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This room is for supportive and informative discussion about divorce and/or the annulment process. All posters must have been previously divorced or annulled.

Saint Eugene De Mazenod is patron of dysfunctional families & Saint Fabiola obtained a divorce from her first husband prior to devoting her life to charitable works.
Learn More: Saint Eugene De Mazenod and Saint Fabiola

EATING OUT ALONE: The Empty Chair

I recently started "snack eating" in front of the computer because I HATE eating out alone. I love to cook but making a really nice dinner and then eating it alone can be very depressing. And then I have leftovers to toss out. It gets weary hearing, “Just freeze the leftovers” because they pile up and end up in the dumpster anyway. Why delay the inevitable? Now I know I deserve to go out for a nice dinner now and then but it’s an endurance contest just to get through the experience.

First you have to brave the gauntlet at the check in counter. The host/ess always says, "JUST one?" as if I'm some sort of freak. Most of the time they look around as if they just cannot believe you are eating by yourself. I mean, who does that, right? Well I beg to differ. You cannot tell me in this world where we are all busy that I'm the ONLY person who is a party for one for the entire day. I usually bring my Nook or a magazine, but sometimes I have to leave. If they start playing sad music I’m hit. I've had times where I started crying. It’s also a cultural thing for me. I come from an Irish-Italian background and Italians believe that eating is a social event/family time. If I focus on reading I can "endure" it but if eating out is always an endurance contest what is the point? I might as well nuke a frozen meal and sit at home and surf the internet. This reminds me of the movie “The Lonely Guy” with Steve Martin. Remember when he goes to the fancy diner alone? Then a HUGE spotlight shines on him as he walks to his table and stays shining on him so badly he can barely read the menu. He flags over the waiter and asks if they could please turn off the spotlight. It’s a funny scene but as a person who always has to eat alone I find myself feeling as if I’m dining under that spotlight. I know it’s self-imposed and just some mental pressure I put on myself but it can be a lonely thing to eat without company.

I remember one night I wanted to go to a fancy place; a steakhouse or out for seafood and I had extra money. I remember trying to call
everyone I know and posting things on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to go out to eat with me and that I would pay the entire bill. I explained I just didn’t want to eat alone. No one responded. All I can say is, that was a bad night. I got sucked into my negativity thinking, “Wow I can’t even PAY someone to eat with me.” I went home and ate a 2.00 pizza. I’d rather pay for someone’s meal than face the empty chair across from me.

With the rude host or hostess I actually visualize having some fun and saying, "No it's not a party of one, it's a party of two”. (Pointing
to an empty space beside me) “My imaginary friend Hello Kitty is here with me. What's wrong with you? Don't you see her standing here?” (Then I would lean forward and whisper in a threatening tone) “She doesn't like it when people ignore her.”

Then I could order us both drinks and food and talk to her and laugh. I could also flag down the server and explain that Hello Kitty’s fork is dirty and her fries are cold and ask for a clean fork and hotter fries. I could say, “You know she’s too embarrassed to say anything but I expect better
treatment than this.” It would be funny and since I work with mentally ill adults I could certainly pull of that “performance". I would also ask the server to put our bills on separate checks and I could even have Hello Kitty leave a dollar or 2 towards the tip (maybe Hello Kitty dollars?). Out of all the people to eat out with I have to pick Hello Kitty because I love Hello Kitty—I am 50-year-old kid, what can I say?

I realize that eating out alone, like many things I have to deal with as a newly divorced woman, is something I have to get used to doing. I have to not beat myself up if it takes time to get used to it and if I take time not feeling sad. It is my hope that I can just become comfortable with my own company and not worry what people think or feel as I have that blasted spotlight over my head.

I heard a friend on Facebook complaining that she had to cook dinner and wasn’t feeling well. I realize that maybe my being free to have
popcorn, string cheese and no-bake cookies for dinner isn’t so bad after all. I have no one to harp or complain, and I can eat at whatever time I wish.

