June 19, 2024

The Fear is Real

Eating out alone even when you are not traveling makes you feel anxious. Most will stay home rather than face their fears of dining alone.  There is a name for this fear!  It is called solomangarephobia (pronounced so-low-man-gar-pho-bee-uh). I want to help you conquer your fears of solo dining.

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I’ve been traveling solo for many years, and it took many trips before I could go out and hear the phrase Dinner for ONE? And not cringe and want to crawl into a hole. I’m going to give you a few things to think about and hope it gets you past the fear of dining alone. We have all been there!

I have put a few thought practices in place to get me to this happy place in solo dining. It doesn’t happen overnight. I look forward to going to dinner alone. It is part of the day when I have time to just relax and just ‘be’.

You must reprogram your thoughts to get you where dining solo is a time you will look forward to. It will take a little mental practice to gain the confidence you need.  You can do it!

The fear is Real. It is common and you can overcome it. I want to get you where you are truly enjoying all aspects of your solo travels.

Let’s break it down. The fear is not being afraid of physically eating or going to restaurants alone. It is a phobia of eating in public and the unnerving feeling that others are judging you because you are dining alone. Men and women both suffer from this fear, and it is difficult for them to dine alone.

We are conditioned that being alone is a punishment. It needs to be viewed as a choice.

The first message you need to tell yourself is that you are CHOOSING to dine alone. You are not being punished but instead, you are quite happy that you are alone. Your choice.

Empowerment is Necessary

People will make up their own reason why you are dining alone. They think you don’t have friends, or you are a little depressed or stood up by someone.  That is far from what is really going on. It is an empowered woman (or man) choosing their own company to have a meal.  Think about it…if you were sad, you wouldn’t be sitting in a lively restaurant.

I can almost guarantee you that most people don’t even notice you. We just think they are.

Here are a few proven practices that will work if you apply each time you go out.

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Tell yourself that eating alone is a good thing! And remember people are not even noticing you but if they did, they are probably thinking “I wish I was her!”.  And when you see another woman dining alone remind yourself how empowered they are, not sad or depressed.

Have you dined with bad company just so you didn’t have to eat alone? Was it worth it? Probably not. It’s time you get comfortable just being in your own company.

  • Tell yourself the following: Eating alone is my choice and I’m not being punished. No one is judging me in a negative way.  Remember: Your thoughts unfold to be your reality.  
  • Start Assuming the Best Outcome, not the worst.
  • Don’t assume the worst. Or the worst will happen. Your life unfolds based on your thoughts. Picture yourself at the table having a wonderful meal and thinking wonderful thoughts about your life and the great day you just experienced.
  • You must give yourself permission to enjoy this time dining alone. You are not in time out or being punished.
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Preparation and Execution

You should dine out solo before you go on your trip to practice these new thoughts to empower you on your trip. Get dressed smart and feel confident. You deserve to look and feel good when you are solo. You do it for yourself, not for others.

  • Determine the environment that will make you the most comfortable. A quiet place? Outside dining? Go where you feel the most comfortable when you start these exercises.
  • Practice, practice, practice. The more you go solo and talk to yourself in a positive way the easier it gets until you won’t even think twice about it.
  • Just before you go out stand in front of the bathroom mirror and remind yourself that you are empowered and strong. Solo dining will not be what breaks you from enjoying all aspects of your life.
  • Don’t allow the café to tuck you away, unless that is what you need in the beginning. Stand up and politely voice your table choice.
  • Take a deep breath. No one is looking at you. No one has even noticed you.
  • Repeat your mantra “I am wonderful. I am a strong and an empowered woman.”
  • When making eye contact with others remember to smile. Remind them that you are not sad or lonely.
  • I entertain myself by making up fun stories about the people around me. It keeps my mind off the situation and makes me laugh.
  • Don’t hesitate to read a book or play a game on your devices. But try to only do it for as long as it takes to get over a mental bump when solo.
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Remember: You must practice for this to work. It gets easier each time.

Go out, repeat your mantra, and have a great meal! You deserve it.

Find your way to enjoy solo dining. You call the shots.

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Q1: What is solomangarephobia?

Solomangarephobia, pronounced so-low-man-gar-pho-bee-uh, is the fear of dining alone in public places. A common phobia can make individuals anxious about eating out solo, even when not traveling.

Q2: How can I overcome my fear of dining alone?

Overcoming the fear of dining alone requires mental practice and a change in perception. Start by telling yourself that dining alone is a choice, not a punishment. Empower yourself by recognizing that you choose your own company for a meal. Remember that most people are not even noticing you, and if they do, they may admire your independence. Practice positive thinking and assume the best outcome rather than fearing the worst.

Q3: Why do people often feel judged when dining alone?

The fear of being judged when dining alone stems from societal conditioning, where being alone is sometimes seen as negative. However, it is essential to reframe this perspective and view solo dining as a confident and empowering choice.

Q4: How can I prepare myself for dining solo?

Before going on your trip, practice dining alone in your local area. Dress confidently and choose an environment that makes you feel comfortable. Rehearse positive affirmations in front of a mirror and remind yourself that solo dining is a time for empowerment and enjoyment.

Q5: What can I do to feel more at ease when dining alone?

To feel more at ease when dining solo, try engaging in activities that distract your mind from any discomfort. Make up fun stories about the people around you, read a book, or play a game on your devices. However, remember that the goal is to gradually become more comfortable without relying on distractions.

Q6: How can I handle potential discomfort at a restaurant?

If you feel uncomfortable or isolated at a restaurant, please voice your table choice politely. Choose an environment that suits your preferences, whether a quiet spot or outdoor dining. Remember that you are in control and deserve to enjoy your meal in a way that makes you feel good.

Q7: How can I cope with the fear of being noticed or judged?

Remind yourself that most people are not paying attention to you dining alone. If you make eye contact with others, smile to show that you are content and not lonely. Positive body language and self-assured behavior can help ease any concerns about being noticed.

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