This post isn't directed at any one person or a specific time. It's a reflection of some thoughts I've had as I've watched different peoples' reactions to my going to restaurants alone over the last few years. Some of the words are things I wish I'd had the opportunity and/or courage to say to people.
To All who have looked on me with pity when I sat and ate alone in a restaurant,
I saw the look you gave as the hostess led me to my seat and left me with only one menu. The moment you realized I was eating out alone. The pity that seemed to come because I was out alone.
I'm pretty sure you didn't realize you were doing it. That you didn't mean anything by it. That you would be shocked to know that was your reaction. But, I did notice it, because I've seen it often.
I'm not sure when it became strange or something to be pitied to be alone in a restaurant. Not so much when I'm grabbing lunch during a workday, that seems to be seen as okay. But in the evenings and on the weekends, the way people look at me seems to change. I don't know why there is a difference.
Yes, I'm out for supper alone. And you know what, I wouldn't be if I wasn't okay with that. It may look lonely to you, but that evening for me is fine. If I wasn't okay with being out alone and surrounded by couples or families that evening, I would have stayed home.
You see, I'm not married. I'm not dating. I don't have kids. I'm single and most of the time I'm okay with that fact.
I have good friends and a great family. I go out with them too sometimes. I don't always go out alone. But, when I do, it's because I feel like going out rather than cooking at home. Sometimes I just need to get out of the house.
I'll be honest . . . sometimes I'm not okay with being single, not okay with going out alone. Those times, I stay home. Or I phone a friend or a family member, and make plans with them.
It took me a while to get the point of being okay with going out alone. I didn't for a lot of years, and the first few times I did, I was incredibly self-conscious of the fact. But, the more I went out, the more comfortable I became with it. Now it doesn't bother me anymore.
Being okay with going out for dinner alone, doesn't mean I don't want to one day be out as a couple, or with a family of my own. I do. And hopefully, one day, that will be the case.
But, that hope and desire doesn't mean my life is on hold right now. I'm living my life to the fullness of what God has for me in this season of my life. And, more days than I'm not, I'm enjoying my life as it is. God has blessed me in more ways than I could ever imagine. While I don't have all I hope for, I still have a life that I love and really can't complain about.
Next time you see me eating alone in a restaurant, remember it's not a big deal to me. I'm okay with that tonight. I'm glad you're out with your husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, kids, or friends. Enjoy your evening and I'll enjoy mine too.
The single person sitting at the table next to you