Mr Rayon

Is there anything wrong with being seen eating alone in a restaurant?

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Sometimes I feel bad when some people I know see me eating alone in a restaurant.

 

Is it normal to feel this way?

 

Anyone care to share some of the experiences when dealing with people you know while eating by yourself in a restaurant?

 

Is it ok to eat alone in a restaurant?

 

Does it make me look unsocial/selfish if I only eat by myself?

 

Every time I go out, must I eat with others as to not seem unsocial/friendless/selfish?

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You posted this in ethics. What would be unethical about it?

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Is it normal to feel this way?

What do you care? You feel what you feel.

 

Is it ok to eat alone in a restaurant?

Yes, why wouldn't it be?

 

Does it make me look unsocial/selfish if I only eat by myself?

Who cares about what other people think? It's simply none of their effing business.

 

Every time I go out, must I eat with others as to not seem unsocial/friendless/selfish?

No. Again, who the hell cares? Seriously, why make this an issue?

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It's only ethical if you sit at the bar. ;) If you're taking up a server's time on a duece or a four-top table, and leaving just a standard 15% tip, you're costing the server money when there are diners who could have filled up the table and made it more worth their efforts.

 

As for how you appear to other diners, I think you're missing the point. It's not that you're by yourself, it's what you do while eating that's going to make an impression. Are you looking around the room at all the other diners while you eat? Are you focused on your food and not looking around? Are you reading something as you eat? The rest of the diners who aren't alone are usually talking to each other as they eat, the more people at the table, the more talk usually. What are you doing as you eat?

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It's only ethical if you sit at the bar. ;) If you're taking up a server's time on a duece or a four-top table, and leaving just a standard 15% tip, you're costing the server money when there are diners who could have filled up the table and made it more worth their efforts.

 

 

 

That assumes the restaurant is full. If the table would otherwise be empty, then this doesn't hold. (Not considering the bizarro world of economics/accounting, where not selling something is costing you money, i.e. it is assumed that every potential customer owes you not only their business, but a maximum purchase)

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It's only ethical if you sit at the bar. ;) If you're taking up a server's time on a duece or a four-top table, and leaving just a standard 15% tip, you're costing the server money when there are diners who could have filled up the table and made it more worth their efforts.

 

:lol:

 

What are you doing as you eat?

 

Unless you're staring at people and/or making lots of noises while eating, who the hell cares?

 

 

Edited by Thorham

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That assumes the restaurant is full. If the table would otherwise be empty, then this doesn't hold. (Not considering the bizarro world of economics/accounting, where not selling something is costing you money, i.e. it is assumed that every potential customer owes you not only their business, but a maximum purchase)

 

I should have said "if there are diners who could have filled up the table" instead of "when", I guess.

Unless you're staring at people and/or making lots of noises while eating, who the hell cares?

 

That's my point though. It's not that you're by yourself that will cause any concern in other diners. It's what you're doing while you eat that will avoid or attract unwanted attention.

 

If you aren't talking or reading while you eat, what is your focus? If you're just pondering while you eat, where are you looking? To the folks at the next table, does your focus make it look like you might be listening to their conversation? After all, if you aren't focusing on anything, and you have nobody to talk to, it might look like you're focused on a table other than yours.

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Sitting at the bar is no good.

I always end up having a 'liquid' lunch.

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Sometimes I feel bad when some people I know see me eating alone in a restaurant.

 

Is it normal to feel this way?

 

You are existentially alone, whether people surround you or not.

 

Is it ok to eat alone in a restaurant?

Yes

 

Does it make me look unsocial/selfish if I only eat by myself?

Some people will guess your motives for eating alone, and a few will craft a story, various stories.

 

Every time I go out, must I eat with others as to not seem unsocial/friendless/selfish?

Few in your life will understand you. Someone might think you are trying to control their thoughts by being friendly.

 

Edited by EdEarl

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That assumes the restaurant is full. If the table would otherwise be empty, then this doesn't hold. (Not considering the bizarro world of economics/accounting, where not selling something is costing you money, i.e. it is assumed that every potential customer owes you not only their business, but a maximum purchase)

I agree. If the restaurant is less than half full, it would benefit the restaurant to have single patrons, even if it means they're spending less. People want to eat where other people are eating because they correlate this with fresh produce (higher turnover), high quality, consistency (less corners are cut when restaurants are profitable) and trustworthiness (return business). When I lived in Hong Kong, my colleagues would choose the restaurants with the longest queue. Therefore, even though they would make less from a single patron, if they are at minimum capacity, they would welcome them.