Today I was sitting in my car stuffing my face with a Big Mac in the McDonald’s parking lot. I saw a man eating and looking off in the distance with a sad facial expression. I realized I’m not alone at all. Many of us are hiding out, trying to find a way to eat and not have to face the empty
chair. He looked over and I waved and smiled. He smiled back and we continued our “meal”, kindred spirits in a world that says it’s not OK to eat alone. For one brief moment we connected and then we went on with our solo lives. I said a prayer for him, and for all of us who are on our own at a point in our lives when we were just sure we would have someone, that somehow we find joy in our solo living.

I know that while my friends/family aren’t with me in person they are with me in my heart and what really matters is that I’m loved. I am truly
loved by them and my God. So I always make sure I say grace and give thanks to God that I have money to buy a meal when so many don’t. I can walk into a diner and know that it just takes time to get used to living and dining solo. I will be OK.

How about you? How do you handle dining alone?

As for me, hand me my Nook and give me my table. I’m in the mood for Chinese buffet. And bring me 2 sets of chopsticks; Hello Kitty wants to learn how to use them.

God bless you,

Lorrie hellokitty

07/11/2012 new

(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said: EATING OUT ALONE: The Empty Chair I recently started "snack eating" in front of...
(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said:

EATING OUT ALONE: The Empty Chair

I recently started "snack eating" in front of the computer because I HATE eating out alone. I love to cook but making a really nice dinner and then eating it alone can be very depressing. And then I have leftovers to toss out. It gets weary hearing, “Just freeze the leftovers” because they pile up and end up in the dumpster anyway. Why delay the inevitable? Now I know I deserve to go out for a nice dinner now and then but it’s an endurance contest just to get through the experience.

First you have to brave the gauntlet at the check in counter. The host/ess always says, "JUST one?" as if I'm some sort of freak. Most of the time they look around as if they just cannot believe you are eating by yourself. I mean, who does that, right? Well I beg to differ. You cannot tell me in this world where we are all busy that I'm the ONLY person who is a party for one for the entire day. I usually bring my Nook or a magazine, but sometimes I have to leave. If they start playing sad music I’m hit. I've had times where I started crying. It’s also a cultural thing for me. I come from an Irish-Italian background and Italians believe that eating is a social event/family time. If I focus on reading I can "endure" it but if eating out is always an endurance contest what is the point? I might as well nuke a frozen meal and sit at home and surf the internet. This reminds me of the movie “The Lonely Guy” with Steve Martin. Remember when he goes to the fancy diner alone? Then a HUGE spotlight shines on him as he walks to his table and stays shining on him so badly he can barely read the menu. He flags over the waiter and asks if they could please turn off the spotlight. It’s a funny scene but as a person who always has to eat alone I find myself feeling as if I’m dining under that spotlight. I know it’s self-imposed and just some mental pressure I put on myself but it can be a lonely thing to eat without company.

I remember one night I wanted to go to a fancy place; a steakhouse or out for seafood and I had extra money. I remember trying to call
everyone I know and posting things on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to go out to eat with me and that I would pay the entire bill. I explained I just didn’t want to eat alone. No one responded. All I can say is, that was a bad night. I got sucked into my negativity thinking, “Wow I can’t even PAY someone to eat with me.” I went home and ate a 2.00 pizza. I’d rather pay for someone’s meal than face the empty chair across from me.

With the rude host or hostess I actually visualize having some fun and saying, "No it's not a party of one, it's a party of two”. (Pointing
to an empty space beside me) “My imaginary friend Hello Kitty is here with me. What's wrong with you? Don't you see her standing here?” (Then I would lean forward and whisper in a threatening tone) “She doesn't like it when people ignore her.”

Then I could order us both drinks and food and talk to her and laugh. I could also flag down the server and explain that Hello Kitty’s fork is dirty and her fries are cold and ask for a clean fork and hotter fries. I could say, “You know she’s too embarrassed to say anything but I expect better
treatment than this.” It would be funny and since I work with mentally ill adults I could certainly pull of that “performance". I would also ask the server to put our bills on separate checks and I could even have Hello Kitty leave a dollar or 2 towards the tip (maybe Hello Kitty dollars?). Out of all the people to eat out with I have to pick Hello Kitty because I love Hello Kitty—I am 50-year-old kid, what can I say?

