The Fear of Being Alone…Really Alone
I used to be one of those people that was afraid of being alone but would never admit it. Which may sound silly to admit but it’s true. For as long as I can remember, between growing up, going to school and work, I’ve always had a steady stream of family members and friends around me. If I wanted to do something, all I had to do was pick up the phone. I was never really alone even when Chris and I were living in remote places together as I made new friends and I always had him.
Life Changes In Vancouver
After our cross-country move to Vancouver and getting re-situated, I began my new career. To keep it simple here, I work as a traveling consultant. For about half of every month I pack up my suitcase, leave Chris at home and hit the road to visit my clients. Some weeks go well and some weeks make me crawl back home and collapse into my bed from exhaustion. Each of these trips takes me to a new destination with new sights, people and accommodations. Oddly enough, I don’t mind driving or sleeping alone but I am always left with this hollow feeling when I ponder where and what I will eat for supper.
The Hungry Traveler…
On my travels, I get to expense my meals. When you are eating out of pocket it’s easier to consider a quick fast food meal or just popping by the grocery to pick up a meal. The easy option is tempting, but I don’t want to be eating junk food and uncooked meals for weeks at a time.
A Fear of “Solo Eating.” Is That A Thing?
My eating alone hang-ups are mostly of the social norm variety; from feeling awkward about sitting alone and being waited on hand and foot. Believe me, if there was someone I could invite to supper with me, I would. I dread the awkward silences as I wait for my food, and I am sensitive to the stares from other tables. There are only so many things to check on my cell phone before boredom kicks in. Just a quick FYI, you tend to get dirty glares when you use your phone in restaurants to pass the time while your meal is being cooked.
Why Eating Alone In Restaurants Is OKAY
And so after lugging around this emotional baggage and stress for quite a few months, one day I finally decided to get over it. I should clarify: to get over myself. Sometimes you just have to get to the heart of the matter and give yourself a pep talk. After some soul searching I put on my bravest face and decided to fake it until I made it. Instead of being so NEGATIVE about the experience (which was clearly making me miserable), I should look at the positives and get on with it. It was then that I fully started to embrace eating alone in restaurants and realized all of the wonderful benefits.
Here’s my Top 10 List of why you SHOULD go to a restaurant alone:
- Everyone has to eat. Eating at restaurants is a privilege.
- You get to go to whichever restaurant you want. No arguments or compromises.
- “Home cooked” restaurant meals are delicious. And healthy…well it depends what you order. But they are much better than fast food!
- It gives you time to think and relax without being constantly bombarded with conversation.
- The waitstaff are generally great! I often find that they also have great menu and general town information tips if you ask nicely.
- The service can be super fast. You often get your food before other tables. I clearly underestimated what being waited on hand and foot feels like.
- If you eat at non-peak-hours, before the lunch or dinner rush, you might even have the whole restaurant to yourself. Can’t choose between the lunch or dinner menus? Between 2-4pm I’m usually offered both menus. JACKPOT.
- You get to order whatever you like eat with no judgement from your table guest. Dessert? YES PLEASE! Maybe even a portion to go?
- You get to bypass the extra fees and clean-up of dishes that are associated with room service.
- And if you can’t quite hack the silence…it’s a great time to get caught up on that extra bit of social media, emails or quick phone calls while your meal is being prepared.
Are You Ready To Eat Alone?
All these pictures are making me hungry. Don’t let silly fear and social norms slow you down while you are traveling. Be both hungry and confident. Table for
two ONE please!
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