Why I Love Eating Out Alone and You Should, Too

POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio
POPSUGAR Photography | Maria del Rio

"Here's your wine list, your menu . . . You want, like, a magazine or something? It's gonna be boring if you're just sitting by yourself." This scene in the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall when the waiter (Jonah Hill) seats Jason Segel's character is close to the reaction I get when I tell people I had dinner out alone. Cue the sad looks, the awkward "Oh!" exclamation, and my personal favorite, "I could never do that." But why not? Have you ever tried?

Eating alone may sound depressing, but it's actually the best way to dine. You don't have to keep up a conversation, you don't have to share, you have zero distractions, and you can focus on the most important thing: the food. That's why you came in the first place, right? As much as I enjoy good company and a good meal, sometimes it's nice to be able to separate the two. You can relax and have some time to think to yourself. People watching really is the best part. And the conversations that surround you are entertainment enough.

The first time I went to a restaurant by myself, I was having a terrible day. You'd think that eating alone would only make it worse but it was actually therapeutic. I didn't want to talk to anyone and I wanted to just shut out the world while I ate my damn food. I didn't text anyone back and I didn't scroll through Instagram. It was me, myself, and my heaping plate of spaghetti carbonara. Carbs really do solve any problem, but it was so great to enjoy my food without anyone else bothering me. I left that restaurant feeling significantly better.

Whether the spot is as casual as pizza or as fancy as a Michelin-star restaurant is unimportant. I'd argue that only when you're by yourself can you truly enjoy the slice or plate in front of you. Plus, you can be seated at the bar and don't have to wait as long. You've eaten at home solo plenty of times, I'm sure. So what's the difference?

The most awkward moment is when your waiter asks if you're waiting for anyone else, but usually they're the one who's more uncomfortable. It's all good once you get past that threshold. And there's no need to feel self-conscious. No one's judging you — except maybe that one person over there, but who cares about them? This is a meal for one and nobody else is invited.

So next time you find yourself craving good food without anyone to accompany you, just try to eat out alone. You might even find yourself preferring it that way.