I realize that eating out alone, like many things I have to deal with as a newly divorced woman, is something I have to get used to doing. I have to not beat myself up if it takes time to get used to it and if I take time not feeling sad. It is my hope that I can just become comfortable with my own company and not worry what people think or feel as I have that blasted spotlight over my head.

I heard a friend on Facebook complaining that she had to cook dinner and wasn’t feeling well. I realize that maybe my being free to have
popcorn, string cheese and no-bake cookies for dinner isn’t so bad after all. I have no one to harp or complain, and I can eat at whatever time I wish.

Today I was sitting in my car stuffing my face with a Big Mac in the McDonald’s parking lot. I saw a man eating and looking off in the distance with a sad facial expression. I realized I’m not alone at all. Many of us are hiding out, trying to find a way to eat and not have to face the empty
chair. He looked over and I waved and smiled. He smiled back and we continued our “meal”, kindred spirits in a world that says it’s not OK to eat alone. For one brief moment we connected and then we went on with our solo lives. I said a prayer for him, and for all of us who are on our own at a point in our lives when we were just sure we would have someone, that somehow we find joy in our solo living.

I know that while my friends/family aren’t with me in person they are with me in my heart and what really matters is that I’m loved. I am truly
loved by them and my God. So I always make sure I say grace and give thanks to God that I have money to buy a meal when so many don’t. I can walk into a diner and know that it just takes time to get used to living and dining solo. I will be OK.

How about you? How do you handle dining alone?

As for me, hand me my Nook and give me my table. I’m in the mood for Chinese buffet. And bring me 2 sets of chopsticks; Hello Kitty wants to learn how to use them.

God bless you,

Lorrie

--hide--


Lorrie, there are other options - at least here, hopefully in your area too. I go to the Cathedral here for church (it's closest to me) and they have a dinner once a month at a different restaurant each time - anyone is welcome and it usually runs $35 or so for full meal.
I've also seen group/social dining events on meetup.com (and if you haven't looked at meetup.com, you really should) - these are groups, primarily for singles, but also couples (and many of the singles groups are not young singles but people our age and older) that meet for dinners at various restaurants. In Chicago, there are a few restaurants that have what are called communal dining tables. You sit at tables for 8 or whatever with other people - some single, some on dates. I did it once by myself and had a lovely conversation with a much younger single woman there. If you don't have a dining group in your area/church/etc., you could always start one! I bet you would find some takers - it's just a matter of persistence and advertising. That said, I've eaten out alone many times. Really, no one cares or is watching you, and if the hostess is rude that is their problem, not mine - I just wouldn't likely go back to that restaurant. I have found it easiest to eat alone in restaurants while travelling whether on business or on vacation - because many people in that situations are eating alone, and I've actually ended up having conversations at people sitting at the table next to me. It just requires a change of attitude - not in other people, but in ourselves (as is true of virtually everything in life). So, I hope to hear sometime in the forum, that you had a great meal either dining alone or in a dining group that you either found or created!

07/11/2012 new

(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said: EATING OUT ALONE: The Empty Chair I recently started "snack eating" in front of...
(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said:

EATING OUT ALONE: The Empty Chair

I recently started "snack eating" in front of the computer because I HATE eating out alone. I love to cook but making a really nice dinner and then eating it alone can be very depressing. And then I have leftovers to toss out. It gets weary hearing, “Just freeze the leftovers” because they pile up and end up in the dumpster anyway. Why delay the inevitable? Now I know I deserve to go out for a nice dinner now and then but it’s an endurance contest just to get through the experience.

First you have to brave the gauntlet at the check in counter. The host/ess always says, "JUST one?" as if I'm some sort of freak. Most of the time they look around as if they just cannot believe you are eating by yourself. I mean, who does that, right? Well I beg to differ. You cannot tell me in this world where we are all busy that I'm the ONLY person who is a party for one for the entire day. I usually bring my Nook or a magazine, but sometimes I have to leave. If they start playing sad music I’m hit. I've had times where I started crying. It’s also a cultural thing for me. I come from an Irish-Italian background and Italians believe that eating is a social event/family time. If I focus on reading I can "endure" it but if eating out is always an endurance contest what is the point? I might as well nuke a frozen meal and sit at home and surf the internet. This reminds me of the movie “The Lonely Guy” with Steve Martin. Remember when he goes to the fancy diner alone? Then a HUGE spotlight shines on him as he walks to his table and stays shining on him so badly he can barely read the menu. He flags over the waiter and asks if they could please turn off the spotlight. It’s a funny scene but as a person who always has to eat alone I find myself feeling as if I’m dining under that spotlight. I know it’s self-imposed and just some mental pressure I put on myself but it can be a lonely thing to eat without company.