 

I am personally used to eating by myself and in large metropolitan cities such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney it's common practice due to long working hours and the convenience and relative low cost of restaurant meals. It is not unusual at all on weeknights to see professionals eating by themselves. These restaurants usually turn over the tables very quickly and you don't get much in the way of service but a lot of apartments in HK don't have kitchens and it makes little economic sense to rent an apartment with a kitchen because space is the biggest cost in HK. To rent an apartment with a kitchen would cost you roughly an extra 4000-5000HKD a month in space and you would struggle to spend half of that in meals and that's not factoring in the cost of your time to shop, prepare, cook and clean.

 

In country NSW, you would pay more than twice for a similar meal than in Hong Kong because most people eat at home and eating out is for special occasions or family outings, therefore, you would look out of place eating alone. In short, it depends where you are, or you could just be brave and not care what others think and enjoy your meal. :P

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If you can treat yourself to a nice night out at a swanky restaurant, why should you be required to bring someone else along, just because?

Edited by Daecon

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If you can treat yourself to a nice night out at a swanky restaurant, why should you be required to bring someone else along, just because?

 

Again, to the other diners, I really don't think it's you being alone that's a concern. If you look like you don't have a problem with it, I don't think others will either. If someone is really enjoying a meal, most folks see the enjoyment and not the number of guests at the table.

 

It's what they're seeing you do while you're alone that's at the heart of the OP's question of "being seen eating alone". If I glance up at another table, I'm most likely to see folks talking and eating. If you're alone and don't have your food, what are you doing? You have nobody to talk to, so are you looking around at the diners, people-watching the way many do? That can be creepy.

 

Most folks I see eating alone have something to occupy themselves when they aren't eating, like a magazine, or a bit of work they can finish up while waiting for the food. Some even bring in a book, and that's fine too (I love to read while I eat if there's nobody to talk to). But if you're worried about what others are seeing, you may be giving off the very vibe that makes people feel sorry for you, or assume you're lonely but couldn't find anyone to share a meal with.

 

If you worry about stuff like this, you may be causing stuff like this.

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I eat out alone all the time. Do I care what others think about it? - No. :)

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It's what they're seeing you do while you're alone that's at the heart of the OP's question of "being seen eating alone". If I glance up at another table, I'm most likely to see folks talking and eating. If you're alone and don't have your food, what are you doing? You have nobody to talk to, so are you looking around at the diners, people-watching the way many do? That can be creepy.

 

Most folks I see eating alone have something to occupy themselves when they aren't eating, like a magazine, or a bit of work they can finish up while waiting for the food. Some even bring in a book, and that's fine too (I love to read while I eat if there's nobody to talk to). But if you're worried about what others are seeing, you may be giving off the very vibe that makes people feel sorry for you, or assume you're lonely but couldn't find anyone to share a meal with.

Again, I think it depends where you are. Communal tables are common in Hong Kong to use up space and increase turn over. If you're alone, you wouldn't expect to have a table to yourself; they will seat other singles with you. I had never seen this practice in Australia, Europe or the US so I was very confused at first. However, other single patrons had no problem with acknowledging each other or talking. After a while I became accustomed to it and had some very nice conversations over the few years I was there. There is generally only communal dining in low end, fast food type restaurants. Medium priced restaurants generally had a seating time (90 minutes usually) to increase their turnover and decrease the wait time whilst maximising their profits. Often even when the restaurants weren't busy and I had a table to myself, locals would invite me to sit with them because they would see me struggling with the characters on the menu (when there were no pictures to accompany the characters, I ended up with some very interesting meals).

 

I have seen an increase in communal dining in Sydney too and a lot of the inner city restaurants are opting for one very large dining table for patrons to mingle with other diners. I really dislike this idea that you're 'odd' or 'weird' if you engage with people you're not acquainted with in public spaces, restaurants or at the shops. I don't like being in places where people are detached and disconnected; I think it goes a long way to acknowledge others and engage in conversation.

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I don't see anything unethical about eating alone I guess the selfishness is your ethical conflict don't worry there is nothing wrong with eating alone. I feel bad eating alone though too. i feel like an old spinster with lots of cats eating alone seeing a movies alone. its human nature to want to be in a social group and to stay with your social group

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Who cares about what other people think? It's simply none of their effing business.

 

No. Again, who the hell cares? Seriously, why make this an issue?

 

I've always had a problem with the statement "who cares?"

 

Indeed, it is very well possible for lots of people not to care about what other people think about whatever, but I find myself - unfortunately - regularly concerned about what others think, or might think, of my behaviour, of the way I dress, ... I too find it very uncomfortable eating alone, but I'm not sure if this is because of the way I think people might think about me, or because just for those minutes you are confronted with loneliness, as Lyudmilascience says: we want to be in a social group and stay with it. Whether it be family, friends, collegues, ... I for 100% agree with his post.

