Why Dining Alone Is So Much Better Than Eating With A Date

If you consider yourself a bit of a foodie (or just someone who hates to cook), you probably go out to eat a lot. Maybe you go with your partner, your friends, or even your colleagues. Dining alone probably doesn’t come into your head. After all, isn’t that a bit weird? Definitely not. If you don’t regularly take yourself out to eat, what are you even doing? Here’s why it’s such a worthwhile experience — and even better than going out with other people sometimes!

Why do so many people feel awkward going out to eat alone?

  1. Societal expectations make dining alone feel weird. In many cultures, eating is considered a social activity and a way to bond with others. And yes, it can definitely function in that way. However, the fact that eating alone can be seen as a sign of loneliness or an inability to find someone to eat with makes people feel self-conscious and bad about themselves. It needs to change.
  2. People worry about being judged. Many people are worried about what others may think of them when they see someone eating alone. They think people might consider them weird and unwanted. In reality, most people probably aren’t thinking that (and if they are, they’re the weird ones).
  3. There’s nothing to distract you when you’re dining alone. Eating alone can be a quiet experience, which may be uncomfortable for those who are used to having distractions like conversation or a phone to keep them occupied. Obviously, you can bring a book with you or scroll through social. However, maybe try being intentional and in the moment. You might realize you actually really enjoy eating on your own.
  4. There’s a misconception about restaurant etiquette. Some people feel that they’re breaking some kind of dining etiquette or social norm by eating alone. This is especially true if they’re in a sit-down restaurant or a fine-dining place. After all, don’t they want those tables for couples or groups? Maybe, but any paying customer has a right to eat there.
  5. Personal insecurities are a killer. Eating alone can also bring up personal insecurities. It can lead many people to feel unimportant or unworthy of social connection, which can cause discomfort and anxiety. The funny thing is, the more you take yourself out to eat on your own, the more you grow to love the experience.

Why dining alone is such a worthwhile experience

woman eating at restaurant

provided by iStock

  1. It’s a chance to indulge in your favorite foods without having to consider other people. If you want Chinese and your friends want pizza, no need to compromise. Same goes for if you’re tight on cash this weekend but they want to splash out. When you’re dining alone, you can go out and get exactly what you want whenever you want.
  2. You can take your time and enjoy your meal at your own pace. Without having to engage in conversation or wait for others, you can savor each bite and enjoy the experience. No rushing to gulp your food down, and no hanging about when you’re ready to leave.
  3. It’s an opportunity to explore new places without pressure. There’s literally nothing worse than going to a new place you’ve been dying to try with your friends and they end up hating it. You feel guilty, like you’re the one who cooked the food or something. It’s really not a nice feeling. Thankfully, when you’re dining alone, you don’t even have to think about it.
  4. You can people-watch without distraction. This is one of the major highlights, in my book. Dining alone provides an opportunity to soak in the atmosphere of the restaurant and observe the weird, wonderful behavior of other diners. This is especially true if you live in a big city. The characters that come in are downright amazing.
  5. You might get chatting to the waiter. Restaurant staff are some of the hardest working but least appreciated people out there. When you’re eating on your own, you can actually strike up a conversation with them. They may have interesting insights into the menu, the restaurant, or the local community.
  6. It’s a great way to de-stress and unwind after a long day or week. Dining alone can be a meditative experience, for real. Going out for fancy pizza and a glass (or three) of wine and just chilling out just makes you feel better. You can literally feel the stress of the week falling away from you.
  7. It’s an opportunity to reflect on your own thoughts and ideas. Without the distractions of other people, you can use the time to think about stuff. What stuff? Whatever you want! Maybe you’re working on a new creative project or you’ve been trying to set new fitness goals, I don’t know. All I know is that quiet time is hard to come by, so you should take it when you can get it.
  8. You can read a book or catch up on work while you enjoy your meal. As I said, you should try eating without distraction sometimes. However, dining alone can be a productive experience too. You can get through a few chapters of that book you haven’t made progress on for weeks or brainstorm for an upcoming DIY project.
  9. It can boost your confidence and independence. Going out to eat alone shows that you’re comfortable with your own company and can navigate social situations on your own. There’s something badass about someone who doesn’t mind rocking up to a restaurant (or anywhere, really) alone.
  10. It’s a valuable life skill to have. This is true especially if you travel frequently for work or pleasure. Knowing how to dine alone confidently and comfortably can make your trips more fun and less awkward. Try it! You just might be pleasantly surprised.
Bolde has been a source of dating and relationship advice for single women around the world since 2014. We combine scientific data, experiential wisdom, and personal anecdotes to provide help and encouragement to those frustrated by the journey to find love. Follow us on Instagram @bolde_media or on Facebook @BoldeMedia