Lessons Learned From Eating Alone

It’s the one thing that can send the most bold person screaming. Something that strikes fear and anxiety into the bravest of people and can incite anxiety into anyone it touches. That’s right, kids, I’m talking about eating alone in public.

We all know how awkward it can be, getting to the restaurant first when meeting friends or a date, and feeling the shame surround you. Yep, all that shame, because everyone is clearly looking at you, and judging, and pitying you. Oh yes, the pity, we all know it too well. And that’s why none of us can ever eat alone. The End.

But, what if I told you, that, most likely, no one is looking at you, or caring? Eating alone can actually be a pretty great thing. I know… but hear me out.

See, I got into the habit of eating out alone when I first moved to New York. I knew little to no people and most of them had different schedules than I did. So, I spent a lot of time in my apartment alone. Then, I realized that I could do all the cool things I wanted to do alone.

So, I got over it. I went to little hipster restaurants, had my first Shake Shack, ate my lunch in parks and sat in bars munching some of the best food you’ll ever taste. And you know what, I didn’t die. No one questioned whether or not I was a witch and I’m pretty sure I am no less desirable to the male gender than I was before.

Sure, it was an adjustment at first, but I learned to preoccupy myself. First, I would bring a book or browse social networks at more low-key places. Then, I simply used it as a time to clear my mind. In a city of millions, a quiet moment brought needed solace.

Eventually I began to chat up the people next to me. People may have been feeling bad for me (which I honestly rarely felt), but I met friendly Jewish people who taught me a traditional prayer, a set of ladies who had seen all the shows on Broadway in a matter of a week, a man who grew up two blocks away from my grandma, and tons of other people. I would never have met these people if I had been staring at my phone or enthralled with another person.

Eating alone is a lot like life. You have to do the thing that scares you to see things a new way. Sometimes silence is the only way to realize what’s going on with yourself and the world and no matter what anyone thinks of you, your opinion of yourself is what you have to live with.

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And you can totally get that slice of pie and no one will be any the wiser.

Photo by Pennuja

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Do you like to eat alone? Tweet us @litdarling.

Kristin
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