Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid to Eat Out Alone

6 February 2018

Eating out alone seems to carry a lot of baggage, especially in Asia. Our cultures tend to see dining as a social activity, and so a lot of people think there must be something wrong with you if you're out on a self-date. Maybe you're a loser and no one likes you. Maybe you're freshly single. Maybe you have terrible body odor. There's a lot of judgment being thrown at solo diners, and it can stressful for those of us eating alone.

But none of that actually matters.

Other people's judgments shouldn't get in the way of enjoying yourself, and that includes the fun of eating out. Who cares if people believe it's unlucky? That's just superstition. Who cares if they're making assumptions about your life? They should just go find something better to do. You shouldn't be afraid of eating out alone just because it isn't "the norm".

Besides, more and more people are eating out alone anyway, and it's sort of become a trend. In South Korea, for example, restaurants have been offering honbap (literally "alone meals") for years. Some Japanese restaurants even serve their food in isolation booths because they want you to focus all your attention on the meal. You are, funnily enough, not alone in wanting to dine alone.

It helps that eating out alone brings a lot of benefits. Here are a few of our favorites:

You Don't Have to Share

We all have those friends who can't seem to stop taking a bite (or ten) of our food. Sometimes, though, we just want all the fries to ourselves! When you're eating out solo, there's no pressure to share your food, which means every single glorious bite is yours and yours alone.

You Can Zone Out Without Being Rude

Everyone needs to zone out once in a while, but if you do it around company, you might come off a little rude. If you don't find some time to zone out, though, all the thoughts in your head can overwhelm you. Dining alone is a good way to decompress; just think of it like meditating, but with food.

There's No Need for Small Talk

There's always a little pressure to engage in small talk during social situations, as if dead air makes you a boring person. But small talk is also awkward and uncomfortable, so save yourself the trouble and eat out by yourself once in a while.

You Can Order Anything You Want

No one's going to judge you for what you order when you're dining solo, and you get full say over where to eat. It's the perfect opportunity to spoil yourself.

It's a Good Way to Get in Touch with Your Emotions

Sure, talking about your feelings is a healthy way of dealing with them, but sometimes, you want to have that conversation with a giant serving of dessert rather than another human being. Eating out alone lets you do you.

It used to be that people were so afraid of eating out alone that there were websites and apps developed to set you up with other solo diners, or to give you a "virtual boyfriend" you could share a meal with on your phone. Those days are so over, though. The next time you've got a craving, feel free to treat yourself – and only yourself.

– Marco Sumayao

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