Eating Out Alone While Widowed…

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How to eat out alone and

learn to enjoy it in easy steps


Mary Lee is a Grief Coach


The loss of a spouse has a unique way of beating down our spirits and robbing us of our self-confidence.  Suddenly, we are left to explore the world all by ourselves. One of the most ordinary of experiences becomes quite daunting. Eating out alone while widowed is another in the avalanche of skills you need to master. Here are some tips to turn that activity from one you dread into something you look forward to, or at least in which you can find some pleasure.


  • Bring a book, a newspaper, an Ipad or read your smartphone. It gives you something to do while waiting for service. It also makes you look like a confident business traveler.


  • Walk in like you own the place….because you do! At least your greenbacks are paying for your table space and your meal. Head up, crown on! This is an exercise in “fake it ‘til you make it”.


  • Starting at the hostess station…refrain from using the word “just”, as in “just one”. It sounds apologetic. Why would you apologize? You are a paying customer who has done nothing wrong.


  • While it’s not likely you’ll get a booth if the restaurant is busy, don’t hesitate to make a reasonable request for the table you want. The tables near a window are good. You also have an advantage at a diner if it’s crowded. You can opt to sit at the counter and be seated right away, no waiting.


  • Remember that almost everyone is too interested in themselves and their own meal to pay much attention to you. When you feel like everyone is staring at you, thinking “that poor dear!”, they aren’t. They are centered on themselves, not you. Most of that is your own imagination.


  • Sit facing the door. For some reason, it makes you feel more secure.


  • Eating alone publically is a lot like whistling in the dark. If you pretend to be confident and self-assured, pretty soon you are.


  • Often, the staff can be friendly. Let them! Engage in pleasant small talk, without telling them your whole life story. Too much information is a bad idea from a security standpoint, and it’s off-putting. At the same time, don’t beat yourself up too much if you do just that. Lord knows, I told anybody with a pulse my story in the first 3 months.


  • If you find a place you like, a place where you feel comfortable and enjoy the food, frequent it often. Not only will you grow to feel quite at ease there, but the staff will get to know you and some casual friendships will likely start.


  • Tip well!  It’s a sure-fire way to having the staff take good care of you.  If your budget is tight, go to less expensive restaurants, but never skimp on a tip. That’s just stingy, and it won’t get you good service next time.





OK, now that you’ve survived this dining adventure, you know that you can, and moreover, you can do it again. Go make a list of all the spots you want to visit. If you can’t find anybody to join you? Go all by your own self…because you can! And because “can’t never did anything”!



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