I remember one night I wanted to go to a fancy place; a steakhouse or out for seafood and I had extra money. I remember trying to call
everyone I know and posting things on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to go out to eat with me and that I would pay the entire bill. I explained I just didn’t want to eat alone. No one responded. All I can say is, that was a bad night. I got sucked into my negativity thinking, “Wow I can’t even PAY someone to eat with me.” I went home and ate a 2.00 pizza. I’d rather pay for someone’s meal than face the empty chair across from me.

With the rude host or hostess I actually visualize having some fun and saying, "No it's not a party of one, it's a party of two”. (Pointing
to an empty space beside me) “My imaginary friend Hello Kitty is here with me. What's wrong with you? Don't you see her standing here?” (Then I would lean forward and whisper in a threatening tone) “She doesn't like it when people ignore her.”

Then I could order us both drinks and food and talk to her and laugh. I could also flag down the server and explain that Hello Kitty’s fork is dirty and her fries are cold and ask for a clean fork and hotter fries. I could say, “You know she’s too embarrassed to say anything but I expect better
treatment than this.” It would be funny and since I work with mentally ill adults I could certainly pull of that “performance". I would also ask the server to put our bills on separate checks and I could even have Hello Kitty leave a dollar or 2 towards the tip (maybe Hello Kitty dollars?). Out of all the people to eat out with I have to pick Hello Kitty because I love Hello Kitty—I am 50-year-old kid, what can I say?

I realize that eating out alone, like many things I have to deal with as a newly divorced woman, is something I have to get used to doing. I have to not beat myself up if it takes time to get used to it and if I take time not feeling sad. It is my hope that I can just become comfortable with my own company and not worry what people think or feel as I have that blasted spotlight over my head.

I heard a friend on Facebook complaining that she had to cook dinner and wasn’t feeling well. I realize that maybe my being free to have
popcorn, string cheese and no-bake cookies for dinner isn’t so bad after all. I have no one to harp or complain, and I can eat at whatever time I wish.

Today I was sitting in my car stuffing my face with a Big Mac in the McDonald’s parking lot. I saw a man eating and looking off in the distance with a sad facial expression. I realized I’m not alone at all. Many of us are hiding out, trying to find a way to eat and not have to face the empty
chair. He looked over and I waved and smiled. He smiled back and we continued our “meal”, kindred spirits in a world that says it’s not OK to eat alone. For one brief moment we connected and then we went on with our solo lives. I said a prayer for him, and for all of us who are on our own at a point in our lives when we were just sure we would have someone, that somehow we find joy in our solo living.

I know that while my friends/family aren’t with me in person they are with me in my heart and what really matters is that I’m loved. I am truly
loved by them and my God. So I always make sure I say grace and give thanks to God that I have money to buy a meal when so many don’t. I can walk into a diner and know that it just takes time to get used to living and dining solo. I will be OK.

How about you? How do you handle dining alone?

As for me, hand me my Nook and give me my table. I’m in the mood for Chinese buffet. And bring me 2 sets of chopsticks; Hello Kitty wants to learn how to use them.

God bless you,

Lorrie

--hide--

I have always chosen to enjoy eating out alone since being divorced and even when my ex took the boys camping for the weekend when we were married. I embrace that time alone. At first I would take something to read depending on the place. Others, there was usually music I listened to while I ate. I usually go out to eat after church and read my bulletin.

I am quite comfortable eating alone. There have been very few times I wished I had someone with me. I figure that one day someone will be across the table from me but, not for now.

flower

07/11/2012 new

I faced this pretty quickly - at home, it wasn't an issue as I have my parents, my son, my brother, and a cat running around. Dining out I faced for business on a trip. I picked somewhere I could sit at the bar and I ended up in a nice conversation with two ladies from Boston. Unfortunately, sitting at the bar also meant there were drunken folks leaning over me to get drinks and it was difficult to perch on that stool and get my meal (I'm only 5'4" and I think at one point I dropped my purse). The next day I went to a sit-down restaurant and told the server I didn't care if it was a table or booth.