 

Caring about what others think is very personal and I find it problematic to confront others with the statement "who cares?", because they might and who are we to say they should not care? If they care, they care, and they may have their own very good reasons to (whether they be irrational or not, that is not our problem). I'm convinced that every now and then it might be good to care about what others (might) think. Keeps us from going all nuts and to keep it civilized.

 

And no, eating alone is not uncultivated. But if it makes you feel uncomfortable, try defining which aspect specifically makes you feel that way and think of a way to diminish that.

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I've always had a problem with the statement "who cares?"

 

Indeed, it is very well possible for lots of people not to care about what other people think about whatever, but I find myself - unfortunately - regularly concerned about what others think, or might think, of my behaviour, of the way I dress, ... I too find it very uncomfortable eating alone, but I'm not sure if this is because of the way I think people might think about me, or because just for those minutes you are confronted with loneliness, as Lyudmilascience says: we want to be in a social group and stay with it. Whether it be family, friends, collegues, ... I for 100% agree with his post.

 

Caring about what others think is very personal and I find it problematic to confront others with the statement "who cares?", because they might and who are we to say they should not care? If they care, they care, and they may have their own very good reasons to (whether they be irrational or not, that is not our problem). I'm convinced that every now and then it might be good to care about what others (might) think. Keeps us from going all nuts and to keep it civilized.

 

And no, eating alone is not uncultivated. But if it makes you feel uncomfortable, try defining which aspect specifically makes you feel that way and think of a way to diminish that.

It wouldn't matter to me either way whether I were alone or not. It's nice to eat in company but I'm self-confident enough to eat alone if that's the situation at the time. I'm happy to let the other diners imagine their own story as to why I'm eating alone; they are of no consequence in the long-term. You never know who may want to sit with you and make your meal unexpectedly interesting. I do seem to attract the oddballs though. I suppose it takes one to know one and like attracts like... and all that. :)

Edited by StringJunky

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I do seem to attract the oddballs though.

 

Hey, Steal-The-Bacon is a legitimate breakfast game where I come from! And any novice knows you defend with your own fork, not your hand!

 

What, is NHS being stingy with the antibiotics?

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Hey, Steal-The-Bacon is a legitimate breakfast game where I come from! And any novice knows you defend with your own fork, not your hand!

 

What, is NHS being stingy with the antibiotics?

You can steal my bacon but don't poke my yolks or else it'll be an ambulance job for you!

 

I'll barter your sausages for my bacon; I'm reasonable like that. If I'm going to have a heart attack from eating processed fatty food I might as well do it properly. And it's 'red sauce' not 'tomato sauce' and I put it ON my food not BY my food, like posh folks. Oh, and it'll all end up being consumed as butties. Plenty of disdainful noses up in the air around me I'm afraid.

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You can steal my bacon but don't poke my yolks or else it'll be an ambulance job for you!

 

I'll barter your sausages for my bacon; I'm reasonable like that. If I'm going to have a heart attack from eating processed fatty food I might as well do it properly. And it's 'red sauce' not 'tomato sauce' and I put it ON my food not BY my food, like posh folks. Oh, and it'll all end up being consumed as butties. Plenty of disdainful noses up in the air around me I'm afraid.

 

Can I get some bacon too? I'll give you all my eggs; I'm definitely not an egg person ^_^

Edited by Function

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Can I get some bacon too? I'll give you all my eggs; I'm definitely not an egg person ^_^

Definitely! A gastronomic, cholesterolic orgasmit will do for me... and fast tracking to my maker! When I hit the deck I want my autopsy to read: "This guy has lived and run his body into the ground". :D I can never understand why people spend thousands to make sure they are in tip-top physical condition when they die.

Edited by StringJunky

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Can I get some bacon too?

 

You can try. I'm a classically trained forksman. It's quite possible you could lose your own on the riposte.

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You can try. I'm a classically trained forksman. It's quite possible you could lose your own on the riposte.

 

I dare you: we Belgians are known for our burgundian eating habits. Then again, I'm sure a food duel against Americans would be very spectacular, to say the least.

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I dare you: we Belgians are known for our burgundian eating habits. Then again, I'm sure a food duel against Americans would be very spectacular, to say the least.

 

A challenge, forks and sterotypes at close quarters!

 

Belgians are easy to steal bacon from! Make a feint at their waffles and they'll leave the meat wide open!

 

 

 

 

 

OK, maybe some people should eat alone. Anyone with their fork in a scabbard, for instance.

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A challenge, forks and sterotypes at close quarters!

 

Belgians are easy to steal bacon from! Make a feint at their waffles and they'll leave the meat wide open!

 

 

 

 

 

OK, maybe some people should eat alone. Anyone with their fork in a scabbard, for instance.

 

Unless you're dealing with a Belgian who prefers bacon over waffles anytime ;)

How did we get here?

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