• Thu, Dec 27 2012

Gallery: How To Dine Alone At A Restaurant Like An Ultra Confident Pro

If you think you can, you can.

If you think you can, you can.

In mid-January, I’m heading off to Paris again. As I did last spring, I’m doing another apartment swap and couldn’t be happier with the idea of wandering the narrow streets with vin chaud in hand while I gaze at the Seine pretending I’m Sabrina in Sabrina. If Sam can run off to Portland, I can go to Paris — again. So there.

One of my favorite parts about traveling alone is dining solo. I know for some this evokes a level of dread that can’t even be conveyed in words, but for me, I quite enjoy it. No matter where I am, whether it be home in New York City or some other place in the world, I find great solace in the art of dining by myself. I don’t need a book to keep me company, I don’t need to make conversation with my dinner date, I don’t even need my iPhone on my lap as a make-shift security blanket. I just need me (and we all know how impressed I am with me.)

While some might call dining alone brave, you shouldn’t think of it in such terms. What’s “brave” about eating a meal in public? Yes, it might require confidence on your end, but it can be done; it should be done. Once you stop relying on other people to do all the things you want to do in life, you’ll find you’re free. Being free is the best.

Here are some tips that will help make this all less painful for you. You want to be free, don’t you?

Photo: The Sunday Times


Choose a low maintenance food

Spaghetti is messy and buffalo wings are a nightmare. To make it easier on your delicate sense of confidence, choose a meal that's easy to conquer.

Opt for a counter spot

For some, this seems like the easiest way to go about dining alone, and yes it is. If there's a counter go for it, if not...

Sit with your back to the wall

Take the seat at a table where your back is against the wall. Being able to see everyone passing by will ease up on any paranoia you might be feeling, and it's a great spot for people-watching.

Don't make excuses

You don't have to assure your waiter that you actually do have friends. For one, your server doesn't care, and secondly, this is about you enjoying yourself solo. Photo: Diane Goldstein

Get a drink

Not because you need it emotionally, but the act of reaching for a glass of something, besides water, from which you can leisurely sip is comforting. It will give you something to do with your hands.

Bring a book

Although, personally, I'm against this, if you absolutely need a book to soothe you the first few times around, then by all means bring one.

Enjoy yourself

You're eating great food and you're doing it alone? Score! Enjoy it!

You're free

See? You had it in you the whole time. There's no telling what you can do now, you guys!
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