The first time I wanted to see a movie nobody else wanted to go see, though? Rough, rough, rough. I made myself go do it, but it was discouraging because there was nobody to talk to about it, I had been out with groups of people before but by myself...meh. (I should add that I have to drive 30 minutes to a theatre, so it was also driving there and back by myself which may have had something to do with it.)

I think part of it is that depending where you are, people may or may not be willing to talk to you. I love talking to people to find out their stories and my son does it too. Both of us have a tendency to try and start conversations with total strangers, which sort of shocks a lot of people nowadays. Think about it, we're buried in smartphones and such. Yet I've had lovely conversations with waitresses, grocery clerks, other shoppers at the store, and all because I randomly asked something. I may never see some folks again - the lady telling me about how her grandmother made cane syrup - but it was still fun.

07/11/2012 new

Its not my favorite thing to do Lorrie , but a guy has to eat, and I'm a loner for the most part. I usually, sit at a counter or the bar.. Most places have a TV goin all the time, or I read somethin. Hell most people nowadays got their noses stuck in their cellphones textin. So, I'm not sure they even notice that I'm by myself... hehe...

07/11/2012 new

I have dined out alone & other various activities. I also discovered meetup.com as previously mentioned. Its a great way to meet people. I would rather be out doing something then sitting home alone.

07/11/2012 new

Lorrie,

In general, I feel it is much more difficult for women doing things alone than men especially dining. They enjoy holding conversation with another or others whether men or women. In today's times if you live in a large city, it would be safer for women being out with others than alone. When I dine alone, I always bring something to read as I have always been an avid reader. I would prefer dining, going to a movie or just about anything else with a woman. If not, I don't keep that from me doing fun events. I have never had a problem entertaining myself.

Pat offered some great alternatives. Possibly you can get close to some single women at church that are also single and don't like dining alone. Possibly in your area that is not an option.

Lorrie, it will get better. If I lived in your area, I would meet you for dinner and would even do the paying.

I pray a loving, caring man enters your life - very soon.


Blessings, Praying hug rose

Leon

07/11/2012 new

(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said: EATING OUT ALONE: The Empty Chair I recently started "snack eating" in front of...
(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said:

EATING OUT ALONE: The Empty Chair

I recently started "snack eating" in front of the computer because I HATE eating out alone. I love to cook but making a really nice dinner and then eating it alone can be very depressing. And then I have leftovers to toss out. It gets weary hearing, “Just freeze the leftovers” because they pile up and end up in the dumpster anyway. Why delay the inevitable? Now I know I deserve to go out for a nice dinner now and then but it’s an endurance contest just to get through the experience.

First you have to brave the gauntlet at the check in counter. The host/ess always says, "JUST one?" as if I'm some sort of freak. Most of the time they look around as if they just cannot believe you are eating by yourself. I mean, who does that, right? Well I beg to differ. You cannot tell me in this world where we are all busy that I'm the ONLY person who is a party for one for the entire day. I usually bring my Nook or a magazine, but sometimes I have to leave. If they start playing sad music I’m hit. I've had times where I started crying. It’s also a cultural thing for me. I come from an Irish-Italian background and Italians believe that eating is a social event/family time. If I focus on reading I can "endure" it but if eating out is always an endurance contest what is the point? I might as well nuke a frozen meal and sit at home and surf the internet. This reminds me of the movie “The Lonely Guy” with Steve Martin. Remember when he goes to the fancy diner alone? Then a HUGE spotlight shines on him as he walks to his table and stays shining on him so badly he can barely read the menu. He flags over the waiter and asks if they could please turn off the spotlight. It’s a funny scene but as a person who always has to eat alone I find myself feeling as if I’m dining under that spotlight. I know it’s self-imposed and just some mental pressure I put on myself but it can be a lonely thing to eat without company.

