Eating in a restaurant alone is almost everyone’s nightmare, especially if you’re an introvert. But sometimes it can’t be helped! Maybe you’re on a business trip alone, or you’re all out of food but still need to get out of the house. Maybe it’s a special menu or limited-time pop-up that you’re dying to try but can’t find a pal to tag along. Don’t let the fear of dining alone keep you from dining at all!
Our contributor, Kaleigh Glaza, is here with a few simple ways to make eating alone a more comfortable experience. It’s worth a try to get out of your comfort zone for a great meal, even if it is on your own. Let’s get eating!
Get ready to chat
Talk to the waiter or bartender or chef! Learn about the menu and the restaurant. Get recommendations of other hot spots they love or details on their recent trip. Make the most of their expertise. It will make you feel less alone right off the bat!
If you’re eating on your own, you’re also going to be a prime target for chatty diners nearby. Use it as an opportunity to make some new pals and scope out your menu options before people gobble them up of their own plates. If your goal is truly some solitude, be polite but keep the conversation as brief as possible. When in doubt, turn to your reading materials. Which brings us to the next tip…
Bring reading materials
Whether it’s the latest issue of Vogue or your current book club pick, having some reading options is always a nice back-up. At the very least, it gives you a safety net if you start to feel insecure, but it can also be a wonderful chance to really take some time and enjoy the written word.
If you need some ideas, check out these seven books that we suggest adding to your reading list. Overall, just relish the time away from other distractions and dig into a good read.
But NOT headphones
Speaking of distractions, also plan to avoid your phone and headphones! Take some screen-free time while you dine. We all spend far too much time on our phones and computers; don’t let this be one of those times. Even if you don’t bring something to read, don’t use your phone as a crutch. No podcasts or books on tape or scrolling through Instagram Stories. Just enjoy your meal!
Treat. Yo. Self.
If you’re branching out and eating by yourself, you might as well make the most of it! So, order that fancy cocktail, and add an extra side or dig into a decadent dessert. You have no one to worry about splitting the steak with or guarding the final bite of pie from. You’re putting yourself out there by eating on your own, so reward yourself with an extra special meal!
When in doubt, sit at the bar
For first-time solo diners, the bar is the place to be. Lots of people who are dining alone choose the bar, plus you’ll be facing your server (aka the bartender), making it easier to interact and start conversations with those around you. Start with the bar and work your way up to owning your own corner booth, all on your own.
Now, it might seem crazy to literally have a strategy going into your next dinner, but it will be well worth it in the end. By diving fork-first into solo dining, you’re going to open your world to a whole new way to appreciate food…and time with yourself. It might seem scary, but you’ve got this!
A lifelong Chicagoan, Kaleigh currently works in the Windy City’s food social media and marketing world, which is perfect for her cheese and chocolate-obsessed self. She is your go-to girl for recommendations on travel, champagne, the best Beyoncé songs to sing in the shower and the latest in thriller fiction reads. In addition to Glitter Guide, her work has also appeared in Refinery29, The EveryGirl, Lux and Concord, DiningOut Chicago Magazine, and others. Follow her on Instagram at @kaleighglaza and work with her on food, blogging, and social media at https://www.kaleighglaza.com/.
Image via Lily Glass – @lilyglass for A Scandifornian LA Home With Lots Of Artsy Details