I love eating out alone. This isn’t because I hate people or anything like that, but I think it's so important to be able to be independent and do things on your own. Of course, eating is often a bonding experience and I think it’s a great one, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to do it alone as well.

I used to think eating alone was lame or pathetic, but I was so wrong. Eating alone is badass. I was looking back on my old tweets, and something I had tweeted a few years ago was along the lines of wanting food, but not wanting to be pathetic for eating alone. I was a nervous little college freshman, and since then my confidence and independence has grown. Now I don’t care too much. Sometimes I feel like maybe people are judging me, but they probably aren’t and that small fear doesn’t bother me enough to stop me from doing my thing.

I remember last spring all of my friends were busy, but I was hungry and decided to get dressed up and take myself to Olive Garden, purposely not telling my roommate I was going so she wouldn’t tag along. Like many people, I love Olive Garden, but this was honestly not the best experience of dining alone, which has something to do with the atmosphere of OG, but I’m still glad I did it.

Emma Salters

There were so many people there. The crowd mainly consisted of families and one couple going to prom, and then there was me. I hoped people didn't feel sad for me or think I was a loser. I was excited to finally be seated, and I played around on my phone and people watched while I waited for my food. I was looking at the couple taking pictures, jealous that they were probably having a better time than I was, but at least I was out in the world rather than wasting away in my apartment.

I remember being a little anxious and uncomfortable the majority of the time and feeling ready to go home again. It all seemed to take so long too. When the meal was over and I got my check, I was ready to head back to my place but was pleased with myself for getting out there and treating myself. 

I’ve had better experiences at other restaurants, such as the Chili's on FSU campus, which is one of my personal favorite spots to eat by myself. If you’re at a college campus, a great place to ease yourself into eating alone is at any campus dining hall or restaurant. Fast food places are also comfortable to eat alone in. I used to live right by Chick-fil-A, so I would eat there alone all the time.

I think that having this experience made me more comfortable with the idea of eating by myself in other restaurants as well. I recently went to Chili's one day after a meeting and got two bomb strawberry margaritas and a meal. I had a great time getting a little lit by myself. I was full, buzzed, and satisfied, and I walked home feeling great.

Emma Salters

The thing about eating out alone is that you get to enjoy good food and feel like you’re doing something without having to talk to people. I tend to go crazy if I'm alone for too long, but on the other hand, people can be exhausting at times, and I love having time to myself. When I eat out alone I can take a break from classes and talking to people and read the Snapchat Discover articles in peace while I eat. Also, if you don’t read the Snapchat Discover articles, change that now, because that’s another thing I highly recommend.

It’s funny because some of my friends have told me they think it’s so cool I’m able to do that. “Wow you're so brave,” they’ll tell me, but I think they should try it too! Sure, it can be uncomfortable at first, but it’s an amazing feeling to be able to do anything without company, because while bringing friends along is always easy and comfortable, knowing you can take care of yourself feels great and reassuring. Whether you’re single, dating, have lots of friends, or only a few, I recommend eating alone in public to everyone. Love yourself enough to try it, you deserve it.