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Are you afraid to eat out alone?

A recent study discovered that 52% of business travellers are embarrassed to eat out when they’re on their own.

Researchers in America have studied the reluctance of people generally to do things on their own, such as eating out alone, visit museums or go to the cinema or theatre. They conducted an experiment in which some people visited an art gallery alone and some visited it with friends and concluded there was no difference at all. But the perception beforehand is going alone wouldn’t be so enjoyable.

The reason people tend not to go out and do things on their own is that they feel self-conscious and have a false expectation of how others will perceive them – known as the ‘spotlight effect’. We wind ourselves up by worrying people will think we’re alone because we have no friends (yeah right…), and will judge us accordingly. However, what the majority of us fail to take into account is the fact that the most likely scenario is that no-one will even notice us, let alone make any judgements.

If you’re in a restaurant alone, you will have the opportunity to look around the room and see for yourself that people are mostly too wrapped up in themselves to be interested what you’re doing. You’ll probably also notice that there are some tables where no-one’s even talking to each other, either because they’re busy checking their phones, or they’re having an awkward first date or both! In fact, it’s likely that because you’re on your own, friendly waiting staff will take the time to talk to you-you could end up having a more sociable meal than many of the other diners!

Loneliness or being alone – what’s the difference?

If you’re feeling slightly anxious about the prospect of eating out alone, it may be useful to understand the difference between being alone and being lonely.

Loneliness is a negative state leaving you feeling insecure and unhappy when you’re not with other people.

Being alone is a much more confident state-of-mind. The time you spend alone enables you to think for yourself, form your own opinions, and to be yourself. We often make better choices for ourselves after a period of being on our own, so it’s definitely something to experience. And what better way of testing the waters is to eat out alone next time you’re on a business trip. And you won’t be alone (so to speak) – in America, the number of restaurant bookings for single tables has been rising sharply, suggesting that these days, people are starting to care less about eating on their own.

However, if the thought really doesn’t appeal to you, there is an alternative – order a takeaway. Our serviced apartments come with fully equipped kitchens as well as dining tables and comfortable sofas, so you can eat what you like in the privacy of a home-from-home. And you won’t need to worry about what anyone else thinks because no-one else will be there!

Let us know on Twitter or Facebook if you don’t mind eating out alone or if you think it’s just plain weird!

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