Why We Should Learn To Eat Out Alone

We live in a culture where being alone has become almost impossible. The ever-increasing populations of Metro Manila aside, the Philippines is known to be one of the most social media-connected countries in the world. With an extensive list of family, workmates, friends, friends-of-friends, and your cousin’s ex who you should probably delete off your friends list but don’t want to be rude, all connected to you through the touch of a button—or is it more apt to say the press of a finger onto a digital image of a button on a touchscreen?—it is tempting at times of physical or mental solitude to send a message. But I wonder if we simply use it as a distraction instead of authentic interaction?

The buzzing and flashing of smartphones have become white noise in any eatery. It’s hardly considered rude or strange to have your phone with you at the dining table, whether to communicate, take photos, or scroll through photos of Tiny Trump and trying not to laugh your soda out of your nostrils. But perhaps in our desire to connect with others, document our lives, or stay updated on the latest within the zeitgeist, we lose the precious magic that comes with enjoying a meal: hearing the crunch of a salad, smelling the char off a freshly grilled cut of beef, feeling the velvet texture of a puréed potato.

Besides, when else would be the perfect time to consume a whole pizza to yourself without judgement?

Distracted eating can pose a health risk. People tend to overeat when they multitask: munching while working or watching a movie drives us to lose track of the food we mindlessly stuffing our faces with. We end up doing eating as a reflex instead of a conscious choice.

But beyond physical health, there is something to be said about eating out alone, and enjoying a truly satisfying meal in a beautiful ambiance with good service—and that means being disconnected from a device too. Without the distraction of a device or even a book, we are forced with being aware of the present. Though painful to some, the skill of getting used to it can deliver some insight.

Eating out alone brings in a sense of mindfulness to the practice of eating, which allows us to become fully aware of our plate and the flavors that it holds. It encourages us to savor each bite, and makes you more conscious of the food we consume. It can teach us to appreciate the quiet and the solitude, and learn to enjoy our own company—because in the end, the one person we have the learn to live with the most is ourselves.

Do you like eating out alone or have you never done it? Why or why not? Tell us below.

4 Responses

  1. I really don’t like eating out alone, but because I have been single for so long, I’ve had to get used to it. I used to sit at the bar and eat, but I don’t have as much money as then, so now I do like to sit at a table and make my enjoyment of the food my entertainment for the evening.

  2. With young people, they tend to do things in droves. That is why eating out alone for them is unthinkable.

    I enjoy doing things by myself, more so eating by myself. I have no problem with that. Being alone for me is pure bliss. I guess it goes with age.

  3. I really enjoy eating out alone. I do it 5 days in a week… Such a loner I am (BUT IT’S REALLY FUN). This is true; one must try to eat alone without any distractions because that’s when you’ll truly appreciate what’s in front of you in reality not in virtual reality. But also, some people, especially Filipinos, enjoy eating with a friend or with the whole family. Some people just cannot enjoy their food without someone to talk to or to share with how they like their food. I think it must be a practice for majority of people to just really set aside their gadgets during a meal to savor every bite, but in this fast-paced culture it’s really hard yet it’s worth trying!

    1. I think it just differs from everyone! I’m a loner-eater myself, and as one with naturally introverted tendencies, eating with other people (or any other form of multitasking, really, e.g. using social media apps, while eating) can feel overwhelming for me – personally, I’d rather focus on the food! But that’s just me, and I also understand why it’s different for others – there is also, albeit in a different sense, joy in being able to share sacred moments (ie., eating) with the people you love. The Philippine culture being a hugely communal one, it isn’t surprising for people here to view eating as a largely social activity that is best enjoyed with friends/family; this is not something I relate to personally, but I get how it means a lot to other people, and that’s totally cool! What I DO hate however is the seeming stigma – especially here in the Philippines, again, given our culture – against those of us who DO eat alone, as if it were such a tragic situation to be in. But there’s a huge difference between being alone and being *lonely*. I hope more people recognize that some people do in fact prefer eating by themselves and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that 🙂

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