel Amiga Karen once ventured out to dinner alone in Hong Kong and ended up with a platter of seafood to serve six. It was a bold move and one that embarrassed the hell out of her. For that reason, start off by eating in your comfort zone. Pizza and pug grub are usually pretty safe bets Is going out alone weird new solo diners.
I am one and I am enough. Although it has happened only a handful of times — I repeat, only a handful out of hundreds of dining times — there have been occasions when my rather inconsiderate waiter has tried to plonk me in the most unattractive part of the restaurant. So, I say stand your ground.
With no food to play with and no menu to read, I find myself either drinking a glass of wine way to fast or twiddling my fingers awkwardly and desperately wishing I could evaporate like my wine appears to have done.
A whole heap of props, in fact, all of which are designed to keep me occupied. My go to distraction devices include my Kindlea travel guidebook, my iPhone complete with games, stuff to read, and access to wi-fi — yay, dining friends at a distance!
One of my favourite motivational books is called Focus by Jurgen Wolff. In that book he shares a powerful concept of using alter egos to get you through tasks that daunt you. How does the alter ego work? Before long I would find myself on YouTube watching videos of cats playing Jenga.
Validate is going out alone weird pics gallery
These days I step into my ex-lawyer alter ego and this much more organised version of me is way more efficient for the job at hand. We all have times when we are more confident, outgoing and daring — find that alter ego within you and take that version of you out for dinner. Or try stepping into the shoes of your more confident best friend for the night — imagine what he or she would do if they were eating out alone. Screw that — sometimes it can help.
One of the biggest fears about eating out alone is the paranoia that other people think you are some sort of reject of society. And mostly that fear exists only in your head. But what if you knew that you had a friend close by — would that make you more confident? If so, give it a try. Arrange to go to dinner at a restaurant with a friend, but pledge to dine separately. Turn up alone, sit alone, but know that there is a friendly face in the restaurant who is sharing your discomfort.
You might be surprised how much this alters your perspective and confidence to eat alone. The reality, on the other hand, is that the vast majority of people myself included are super self-absorbed. Having just said that people are self absorbed, dining alone is a great excuse to buck that trend. Do it discretely, but watching people in restaurants is such good fun. I like to play a bit of table bingo to see if I can get a full house of the following diners:.
Ask for the bill early — I usually ask when I Is going out alone weird have a fifth of my drink left — and try Is going out alone weird pay with cash using the right money, if possible.
And there you have it.
My best tips for eating out alone. Have you ever eaten out alone? Any other tips to share? Jo Fitzsimons is a freelance travel writer who has visited over 60 countries.
The first time eating out in the city where I also live in. Almost laughed out loud at 18 and started scanning the room to get some points. This year I even spent my birthday dinner alone, but I had my kindle and I was in Bali, so that was a great evening!
The only thing that I still have issues with is the amount of food. Hi Iona, I know Is going out alone weird you mean.
Sometimes I Is going out alone weird a couple or appetisers. Failing that, I have left food on top of a bin in the hope it will find a hungry mouth. Thank you so much! Someone told me tonight that it was liberating and challenged me to go this week! Thanks for the tips! I used to be a server and I suffered from customer envy. Why cruel world am I not the one ordering the wine and sitting with that handsome man, but instead you have planted me here to serve!?!?!
Now, 6 years later I am a professional solo diner. Although I still do get nervous as you said. I am also 20 pounds heavier. So many hundreds of Cosmopolitans and calamari will do that to ya!
Additional tips that I would offer: Sit at the bar. The bar has a TV to help keep you busy and also the other people talk too. I have had people offend me by thinking I was looking for a man, when I really love dining out. Be in the moment, savor the wine the food, and the breeze, the trees, the people, the passers by. Breath in and out and savor the decadence of life.
Be grateful that you are not suffering through a delicious meal with an old fart, or a selfish friend.
Very fun topic for me. Thanks for the extra tips. Thanks for this article- I have found while making reservations for 1, many restaurants only have availability at 4: I do it Is going out alone weird hotels a lot otherwise one person gets stuck in the terrible tiny room for the same price.
So glad I came across this post. Keep it up because it definitely gets easier.
Thank you Jo for a great column! Especially 18—it made me laugh!! I was reading it as I dined alone in Paris on a Saturday night at I travel to Paris quite regularly, and am often alone.
I hope you spotted some interesting characters in Paris — definitely a good people watching city. And I can see that it is also a bit intimidating in terms of solo dining. Glad Is going out alone weird enjoyed the article. I really liked it when you suggested mapping out the route so that the person knows exactly where they are going or taking a taxi to the restaurant if they plan on eating out alone.
I will mention this to my sister since she has been interested in an Italian restaurant for a while now Is going out alone weird plans to visit it. Since she is the type that gets discouraged easily when she gets lost, knowing the route seems like the most helpful tip she can get.
I have found that outdoor patio dining is an easy transition into solo feasting. You can throw your shades on, enjoy a drink or 3 and watch the street happens or simply take in the scenery. Also, check the menu cover of the restaurant in a detailed manner as it tells a lot about the restaurant. So flexibility has to Is going out alone weird along with the pre-trip menu study! I also had to learn to stand my ground on seating as I usually get steered to the bar instead of a table.
I had a sit-down battle of wills with a waiter just last week in Spain when he Is going out alone weird to move me mid-meal to accommodate a larger group that could easily have sat behind me. So being steered to the worst table in the joint is one of my bugbears too. Good for you standing your ground.
The more of us who do it, the more the restaurants will come to accept solo diners — I hope. Try small — coffee and lunch? Find out how an introvert like myself can start going out to clubs and bars solo If you're capable of getting ready for a night out alone, walking each .