I remember one night I wanted to go to a fancy place; a steakhouse or out for seafood and I had extra money. I remember trying to call
everyone I know and posting things on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to go out to eat with me and that I would pay the entire bill. I explained I just didn’t want to eat alone. No one responded. All I can say is, that was a bad night. I got sucked into my negativity thinking, “Wow I can’t even PAY someone to eat with me.” I went home and ate a 2.00 pizza. I’d rather pay for someone’s meal than face the empty chair across from me.

With the rude host or hostess I actually visualize having some fun and saying, "No it's not a party of one, it's a party of two”. (Pointing
to an empty space beside me) “My imaginary friend Hello Kitty is here with me. What's wrong with you? Don't you see her standing here?” (Then I would lean forward and whisper in a threatening tone) “She doesn't like it when people ignore her.”

Then I could order us both drinks and food and talk to her and laugh. I could also flag down the server and explain that Hello Kitty’s fork is dirty and her fries are cold and ask for a clean fork and hotter fries. I could say, “You know she’s too embarrassed to say anything but I expect better
treatment than this.” It would be funny and since I work with mentally ill adults I could certainly pull of that “performance". I would also ask the server to put our bills on separate checks and I could even have Hello Kitty leave a dollar or 2 towards the tip (maybe Hello Kitty dollars?). Out of all the people to eat out with I have to pick Hello Kitty because I love Hello Kitty—I am 50-year-old kid, what can I say?

I realize that eating out alone, like many things I have to deal with as a newly divorced woman, is something I have to get used to doing. I have to not beat myself up if it takes time to get used to it and if I take time not feeling sad. It is my hope that I can just become comfortable with my own company and not worry what people think or feel as I have that blasted spotlight over my head.

I heard a friend on Facebook complaining that she had to cook dinner and wasn’t feeling well. I realize that maybe my being free to have
popcorn, string cheese and no-bake cookies for dinner isn’t so bad after all. I have no one to harp or complain, and I can eat at whatever time I wish.

Today I was sitting in my car stuffing my face with a Big Mac in the McDonald’s parking lot. I saw a man eating and looking off in the distance with a sad facial expression. I realized I’m not alone at all. Many of us are hiding out, trying to find a way to eat and not have to face the empty
chair. He looked over and I waved and smiled. He smiled back and we continued our “meal”, kindred spirits in a world that says it’s not OK to eat alone. For one brief moment we connected and then we went on with our solo lives. I said a prayer for him, and for all of us who are on our own at a point in our lives when we were just sure we would have someone, that somehow we find joy in our solo living.

I know that while my friends/family aren’t with me in person they are with me in my heart and what really matters is that I’m loved. I am truly
loved by them and my God. So I always make sure I say grace and give thanks to God that I have money to buy a meal when so many don’t. I can walk into a diner and know that it just takes time to get used to living and dining solo. I will be OK.

How about you? How do you handle dining alone?

As for me, hand me my Nook and give me my table. I’m in the mood for Chinese buffet. And bring me 2 sets of chopsticks; Hello Kitty wants to learn how to use them.

God bless you,

Lorrie

--hide--
Hi Lorrie, if it is the going out part that is the hardest, perhaps you could arrange to chat or skype with friends at an agreed meal time. Then others could be added. At some point a comfort level could be achieved such that you could move the meals "out" to an informal, relaxed place to eat.


There are as many "meeting" lines as there are host/hostesses. Mostly folks will prolly respond with interest to a smile and a question about the cuisine, history of the restaurant, difficulty of managing a crowded dining room, etc. Good hosts/hostesses are glad for an understanding word or phrase. They usually want to be on your side for the opportunity to earn your repeat business. If you are bold, you could indicate willingness to share your table during "busy" times. Everyone around you is potentially the scintillating conversation about ______ that you haven't had in a long time. At some point, everyone else around has been alone too. You might be surprised how much you have in common with people you randomly meet.


Perhaps trying a different type of restaurant/food once a week as a planned exercise.... While going to a new place, look at the neighborhood, listen to the kids on the street, use the imaginary camera to capture the best image of the evening. "Neighborhood", and "diner" type places are fun. Introduce yourself to the counter person or oldest waitperson, chat a bit, and often you will be in a circle of "regulars" after a few visits. Compliment the folks you meet, they will remember you !


