Late last year, I decided to travel alone and there were so many things that I realized during my solo travel, and one of the things that stood out to me was not feeling awkward while eating alone.
Most people feel awkward when they walk into a restaurant alone. You feel like the whole world is looking at you, watching you eat, judging you, because you’re there alone. I am very familiar with that feeling, but I realized it doesn’t have to be that way.
The awkwardness of eating alone is just an internal struggle. Everyone feels it, but I don’t think this should hinder you to enjoy your food. Just last week, after a long day at work, I was craving for something Japanese, so I went to Genki Sushi. There was less human contact, because you order via an electronic menu, and the food was served via the train that chugs beside you. You just get over the awkwardness and think about your stomach. You’re hungry, you need to eat, so eat!
Here are my tips on how not to feel awkward while eating alone:
- Bring a book or something to read with you.
If you’re in a restaurant, sometimes it takes up to 15-minutes for your food to be served. During those 15-minutes, get caught up in your reading. You will realize that time has passed while waiting for your food.
- Plan your next steps.
When you’re traveling alone, your time is yours alone. You can choose where to go or what to do next. While eating, take out your pen and small notebook, your smart phone, and maybe a map. Plan out your next move while eating.
- Choose a cafe over a restaurant (or get fast food)
If at this point, you’re still feeling awkward, then I suggest eating at a cafe, where most people who go there are too busy minding their own business. A cafe is less intimidating than a restaurant. In restaurants, you have to go through an elaborate list of foods to order. A cafe just usually has one menu at the counter, where you can just point at items that look delicious. At fast food chains, you can get your food right away, so that means less time for you to fuss over being alone. Eat and run!
- Find a good seat.
Usually, when I know I’ll be eating alone, I just choose a corner table, or a table by the window. I like people-watching, so a seat that has a view of the whole restaurant or window-view are my favorites.
- And lastly…just stop giving a fuck!
Do you think people are really looking at you? Unless you’re drawing attention to yourself, nobody really cares if you’re eating alone. They are too busy with their own food, too busy talking to their companions, or too busy looking at their phones. Rid yourself of the thoughts that you’re too important of a person that people will pay attention to you in a restaurant full of other people. I just stopped caring about what others people think. Enjoying my meal is more important!