SoloDiner Tip WINNERS for 2004!
To read the winning tips for 2005, click: 2004
THE How-to Booklet of Solo Dining Tips & Strategies:
The Art and Satisfaction of Dining Alone — REVEALED!
I travel on business six times a year or so, and dining is the WORST part of it! I'd would LOVE to see more recommendations for where a "solo" can eat without feeling like a social outcast.
One tip that some folks might like is to join an organization like Rotary. As a member, you are welcome to attend meetings anywhere in the country. They all involve a meal, and great conversation.
K. Killion — Chicago, Illinois
Great suggestion and good plug for a worthy organization.
I began dining out alone because I needed time on the road that was just for me — no business to discuss! The evening now becomes totally for me.
R. Jackson — San Francisco, California
If you're nervous eating alone, look for a share table — a large table set aside just for solo diners. They are very common in Europe. And while they are less common in the U.S., they are not unheard of in larger communities.
J. Barracks — Clear Lake, Iowa
It was very difficult at first for me to eat out alone. But after a while, I would exchange greetings with other solo diners like me — and soon I felt like I belonged.
P. Brown — Olympia , Washington
Select restaurants with low-back chairs, etc. that facilitate eye contact with others.
Bring something to read, but not a book.
Act like an important person.
J. Rehnquist — San Diego, California
I take a book to read or postcards to write. I also talk to the maitre d' or my waiter and ask them questions about the food, the chef and the history of the restaurant.
R. Rusinski — Atlantic City, New Jersey
To make solo dining easier, I pick restaurants I want to go to because of their quality in food/atmosphere. I don't go when I feel lonely.
E. Black — Baltimore, Maryland
I grew up in Germany where it is not "strange" to eat out alone, so I was surprised to discover that people in the U.S. feel sorry for solo diners.
My advise is to be assertive about where you're seated in a restaurant; it can make all the difference.
P.S. I met a nice guy who was out dining with a couple who sort of acted as "matchmakers" — cute!
W. Mitchell — San Francisco, California
When I first began dining solo, I felt people were staring at me; I didn't know how to occupy myself while my meal was being prepared.
I learned to select restaurants that cater to business people — not lovers.
I also try to get a table well situated for people-watching.
Name withheld by request
Order your meal as if you were escorted. Don't try to make the waiter your escort with cutesy stories, etc.
I really enjoy not feeling responsible for a female companion's inability to tip properly — having one ticket suits me.
A. Dickwis — Pinebluff, Arkansas
I've done several things to make solo dining easier. I decided to do what I want and to be more comfortable.
That has included requesting a table out of the traffic pattern, asking the staff to leave the extra place setting (It gave me a cushion of comfort while I was adjusting to eating alone.), and suggesting that a pleasant-looking individual share my table.
L. Brown — Colorado Springs, Colorado
I've never really thought about dining solo as being strange. It was something I did.
I guess to become comfortable doing it, you must know enough about yourself to understand how to entertain yourself.
F. Jackson — Evanston, Illinois
Planning a trip? Visit our sister website. Click here: SoloTravelPortal.com