We can't control why, how, when, where God drops us into some cold, rough, and "lonely" spots. We do get to choose how we respond. Often there are warm, smooth, companianable folks nearby just waiting for us to notice them and open a conversation.

07/11/2012 new
Over the years, I have developed a few strategies. I joined several meet up groups. One group is my favorite since I join them to serve meals on holidays when I would be with out family, I met more single friends ( tonight I was suppose to go.out with one and she cancelled- bummer), I have invited single mom friends and their kids sometimes I get invited to their home. I learned to love eating at work where I can share a meal with other teachers and have adult conversions then dinner is a simpler events, happy hours are great way to get cheap food and drinks ( not that I go that often..) . Some movie theaters offer cheaper rates in early evening ( one just opened that serves dinner in the theater and drinks for over 21 crowd). I also joined a sand volleyball team that meats at a smokehouse right around dinner time. I also have one friend who loves a night out from homeschooling once a month so we meet for Mass and dinner, and I also love summer for the concerts in the lark where I pack my picnic dinner .

Ok, it took 6 years to.get this figured out . I tend to be very social and treasured meeting strangers. Plus eventhough I have children they are at the age where I am finding that I have dinner with out them more and more.

Best wishes in finding what works for you and Miss Kitty.
07/12/2012 new

(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said: EATING OUT ALONE: The Empty Chair I recently started "snack eating" in front of...
(Quote) Lorrie-735074 said:

EATING OUT ALONE: The Empty Chair

I recently started "snack eating" in front of the computer because I HATE eating out alone. I love to cook but making a really nice dinner and then eating it alone can be very depressing. And then I have leftovers to toss out. It gets weary hearing, “Just freeze the leftovers” because they pile up and end up in the dumpster anyway. Why delay the inevitable? Now I know I deserve to go out for a nice dinner now and then but it’s an endurance contest just to get through the experience.

First you have to brave the gauntlet at the check in counter. The host/ess always says, "JUST one?" as if I'm some sort of freak. Most of the time they look around as if they just cannot believe you are eating by yourself. I mean, who does that, right? Well I beg to differ. You cannot tell me in this world where we are all busy that I'm the ONLY person who is a party for one for the entire day. I usually bring my Nook or a magazine, but sometimes I have to leave. If they start playing sad music I’m hit. I've had times where I started crying. It’s also a cultural thing for me. I come from an Irish-Italian background and Italians believe that eating is a social event/family time. If I focus on reading I can "endure" it but if eating out is always an endurance contest what is the point? I might as well nuke a frozen meal and sit at home and surf the internet. This reminds me of the movie “The Lonely Guy” with Steve Martin. Remember when he goes to the fancy diner alone? Then a HUGE spotlight shines on him as he walks to his table and stays shining on him so badly he can barely read the menu. He flags over the waiter and asks if they could please turn off the spotlight. It’s a funny scene but as a person who always has to eat alone I find myself feeling as if I’m dining under that spotlight. I know it’s self-imposed and just some mental pressure I put on myself but it can be a lonely thing to eat without company.

I remember one night I wanted to go to a fancy place; a steakhouse or out for seafood and I had extra money. I remember trying to call
everyone I know and posting things on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to go out to eat with me and that I would pay the entire bill. I explained I just didn’t want to eat alone. No one responded. All I can say is, that was a bad night. I got sucked into my negativity thinking, “Wow I can’t even PAY someone to eat with me.” I went home and ate a 2.00 pizza. I’d rather pay for someone’s meal than face the empty chair across from me.

With the rude host or hostess I actually visualize having some fun and saying, "No it's not a party of one, it's a party of two”. (Pointing
to an empty space beside me) “My imaginary friend Hello Kitty is here with me. What's wrong with you? Don't you see her standing here?” (Then I would lean forward and whisper in a threatening tone) “She doesn't like it when people ignore her.”

Then I could order us both drinks and food and talk to her and laugh. I could also flag down the server and explain that Hello Kitty’s fork is dirty and her fries are cold and ask for a clean fork and hotter fries. I could say, “You know she’s too embarrassed to say anything but I expect better
treatment than this.” It would be funny and since I work with mentally ill adults I could certainly pull of that “performance". I would also ask the server to put our bills on separate checks and I could even have Hello Kitty leave a dollar or 2 towards the tip (maybe Hello Kitty dollars?). Out of all the people to eat out with I have to pick Hello Kitty because I love Hello Kitty—I am 50-year-old kid, what can I say?

