To answer some of the questions I've received from the comments on this blog, I decided to go to the expert: Andrea Syrtash. Syrtash is a relationship expert and host of ondating.tv
Here is what she said to me via email:
Me: Have you ever gone to a restaurant alone? If so, describe your experience.
Syrtash: I enjoy dining alone. I find I taste the food more when I'm not chatting during a meal. I have also enjoyed sitting in a restaurant and eating while reading or writing. I'm more focused and it's usually been an enjoyable experience for me.
Me: Why do you think there is a stigma against eating alone?
Syrtash: I absolutely think it's a confidence issue if people think there's a stigma associated with dining alone. The reality is that most people in the restaurant are consumed with their own matters and really aren't taking the time to notice the single diners around them! The best way to get over this fear is to challenge yourself to eat alone and see how it feels...when you're scared to do something (that's not dangerous, of course), that's the time to jump in. We're all more resilient than we realize and may actually enjoy some of the activities we are scared to do. We'll also build confidence when we prove to ourselves that we can do things out of our comfort zone.I'd also advise the person to try to be in the moment (instead of in their head), enjoy the time and savor the meal. I'd suggest that the person start small...perhaps a solo breakfast one morning...and then build up to lunch or dinner out alone.
Me: What do you think about the correlation between companionship and food? Is there a direct
link or could you enjoy one without the other.
Syrtash: Eating can be wonderfully social - many families and friends gather around food on important holidays and events. So - there's certainly a correlation between community and food. That said, I think you can absolutely enjoy one without the other. You may even enjoy certain tastes more when you're not distracted by everything around you and are able to focus on the flavors in the meal.
If you have any questions for Syrtash, please visit her website at: http://www.andreasyrtash.com/