Who knew such a simple sentence would bring so much horror to a person’s face? “Table for one please.” This was the sentence I uttered to the hostess at the Olive Garden, who looked around behind me to see if anyone was following me.
“Will your party be joining you?” she said.
“No. The party is already here,” I said with a grin.
“We only have large booths available, so do you want to wait until a smaller table is available or simply sit at the bar?” she stated wearily.
“I’ll take a booth please.”
“Seriously?!” escaped from her mouth. I simply smiled and followed the waiter, who also seemed very confused, to the largest booth available. I bounced around until I was in the middle and satisfied.
Five waiters/waitresses, and a manager, each stopped to ask if my other party would be joining me soon. When I stated, “No party. Just me!” with a smile, the look of horror that ran across their faces was priceless! I mean seriously, when did enjoying one’s own company turn into such a horror film for anyone to watch?
Don’t get me wrong, I panicked just like you do when someone first suggested that I spend some alone time with myself and learn to love me. I can’t do that! People will look at me! They will know I am alone, and they will think there’s something “wrong with me”! But sometimes it’s only by getting a little uncomfortable that we discover truly amazing things about ourselves. I did not have this confidence on my first attempt. I took a book to make sure that no one thought I was alone. I didn’t want anyone thinking that I had no friends or was that stereotypical crazy cat lady. When I arrived home, my first thought was, “You know what? That wasn’t so bad.” So I tried again.
This time I didn’t take a book, and I added a movie afterwards! Why had I not done this before?! My love for quality time with me continued to grow to the point that sometimes I now prefer the quietness of myself to the company of others. I also realized that I was the best date ever! Great company, funny, and I am always anxious to see me again. HA!
So when did society decide that this was a bad thing? Are we so caught up with what people think of us that we can’t even appreciate ourselves? And by people, I mean complete strangers who couldn’t care less who you are or what you’re doing. When I suggested to a friend that she should just see the movie alone since she couldn’t find anyone to go with, she protested, “Oh I can’t do that!”
“Umm, why not? It’s pitch black, and I promise you that even if the movie is absolutely horrible, people still won’t be assessing your apparent friendlessness.”
It wasn’t until I stuck my toe outside of my comfort zone that I learned I’m truly a catch! And quality time to reflect on and appreciate who I am and who I am becoming has become my favorite part of the day.
This is not to say that I don’t love hanging out with my friends and family. But I learn a lot about myself by simply taking myself out on a date. I encourage everyone to try it at least once! And from a girl who once believed, like you, that she wasn’t brave enough to enjoy time alone, it’s now a pleasure to confidently say, “Table for one, please!”