Eating out alone can be a daunting experience especially if you are shy. Nonetheless, at one point in your life you will have to eat out alone, it is inevitable. But how does one make what many think as an unpleasant experience, a great oppurtunity to enjoy one’s own company?
As an introvert, I have found myself eating out alone countless times. Over the past one year, I have dined alone in over 45 restaurants within and outside the country. With time, I have learnt to enjoy eating out alone and to relish one of my favorite hobbies; fine dining. Here are my tips for dining out alone:
1. Research the restaurant beforehand
Take time to learn about the restaurant you wish to dine at. Look up for photos of the restaurant, familiarize yourself with the layout and the seating arrangement. In addition, visit the restaurant’s website to learn about features you might enjoy during your visit such as a garden or a sunset view. Check out the menu and chose a meal that you will want to have. Moreover, read customer reviews to help you get a perspective of the restaurant. This research will help improve your experience at the restaurant since you already know what you want.
2. Make a reservation
So you’ve done your homework; identified a restaurant, studied the menu, customer reviews and you’ve finally made your way to the restaurant. The last thing you want is to be turned away at the door. This happened to me last week at a city restaurant. Don’t let your efforts go to waste. Always make sure that you secure a table in advance.
3. Be friendly to the waiters
Your vibe, right from the moment you walk into a restaurant, will determine how the waiters treat you. If you are friendly to them, they will make your experience at the restaurant enjoyable and memorable. They will help you chose the best table, a delicious meal, recommend wine that will pair well with your meal and even take photos of you if you request them to.
4. No one is watching you
Most human beings are paranoid that others are watching them. This limits our ability to be ourselves and to enjoy our surroundings. You need to overcome this paranoia because no one is watching you. It is all on your mind.
5. Find a table along the wall or window
These two locations give you the advantage of observing your surrounding while making you feel invisible. If you are seated near the window, you can take in the view outside. People watching, or simply indulging in solitude is an unforgettable experience, so enjoy it.
6. Find a table for two
Naturally you’ll want to find a table for one. However, this seating arrangement will make you feel exposed and alone. I would recommend that you get a table for two then place your handbag or notebook on the other seat.
7. Politely turn down the unwanted company
Politely turn down strangers who might request to join you. Thank them for their interest while letting them know that you need time to yourself. If you like them, you can then give them your business card, letting them know that they can reach you some other time.
8. Be confident
When out alone, it is easy to fall victim to negative thoughts of what others may think of you. Will they think you are lonely? Or have hidden intentions? You need to ignore these negative thoughts and to exude confidence that will be admired by others and help feel good about yourself.
9. Carry a book
Keep yourself entertained by reading a good book as you wait for your order to be served. You can either carry a hard cover book or an eBook. Remember to keep it away when the waiter brings over your order, and enjoy the meal with no distractions.
10. Dress comfortably
What you wear can make you self-conscious about your appearance. To reduce stress, wear clothes that fit and feel good on you.
If you master these tips, you will find yourself looking forward to eating out alone and enjoying the benefits of such moments, having a “me” time and savoring the meal.