”How to be (less) Awkward: I always hate when someone is eating alone at a crowded restaurant and a group enters and loudly complains that a single person shouldn’t get a whole table to themselves. If you are lucky enough to be out sharing a meal with a group of your friends, be gracious enough to realize that some aren’t as fortunate.”
Someone I know just wrote this on Facebook. I don’t know if it comes from her or someone she knows or a book or a movie or a motivational web site, but it irks me. It irks the she.at. out of me.
Because while there are plenty of people in this world who go to restaurants alone because they have no one to eat with, there are plenty of people who choose to go to restaurants alone. There’s an entire “Sex and the City” episode where Carrie discusses going to restaurants alone without any props to hide behind, like a book (who travels without a book?).
Reasons A Person Might Choose to Dine Alone:
- S/He’s hungry.
- S/He’s got a real hankering for Indian/Italian/Japanese/Greek/Brazilian food and no one will go with her/him.
- S/He doesn’t feel like cooking.
- S/He would like a solid hour to her/himself in the course of the day.
- S/He is out running errands when hunger strikes.
- S/He doesn’t like eating with other people (some people don’t).
- S/He likes eating with strangers. (This is easily accomplished at restaurants like Boloco or Chipotle or Wagamama’s or Mr. Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers.)
- S/He is on a stake out.
- It might be a restaurant s/he used to go to with a loved one who has passed and s/he goes there to remember this person.
- S/He is stalking someone who frequents that restaurant or works there.
There are plenty of very legitimate, not-lonely reasons a person might go to a restaurant alone (that last one was meant as a joke, b.t.dubs). Therefore if you find yourself with a group of friends (or just one other person) and you see a person sitting alone at a table having a meal (with or without a book) please don’t bitch that a single person is “taking up” a table and please don’t automatically assume that they aren’t lucky enough to have any friends to go out to dinner with them. For all you know this person hates cooking and washing up and prefers to have someone else do that work for them and really enjoys an hour or two of being out in public whether they speak to anyone else or not.