Feel like heading out to dinner, but there’s no one available to accompany you? There is no need to eat fast food at home or in your hotel room when you can enjoy a beautifully made meal at an incredible restaurant.
While, sadly, there can be negative conations around dining solo, there are many benefits. After all, you can choose the establishment you want to go to without compromise. Additionally, in a world where you are consistently bombarded with the need to make small talk, dining alone can give you an opportunity to get lost in your own thoughts and offer a time to reflect on the day.
Having said that, it still isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do at times. So, here some quick tips and tricks when eating out on your own.
If you’ve always wanted to dine alone, but been too intimated to bother, take some baby steps before you jump out on your own. Head out for a coffee, lunch, or even a small breakfast solo, prior to big dinner out.
Timing Is Everything
Should you be a little bit paranoid around eating out alone, think about heading to your restaurant of choice before peak dinner times. Let’s face it, things can get quite chaotic during that dinner hour at establishments, especially on the weekends.
Heading out for an earlier dinner has its benefits. These include:
- Getting the full attention of your server, and;
- Being able to enjoy a nice, peaceful meal without the loud chattering noise of tables around you.
Sometimes the hardest part of dining solo is the initial awkwardness of requesting that “table for one”. You can feel embarrassing having to announce it to the hostess, who then echoes the statement across the restaurant.
Plan ahead and book a reservation at your establishment of choice. If you don’t even feel like dialing up a number and talking to a person, flip out your smartphone or tablet device. There are many eateries out there that take reservations online.
Head to the Bar
One of the best places to angle yourself when eating out by yourself is a restaurant’s bar.
Not only does this area of the establishment offer you a nice spot in the thick of things, but you can also meet new people, chat it up with the bartender, or simply gaze at the mounted television set while you savor your scrumptious meal. Plus, it’s a perfect spot to people watch, another fine activity you can engage in while dining solo.
Talk to the Staff
Whether you are at the bar or not, you’re never truly alone at any restaurant. If you find yourself in need of some interesting conversation, you can always chat it up with your server or any other staff at the establishment.
Talking to the restaurant staff gives you an opportunity to:
- Learn more about the restaurant’s menu;
- Find out about potential food and wine pairings;
- Gain insight on the things to do in and around the area the restaurant is located, and;
- Grab some interesting perspectives from people you might not always get a chance to interact with.
You never know. You may make a new friend in the process!
Dive into a Good Book
Skip the social media sites and video games on your phone and grab a good book to bring along with you while dining solo.
A good book will help you escape from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life and is far more enriching than the dribble that is posted on Facebook or Twitter. Besides, should the conversation with your server get awkward, or perhaps it is not your cup of tea, a good book can help steer away from any casual conversation that is unwanted.
Having said that, if you do love your smartphone as a distraction, bring it along and indulge in all social media splendor you want. It’s your night to do whatever you want on your own terms. There really are no set rules for dining solo.
Enjoy a Drink (Or Two)
A glass of beer or wine can be the perfect complement to your dinner. It can also take the nervous edge off when dining solo.
If you feel a tad jittery once you sit down, as an adult, you are more than entitled to an alcoholic beverage to help cool your nerves down. As long as drink responsibly and not overdo it, having a drink or two at a restaurant can help enhance the solo dining experience.
Change Your Mindset
While you might be thinking that the entire world will be staring as you walk through those restaurant doors alone, the truth is people are far too self-absorbed to fully notice anything going on within the world around them, if it doesn’t affect them personally.
Besides that, do you stare or judge those who decide to hit an establishment solo? Most likely, the answer is no. Therefore, there is no need to really worry about heading out to restaurant and request a “table for one”.
Truth is many people do this every day. As such, your restaurant server has probably seen far worse in his/her day than a patron eating by themselves. Your waiter/waitress won’t judge you for dining alone, their fellow colleagues and staff won’t, and even the other diners of the restaurant don’t care if you are eating out by yourself.
So, sit back, relax, savor your meal, and enjoy your solo dinner. You’ve earned it.