You walk in to a restaurant on your own, you’re hungry, you want a nice meal without the company. You are confronted with what seem to be looks of judgement and pity as you are shown to your seat. As time passes, fellow diners all in groups of two or more, play a game: Lonely Diner or Jilted Date. You begin to feel a bit self-conscious and before you know it, you ask for your food to go and you dash out of there.

As a perpetual solo diner (and solo moviegoer, and solo theatre-goer…) I front the campaign for the importance of taking yourself out on a date. It seems an unnecessary task to some (what’s the point? I hear some of you say). Truthfully, it’s a fantastic way to get to know oneself. It’s a great way to truly appreciate your own company and boost your self-confidence. Because you realise that people’s opinions on why it is that you – a woman, single or otherwise – are out on your own, matters not. Below are a few points on how to eat alone without looking like a crazy cat lady (there’s nothing wrong with cats but people associate them with loneliness the higher the population in your home).

Start small – Why not try this out with breakfast or lunch first? It’s a great way to ease into the far more mountainous task of confidently saying: “Table for 1, please!” at a fancy restaurant at peak time.

 Research the Restaurant –You’ve already eliminated one daunting task by choosing your restaurant of choice in advance and making a reservation. You’re also one step closer to committing to your night out with yourself. This also and obviously includes having a look at the menu before you commit to it. Nothing quite as awkward as going to a restaurant, sitting down and realising, A. you don’t understand what these fancy, possibly foreign words mean; B. you hate or are allergic to almost everything on the menu or C. the place is above your budget!

Dress comfortably – This is not the time to break in your new heels or debut that bandage dress. Be cute but comfortable for your first date with yourself.

Take a book or a copy of Genevieve! – I love to have options. If I’m inbetween books, I take an old faithful book or I grab my favourite magazine and I go. It beats staring at your phone and draining the battery life.

Be Confident –It’s a great exercise in improving one’s self-esteem! Be that woman who turns heads when she walks into a room, simply because she looks like she owns the place! Have an alter ego, if you must, but be that woman! Walk in there in your cute but comfortable outfit, say proudly, “Table for one, please.” Walk to your seat with pride, you’re taking yourself out for a fine dinning experience. You enjoy your own company. Why should you be nervous or afraid! Enjoy your meal, toast yourself and go on to conquer bigger mountains!

Remember, ultimately no one cares – People are self-absorbed. You walk in, you sit down, they may look but it serves them no purpose spending their evening focusing on you, when they could be focusing on themselves and hopefully the people they are there with. You don’t factor in to their lives so don’t ruin your evening thinking people are judging you….

…But you can be an observer ¬– People-watching is one of my favourite low-stakes pastimes. You can indulge yourself in some observations, while enjoying your glass of wine, in-between reading your book, and waiting for your food! You get to play games like: First Date or Married Couple and many more.

Illustrations by: Adegbemire Adebimpe

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