How to Gracefully Dine alone

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I used to see people eating in a restaurant by themselves and feel bad for them. I know it was judgemental, but for some reason it always seemed sad to me that they had no one to eat with and talk to. Suddenly, one day I realized that some people may actually eat alone by choice. It may be the one time of day they get a few minutes alone or it may be a time that they use for other things. Regardless, I began to wonder what it would be like to go into an eating establishment and say “One” when asked how many. So, I did just that one day and I learned a great deal about dining alone.

The first thing I learned is that it can be a very relaxing time. When you first get to your table, it is important to pick the seat that you want. After all, there is nobody there to tell you otherwise. Once seated, take your time and peruse the menu because unless you are in a hurry, there is no reason to rush. Be sure to ask those questions that you might usually stifle to save time when eating out. Have that glass of wine or that appetizer that you always think you would enjoy. The more comfortable you are, the more graceful you will be.

Another thing I learned, was that when dining alone, nobody else is paying any attention. They might look up when you walk by, but unless you feel the need to explain to the waiter or waitress why you are alone, most people could not care less. So, relax and enjoy. There is no need to keep looking around to see who is watching you because I did just that and the answer is for the most part, not one single person is watching.

Finally, if you are concerned about looking obvious, bring something to do. Maybe it would be a good time to write a grocery list or a quick thank you card. You could calculate your checkbook. This tip is especially helpful if you feel self-conscious about being there alone. It will keep you occupied while waiting for the meal.

There is no shame in dining alone and you should feel free to do so should the occasion ever arise. You may just find that it is a welcome treat every once in awhile.

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