I realize that eating out alone, like many things I have to deal with as a newly divorced woman, is something I have to get used to doing. I have to not beat myself up if it takes time to get used to it and if I take time not feeling sad. It is my hope that I can just become comfortable with my own company and not worry what people think or feel as I have that blasted spotlight over my head.

I heard a friend on Facebook complaining that she had to cook dinner and wasn’t feeling well. I realize that maybe my being free to have
popcorn, string cheese and no-bake cookies for dinner isn’t so bad after all. I have no one to harp or complain, and I can eat at whatever time I wish.

Today I was sitting in my car stuffing my face with a Big Mac in the McDonald’s parking lot. I saw a man eating and looking off in the distance with a sad facial expression. I realized I’m not alone at all. Many of us are hiding out, trying to find a way to eat and not have to face the empty
chair. He looked over and I waved and smiled. He smiled back and we continued our “meal”, kindred spirits in a world that says it’s not OK to eat alone. For one brief moment we connected and then we went on with our solo lives. I said a prayer for him, and for all of us who are on our own at a point in our lives when we were just sure we would have someone, that somehow we find joy in our solo living.

I know that while my friends/family aren’t with me in person they are with me in my heart and what really matters is that I’m loved. I am truly
loved by them and my God. So I always make sure I say grace and give thanks to God that I have money to buy a meal when so many don’t. I can walk into a diner and know that it just takes time to get used to living and dining solo. I will be OK.

How about you? How do you handle dining alone?

As for me, hand me my Nook and give me my table. I’m in the mood for Chinese buffet. And bring me 2 sets of chopsticks; Hello Kitty wants to learn how to use them.

God bless you,

Lorrie

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Hi Lorrie,


I can relate to every word you wrote here. I ate at the computer last night. I did not feel like going out to dinner by myself. I had eaten lunch out by myself sitting in a booth by myself. I ate at a diner at about 2:30pm when there was almost no one left in the place. Of course, it is rare when I have company any more. So for dinner last night, I cracked some spaghetti into a pot, cooked it, poured some Ragu over it and heated it in the microwave. That is dinner du jour many times at my house. I used to go to a place where other single people ate, but they closed it down, and when they reopened it, it was no longer the same. In the seventeen years that I am divorced, this pattern has run its course many times after I find some place that I like. I used to cook, and like you, I would have the leftovers. So I started buying packages of chicken breasts and putting them in individual freezer bags and freezing them, and then taking out one when I wanted to cook. Cooking is a grand waste of time for one, and I soon lost interest in that, or they would sit in the freezer so long, I would be worried about eating it and threw it out. Now, I may cook a whole package, because of course the chicken has to thaw, and I thaw it in the fridge, and then I eat chicken breasts every night for a week... Yeah, it's boring, and I don't get out at all. Lunch is usually a ham sandwich at the computer with chips and a drink. That gets boring too.


When I do go out, I tend to go to places that have bars and that I know have other people there. I usually sit there and order iced tea, but I am not going to sit at a table by myself and hear, "is there anyone else joining you?" and then watch them remove all the extra plates and silverware and wine glasses from the table when I tell them no.


Humans are social beings. It is not natural for us to do many things alone. For me, I not only live alone, but I work from home on the computer. There are many days when I do not open the door to go outside. And people are going to tell me that I can't do that, and there is a great big world out there and you have to pray and you have to try, and that's all true, but still, there are some days when you don't want to go out there alone and there is nothing people can tell you that is going to make a difference. The problem is that we are alone, and we should not be. We know what the problem is, but somehow, whatever it is we must do for ourselves, we must find a way to deal with the situation in the meantime without getting depressed and running into despair. You must find what it is that works for YOU.


It should not be natural for us to be alone in our lives, and that is what you are fighting, Lorrie. I still fight it too. Don't lose that. Don't lose the Lorrie that likes to go out and be with people. One day, I don't know when, you are going to find a man who is going to appreciate that you kept that part of you to share with him.


Jim

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