dining alone

Posted in great tips!, just wanted to share, travels by tokyostargirl on January 20, 2010

When I first moved to Japan, I learned how to dine alone. I didn’t know anyone at first and when I did start meeting friends, we didn’t get the chance to meet up at every meal so I learned to be comfortable with eating alone. I didn’t cook as much back then as I did now and the ingredients for what I wanted to make were a bit hard (and expensive) to come by so I ate out a lot.

I’d be lying if I said I was comfortable with dining alone from the get-go. It definitely took quite a few tries to “get used to it.” I saw this article today and just had to share. These tips definitely helps the awkward feeling. Now you don’t have to be afraid to dine alone. Will you take the challenge and dine by yourself? Come on, do it!


by: Heather Wagner @ Better Homes and Gardens

If you’re single, travel for business, or just enjoy savoring a meal without small talk, you’ve probably had the experience of dining alone. This can be immensely pleasurable or incredibly daunting, depending on your temperament and overall approach. To ensure your next table-for-one adventure is as enjoyable as possible, offers up these time-tested tips for dining alone.

For fine dining at home, try these delicious DIY bistro menu ideas from

1. Be Bookish. Always come armed with reading material. Having something to read not only keeps you from getting bored but also serves as a shield against waitstaff pity or unwanted conversational overtures from fellow patrons. Keep in mind that certain reading choices are better than others due to their portability and fold-ability (good: Sports Illustrated bad: War and Peace). In fact, frequent dining alone might be the real motivation for investing in a Kindle – although be wary of spilled beverages!

2. Try The Bar. For many would-be solo diners, the fear of being surrounded by lovey-dovey couples or raucous groups can be prohibitive. Requesting a seat at the bar is a good solution: Most restaurants will serve the full menu, bar seating is casual and low-profile, and you’re likely to be surrounded by other content singletons.

3. Exude Confidence. Stride up to the host or hostess and proudly request your table. Never shrug or say, “just me” as though you’re apologizing. It takes guts to eat alone, and you should command the respect you deserve.

4. Eavesdrop. People in restaurants tend to be drinking, which often results in loud talking, over-sharing, bawdy jokes, or bitter marital brawls. Either way you can (discreetly) listen in on proximate tables and gain valuable insight into the human condition. Bonus points for detecting awkward first-time Internet dates.

5. Befriend Your Blackberry. Most of us are borderline addicted to checking our Blackberries or mobile phones. While it’s impolite to do this in the company of others, it’s an absolutely acceptable activity when you’re dining alone: Reading the news, checking your Twitter feed, fondly reading old emails from loved ones, or scanning your secret crush’s Facebook page…the wireless possibilities are endless.

6. Go, Team! Even if you’re not terribly into sports, if there’s a game playing, become a fan for the evening. You’ll be surprised how an entranced gaze up at the screen now and then will give you a sense of purpose, as will a well-timed groan of defeat or hearty fist-pumping “Yes!”

7. Think Like A Food Critic. Pretend you are reviewing the restaurant. Observe the nuances of each course, take in the presentation, note the faults and strengths of the décor and keep a sharp eye on the service. This puts you in a position of judgment – always empowering.

8. Life Is Short, Enjoy The Steak. Finally, remember to relax, enjoy yourself, and focus on the positives of solo dining. Just think: There will be no quibbling over who pays, no awkward pauses, and no drawn-out discussions about your companion’s relationship or work problems. You really can be your own best dinner date.



9 Responses

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  1. anniecat said, on January 21, 2010 at 8:25 AM

    Hi Love! Even though you guys are far away in CA, I still think of you regularly. Your photoshoots are getting better and better and I am taking notes on your helpful make up tips! Please don’t ever forget that you have so many people at home AND abroad who are missing you. (I’m blocked from FB at work so wanted to send you a quick note.) Hope to see you in Feb! ❤

    • tokyostargirl said, on January 21, 2010 at 1:34 PM

      Awww.. thanks for your words, Annie. They really mean a lot. I think of you often, too and hope that you’re well! Hope to see you soon!

  2. Tricia said, on January 21, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    I used to hate dining alone. Traveling for work for the past three years got me used it. Then again, most travelers at airports are business people. So we were all on the same boat.

    • tokyostargirl said, on January 21, 2010 at 1:35 PM

      Yeah, true. Most of the people that dine alone in Japan are men. They are business people, but not traveling for work — they just don’t have time to eat! Did you know there are a lot of restaurants that are standing only? You eat and run, literally.

  3. anh said, on January 21, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    i am A-OK in dining alone. it makes my mind at ease… but then i dont get as many alone time as i want. but you def did it all alone in japan. loves you!!!

    • tokyostargirl said, on January 21, 2010 at 1:35 PM

      Everyone just wants to be with you all the time, that’s why you don’t get enough alone time! Take a trip somewhere alone – you can really clear your mind. =) Love you, too!

  4. Faith said, on January 21, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    What a great post! I’ve been in a long-distance relationship for over 5 years, so dining alone comes with the territory. Your tips definitely help to make it more enjoyable.


    • tokyostargirl said, on January 21, 2010 at 1:37 PM

      Wow! 5 years? That is a LONG time! I was in one for 1 year and I thought that was forever. If you can handle being in a LD relationship for that long and make it work, it will be so great the day you guys get to be together forever…

  5. samizanerd said, on January 22, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    hi, thanks for the compliments. i love this post as i have mastered the art of dining solo. instead of the blackberry, i indulge myself w/ the iphone while dining alone. i use it as quiet time to read and come up to date with current/world affairs by reading news apps. =)

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