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 Posted:   Jul 23, 2014 - 2:43 PM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

Whether we live in some sort of family unit or if we're single, we all have times we eat alone. Some people absolutely hate to eat alone, whether in a restaurant or at home. Do you ever find yourself in any 'difficulty' to eat alone? Myself - all my life; so obviously I'm more than o.k. with it. What I discovered was that when I lived in San Francisco, or Seattle or New York, I never felt the least bit self-conscious eating alone in any restaurant. But, here in rural Montana, it's a little more...challenging; I don't know why that is. Here is a photo essay from New York Photographer Miho Arkawa who studied people who eat alone. When you see the arrows at the top, click on the right one to start the navigation.

www.mihophoto.com/projects/dinnerinny/

 
 Posted:   Jul 23, 2014 - 3:39 PM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

I'll have a look later - my work system won't let me open that page - but just to say that because of the travelling round I do as a musician I also often eat alone, and never feel uncomfortable...yes I get the odd look, but if that's all they have to worry about then they can look - but it doesn't make me feel self-conscious - guess I'm just used to it!

 
 Posted:   Jul 23, 2014 - 5:43 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

While one of my great pleasures in life is eating with friends -- we love trying new restaurants almost as much as we love cooking together -- I'm also happy to eat alone, at home or out. I have no shame in going to a restaurant with a book.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 1:52 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Since most of my friends are established with families, I'm "forced" to travel around the world on my own.

In the daytime, this is great because I can do whatever I want, in the tempo I prefer.

But in the evenings, it gets a bit lonesome, especially when I eat at restaurants. No big deal, really, but it would have been nice to have a dining companion with whom I can share today's experiences.

For me, the issue isn't so much the eating at restaurants alone, but rather post-dinner issues, like sitting in a pub alone. This can be nice for peoplewatching, but you can only do that for so long. And I'm not one to strike up a conversation with strangers, especially not if they're already in a group. I don't want to be intrusive and/or perceived as "the crazy lonely guy at the bar". However, it is my understanding and experience that this type of small talk among strangers is more common in the US.

 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 2:42 AM   
 By:   ZapBrannigan   (Member)

A long time ago I got into the habit of eating just two meals a day, alone at my dinette table. It never bothers me, although if some photojournalist were studying me I think it would.

 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 3:19 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)


For me, the issue isn't so much the eating at restaurants alone, but rather post-dinner issues, like sitting in a pub alone. This can be nice for peoplewatching, but you can only do that for so long. And I'm not one to strike up a conversation with strangers, especially not if they're already in a group. I don't want to be intrusive and/or perceived as "the crazy lonely guy at the bar". However, it is my understanding and experience that this type of small talk among strangers is more common in the US.


I do feel inhibited to eat alone at a restaurant, seems socially awkward. A lunch place where I can eat a sandwich and read the paper I'm not as bothered with.

I agree about American hospitality, it surprised me as well how quick Americans are at striking a conversation, and also how helpful they were whenever we needed directions.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 9:27 AM   
 By:   Ian J.   (Member)

Interesting this comes up on this forum now, just as this article appears on the BBC News website:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28292651

 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 9:32 AM   
 By:   mstrox   (Member)

I have no problems eating out alone. If you stripped me of my tools - my iPhone, my Kindle, my book, whatever - I might have trouble (out of boredom), but in those cases I'd likely just eat faster and move on to whatever is next in life.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 10:55 AM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

Interesting this comes up on this forum now, just as this article appears on the BBC News website:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28292651



Thanks for this, Ian J. There was a refreshing and unique 'take' on the single diner that I never really considered - we choose to eat where we do because of the food and amenities - not because we have no other choice. Here in rural Montana though, it's an entirely different matter. Everyone (seemingly) is either a party of two, or, a family of four. But, I still don't get bothered over it because here in rural Montana, I can cook much better than most of the restaurants around me. Except for the 'Triple Creek Ranch' in Darby, of course. And if you compare the sensibilities of today to say, that scene from 'The Lonely Guy' with Steve Martin who tells the wait-staff he's 'alone'...

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 11:02 AM   
 By:   John McMasters   (Member)

I almost always eat alone when dining out. In fact, there was one restaurant where I don't think I'd ever eaten with another person -- I remember showing up with some friends and the waiter, with whom I'd chatted on numerous occasions, joking that I DID have friends after all.

 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 11:18 AM   
 By:   Stefancos   (Member)

The ingestion of food and beverages is to provide the human body with the required nutrients it needs to sustain itself.

It is not an activity that requires company.

 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 11:30 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

The ingestion of food and beverages is to provide the human body with the required nutrients it needs to sustain itself.

It is not an activity that requires company.


And life is all about basic subsistence. There're no emotional or social components to any of our basic survival mechanisms!

 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 11:42 AM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

No, it is not an activity that requires company.

It is, however, particularly wonderful as a social event. Good conversation and good company assist in the digestive process. We are more relaxed, the experience is heightened. The mutual getting of pleasure from various foods is rewarding.

Unfortunately, in families there is a tendency for people to use the dinner table as the time for bitching about their days. No one can properly digest the food they eat when there is unpleasantness and bitchiness and general malaise among the diners.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 12:13 PM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

It is a sign of some maturity when you can eat alone, especially in public, and be at peace with it.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 12:33 PM   
 By:   Smitty   (Member)

I actually prefer eating alone. I like the bit of alone time and focus on enjoying my meal. There is plenty of social activity to be had elsewhere.

Exercising (running, lifting, etc.) is a different matter for me, as gains are much more easily accomplished with the company of others due to extra motivation.

 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 12:38 PM   
 By:   Ron Pulliam   (Member)

Funny how different we all are.

I much prefer to exercise alone.


As for eating alone, I can enjoy this very much. Sometimes, I prefer it, but it always seems someone else comes along and asks to join me. Some folks cannot fathom why someone would prefer to eat alone.

And that's all right, too.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 2:49 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

By the way, the only place I've felt a bit embarassed for eating alone (that may mirror Dave's Montana situation a bit) is when I stayed 3 nights at Santa Catalina island outside LA. I wasn't aware that this place catered so much to families and couples. Thankfully, I was joined by Morricone & wife + drivingmissdaisy and companion the last night. But the other nights, I went to bed pretty early.

 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 5:59 PM   
 By:   Adam B.   (Member)

I prefer to eat alone...at buffets. I get up so many times to refill my plate there's no time to talk.

 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 6:05 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

"The meal isn't over when I'm full. The meal is over when I hate myself."

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 24, 2014 - 9:43 PM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

While one of my great pleasures in life is eating with friends -- we love trying new restaurants almost as much as we love cooking together -- I'm also happy to eat alone, at home or out. I have no shame in going to a restaurant with a book.


Me neither. Often, I'll bring along my accumulated Sunday New York Times'es, and spread them all over the table as I'm eating. I really enjoy the time I can get, just eating dinner, and going through all the sections of that Sunday paper, taking my time, if I want to, to read entire articles. Or, tackling the book I also always bring, just in case....

It's very enjoyable.

 
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