Believe it or not, your fear of eating alone is quite legitimate. Like all fears, the name of this phobia is super long and almost unpronounceable. Solomangarephobia is the name given to anyone who has a hard time eating alone in public. Obviously, we’ve all felt like a loner here and there when our friends have had to cancel their lunch breaks with us, but for those of you who genuinely have a difficult time physically eating alone, I want to share a few tricks of the trade.
I personally am a Solomangarephobic. I think I even pulled a Lindsey Lohan in mean girls once and had lunch in the bathroom. Yes, that bad.
But since being in college things have gotten better. There’s no definitive lunch table like there used to be in high school and people are way more relaxed about their eating schedules so it’s more of an “every man (or woman) for themselves” kind of attitude. Still, I can’t help but feel awkward sitting down anywhere by myself and having no one to talk to.
I’m no doctor so don’t take me (all that) seriously, but some of the symptoms of a Solomagarephobic might include:
- Immediately scanning all the counters available by the window in any given dining premise
- Scanning possible tables with one (friendly) looking person who wouldn’t mind sharing their table with you. Because somehow in your brain, eating with a stranger is better than eating alone.
- Never eating alone at an actual restaurant—only cafés are acceptable
- Never ever, under any circumstance, parting ways with your earphones
How to live with Solomangarephobia
Excuse the melodramatic tone but I think once you’re a Solomangarephobic, you’re always a Solomangarephobic. There’s really no way to ‘shake it off’ as Taylor Swift might say. The best you can do is try and make it through without coming close to a mini-heart attack every time your friend is too busy to lunch with you.
First of all, don’t let them scare you. Don’t look around or care what everyone else is doing or thinking or eating for that matter—just concentrate on whatever is on your plate. Literally and figuratively.
Don’t be that person who is glued to their phone. You won’t enjoy your meal and you’re probably just texting someone aimlessly anyways. Instead, bring your homework/book/kindle with you that way you’re actually utilizing your time effectively if not enjoyably.
If you’re lucky to be near a park or outside area grab a bite there. Somehow the outside, to me at least, feels less claustrophobic, less ‘I’m judging you for eating alone’ and plus it never hurts to eat with some scenery and fresh air.
This last tip may probably be the scariest. I still freak myself out at the thought of it, but the best way to try to overcome your fear is to simply practice eating by yourself more often. Food is meant to be enjoyed. Don’t let your solomangarephobia imprison you, or your food.