Why You Need to Get Over Your Fear of Dining Out Alone

CafePhoto: Imaxtree

In an episode of Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw makes a big deal about taking herself out for a glass of wine totally alone. Well, that was more than a decade ago, and new research finds that restaurant reservations for one are actually starting to trend.

OpenTable just released an analysis that reveals that single restaurant bookings have grown across the United States by 62 percent, which actually makes singles the fastest-growing party size. Dallas is the city where this trend is growing most rapidly, followed by MiamiDenver, New York City, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and Chicago.

For a long time—as Bradshaw’s predicament makes pretty clear—there’s been a stigma surrounding solo dining, but clearly that’s shifting.

“As dining out has become one of our national pastimes, solo diners are taking every opportunity to visit top restaurants whenever they get the opportunity, much as they might attend a sporting event or show,” Caroline Potter, chief dining officer at OpenTable, said in a statement.

If you’re not the kind of person who spends a lot of time alone, the prospect of dining by yourself is probably a little daunting—but you really should consider it. Spending time alone is linked with a bunch of health benefits, including improved concentration and productivity.

“Being alone gives us the power to regulate and adjust our lives,” psychologist Ester Buchholz explained to Psychology Today. “It can teach us fortitude and the ability to satisfy our own needs. A restorer of energy, the stillness of alone experiences provides us with much-needed rest. It brings forth our longing to explore, our curiosity about the unknown, our will to be an individual, our hopes for freedom. Alone time is fuel for life.”

So next time you’re thinking about ordering dinner to go in order to avoid sitting down solo in the restaurant, try grabbing a table instead.