Someone actually said that to me once: “You’re eating by yourself? At least your food will keep you company” and then proceeded to laugh at their own, not so funny joke. There was one thing I was determined to do before I finished my freshman year: Eat by myself. The majority of the time during my freshman year, I never ate alone. Now you’re probably thinking, ‘well how is that a problem if you’ve never eaten by yourself? Clearly, you’re so charismatic and wonderful that people would always want to eat with you.’ Yes, that is true, but the thing was, I didn’t see it as a problem. I saw it more as a fear that I needed to conquer.
It may sound ridiculous, but I thought if I ate by myself that people would judge me and think I’m weird and have no friends. Inevitably, you’re not always going to have people to eat with and when this happens you have two options: 1) don’t eat anything, which I don’t recommend at all or 2) eat by yourself. I had seen people in the dining hall eat by themselves and thought ‘if they can do it, so can I.’
I decided on a Saturday afternoon during the second semester of my freshman year that I would finally eat alone. I didn’t tell any of my friends I was going to Campion and snuck out of McShain to go to the dining hall. When I got there I saw a friend who had food in his to go container to take with him to another friend’s. He asked who I came with and I said no one. He asked if I was eating alone and I stammered out an “ummmmmmmm yeah” to which he offered to stay and eat with me.
I tried explaining that I was voluntarily choosing to eat alone, that it was something I HAD to do and that though I would’ve loved to eat with him, I had to decline. He looked at me with a confused expression on his face and asked if I was sure, to which I said yes. He told me to have fun. I sat near the windows towards the back of Campion and sat down with my brunch. I used my phone to entertain me, since there was no one to talk to and you know what? I survived!
I have no problem eating alone anymore. In fact, sometimes I look forward to it. I like having time to myself and it gives me time to relax to read for fun or listen to music. Though I prefer eating with others, I do enjoy eating by myself. So go ahead. Try it at least once, just so you know you can do it. You just might just like it.