Table for One

Posted by on Jun 18, 2017 in Singles Therapy

Table for One

As a Singles Therapist I get asked certain questions more often than others. Some of those questions can go something like this, how can I do certain things by myself. How does one graduate to eating and dinning alone? And how can I go on vacation alone? These are just a few of the questions, I hear from individuals that are struggling with single-hood. While others are able to navigate and continue to maintain a sense of self, many others will continue to struggle. Being single does not mean that one should stop living life. Yes, I agree that the world is definitely not set up for a party of one. Pretty much everything is set up for couples and families. So honestly how does a single person navigate their world to feel excepted in places and situations that calls for a least two? Let’s explore.

Table for one….
I often tell my single clients who are having a difficult time navigating as a single person, that they first have to start with their mindset. You must change the way that you see yourself in the world, if you are now single. It does not mean that you are different, but it does mean that you will need to think and do things differently than when you were coupled up, especially if you wish to continue living your best life. There will be situations and circumstances where you will find yourself solo. You may not have friends, colleagues or acquaintances that may want/can do certain things with you.  This may include travel. What will you do?

I like to say to my clients who are single and trying to find their way, that they have to take “baby steps” in accomplishing their goals. For example if they are trying to dine alone for the first time, I often suggest that they start at a casual restaurant that has a bar, oppose to starting out at an upscale restaurant. Sitting at a bar and dinning, allows one to not stick out as much. It’s a good way to introduce one’s self to dinning alone. You may find yourself having small talk with the bartender, or others sitting near you that may also be dinning. It’s a good way to start out having meals alone, until you are feel more comfortable moving to a table.

Once you have decided that it’s time to graduate to a “table for one”, be prepared for the semi awkwardness of walking through a coupled up/families restaurant to your table. Once the server realizes that you are indeed a party of one, be prepared for the emptying of the table settings, so that just one set is left for you. It may make you feel a bit weird as the realization sets in that you are here by yourself. You may feel that the entire restaurant is staring at you, but for the most part, most people don’t even notice, or they don’t really care. Always have something to keep yourself occupied in between your meal courses, so that you do not find yourself staring into ambivalence. Dinning by one’s self, can be daunting so make sure that you are prepared for it. Once you become more comfortable, it will get easier to the point that you won’t care as much.

Ticket for one…..
Once you have mastered dining alone, your next big challenge is engaging in other activities by yourself, this can be a real tough one for most. I usually suggest that individuals try going out to events by themselves first, before attempting to travel solo. By events I mean whatever interest you may have. Going to the movies/theater, sporting events and games, music concerts etc. Try out an event that you enjoy, by yourself and see what that feels like for you first, before traveling alone. Observe how you feel during solo events, this will be an indication of how it will be when you travel solo.

Traveling solo….
The big trip can be a scary experience, however, it can be a fun filled new experience for you. Once you have made the decision to travel alone, feelings of anxiety may set in. You may feel overwhelmed at first because you really don’t know what to expect. Depending on where you decide to vacation, you may have feel out of place. Most resorts are over flowing with couples and families alike. Much like the experience of dinning alone at a restaurant, you will experience this again on a solo trip. I recommend ordering room service if you feel socially inadequate at first, but do not eat all of your meals in your room, this will negate your entire experience.

In order to feel less anxious and uncomfortable at the dinning experience, you will have to change your mindset, as stated earlier. Once you have made the decision to dine, travel, or whatever solo experience you decide to do, it’s now up to you to follow through. Once you realize that you can enjoy your life, without someone else in it at the moment, you will not mind doing things alone. Think about it from this prospective, what if you had to wait around for some else to ask you out to eat, to the movies, have coffee, take a vacation etc, (I think you get my point). How long would you be willing to wait around to live your life to the fullest. Life doesn’t stop because you are single.

In conclusion…
Off course, if you are lacking a healthy self esteem and self confidence, you will have to work on those issues. But if you have dealt with your issues, then it’s time to start living again. You do not have to wait to start living and enjoying your life. Life is too short to continue waiting around to live. Doing things solo, takes a lot of guts, you have to be bold and brave, but once you have conquered your fears, you will be glad you did. Because it can be invigorating. There are several social groups that one can join to help answer questions about solo traveling for example, as well as “meet ups” and other various groups that one can join to help one feel more comfortable doing things solo. Take advantage of every available avenue and start living your life as a “party of one”.