So you’ve been wanting to treat yourself to a relaxing four-course meal but don’t have a date? Go ahead and book a table for one because you won’t be alone—at least not figuratively. According to a recent analysis by OpenTable, the global leader in online restaurant reservations, the requests for parties of one have increased globally by 62 percent. And the people who prefer to dine alone, interestingly enough, are from highly populated cities—specifically, Dallas, Miami, Denver, New York, Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Chicago.
Unwinding by yourself with a steak and a glass of wine is nothing to feel awkward about. Rather than anxiously pulling out your phone and pretending to respond to important texts and emails, just enjoy and soak in these five benefits of eating alone. If you still feel like all eyes will be on you eating alone, make your reservation for one at one of these Top 25 Restaurants for Solo Diners in U.S. That way, you may be alone, but you won’t be the only one there eating by yourself.
1. Avoid Awkward Small Talk
Scheduling dinner with a friend, colleague, or your crazy Uncle Joe might mean sitting through and contributing to an hour-long conversation that just isn’t all that interesting. Eating alone means you avoid the awkward small talk as well as the bill-splitting debacle.
2. Get Into a Hot Restaurant
You’ve been dying to try that buzzy new restaurant but even when you call 30 days in advance, you can only get in at 5pm or 10pm. Go on your own and nab that single stool at the bar in between two coupled parties. Problem solved.
3. Get In Good With the Staff
Sitting at a table dressed in our finest fall accessories will easily make you more attractive. Now’s your chance to break the ice with the hot female bartender or at least make friends (and maybe get a free drink out of it.)
4. No One Will Judge What You Order
It’s hard to avoid the topic of food when you’re facing someone who’s staring at your every bite. It can be uncomfortable, and the food you’re ordering may be subtly or not-so-subtly judged. Eating in peace means you won’t feel like you have to order something heathier or less healthy (health shaming happens!) than you might otherwise.
5. You Can Relax
Without having to worry about waiting on or entertaining someone else, you can truely unwind and enjoy your meal in peace. Watch the game, read the news, stuff your face, or savor every bite. Spending some time by yourself can by healthy all by itself.