Eating alone can be quite confrontational, especially for those who are not secure in themselves or who do not enjoy their own company. There’s a lot of stigma to eating alone, the implication that there’s somehow something wrong with it. That it makes you a sad person who has no friends. I’ve been a victim of this way of thinking.
On Sunday I had breakfast out on my own. It’s not something I’d normally do and while I went to the cafe we go to every week for breakfast as soon as I sat down they brought over two menus and two glasses, expecting Husband to join me. Even this time I only went due to extenuating circumstances – the power was out and the only food I had in the house required toasting or cooking. Husband was at the rugby with the car so, after a long time gearing myself up to do it, I walked to the shops and went to breakfast on my own.
I haven’t been alone much in my life, if I’m honest. There was school, work, study, surrounded by people a lot of the time. At home I had my brother or my parents, then when I moved out it was straight in with Husband rather than living on my own. It was, ironically, only living with Husband where I learned to spend time on my own.
Husband is painfully self sufficient, an introverted extrovert. He prefers his own company when possible and there’s no time he’s happier than sitting on his own in a restaurant having a meal. He even objects if I say I’m planning on taking holidays during his holidays as he wants the time to himself. It’s not that he doesn’t enjoy my company, in fact when we are together he’s far more affectionate than I am (which could be a whole other post another time), but he enjoys spending time on his own.
There was a time, back when I was in the throes of mental illness, when the idea of being on my own created a lot of anxiety. I simply couldn’t handle my own company, the silence made me anxious. As did the idea of being alone, having nothing to do or no one to talk to. I couldn’t even have a bath without needing to talk to someone on the phone.
Yesterday, as I sat on my own in the cafe, with no one but myself for company, and I ate my breakfast for one I realised just how far I had come. And, as I periodically checked my phone for some contact with the outside world, just how far I had yet to go.
Do you suffer from anxiety about being alone? Are you happy in your own company? Do you prefer to be alone?
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Tamsin Howse has written 181 posts.
Tamsin is a wife, stepmother and blogger with a passion for people and relationships, fashion and beauty, and an inability to successfully complete household tasks. Co-founder and Editor-in-chief of KiKi & Tea.
Follow on twitter: @TamsinHowse