Filipinos are a social bunch. We love to be surrounded by friends and family. There’s never a lull during outings and reunions and the shy person who usually stands at the side is often forced to interact with others. So the idea of wanting to be alone baffles the majority. But what’s so wrong with eating alone in public?
It started with a viral video
Recently, a TikTok of a guy eating alone at a popular fast-food chain made rounds on the internet. He was peacefully sitting at a table, minding his business while eating with earphones plugged in. The caption on the video reads: “Napansin ko lang si kuya while kumakain kami sa QC McDo. Wala siyang kasama. I would have liked to sit next to him so [I] could be with him. Kaso nahiya ako.”
Netizens are confused
If I eat alone and you disturb me on my own happy place just because your personal take on eating alone is sad, susuntukin kita LOL. 🎻🎻🎻 pic.twitter.com/MIIBwoVdxu
— Rod Magaru (@rodmagaru) September 4, 2022
Almost immediately, the video received backlash from Pinoy netizens. Everyone had one question to ask: What was wrong with eating alone?
“If I eat alone and you disturb me in my own happy place just because your personal take on eating alone is sad, susuntukin kita LOL,” said one take on Twitter.
“What made you think that he’d like to be with you po? Sana all confident,” commented another netizen on Facebook.
“When will people realize that eating alone in public isn’t something you should be sad about? Just mind your business!” said another on Facebook.
Netizens obviously took issue that (A) the guy was filmed without his consent and (B) the TikToker assumed he was lonely just because he was sitting alone.
Newsflash, some people value their alone time
So alarmingly a lot of ppl online thought that when you eat alone at a restaurant or in any food establishment is that u r lonely & sad????? Damn, I wonder how many ppl thought I was sad and lonely when I find solace being alone?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
— thoki (@thokitwtt) September 3, 2022
Doing things alone might be taboo for the majority of Filipinos but for the ones who discovered the beauty of flying solo, it’s an amazing experience. Alone time frees you from thinking about people (like that one friend who’s always late) — what they’d like to eat, where they’d want to go next, what they think about this shirt you’re trying to buy. You call the shots when you’re alone and that’s empowering. So why should it be a big deal?
Benefits of being alone
Still not convinced that being alone from time to time is awesome? Here are a few reasons why you need some me-time.
You get to do what you want. Visiting that art gallery. Going to that concert. Traveling wherever you want to without worrying about another person!
Making friends is easier. Without a posse, you’re free to strike up a conversation with anyone. Who knows, this stranger could be your next bestie. It opens you up to a whole new world you wouldn’t discover if you stay in your circle.
It’s a form of self-care. Even if you love your friends, sometimes you need a break from them. You’re bound to get tired from the constant talking, socializing, and creating plans. You love them — of course — but being alone could be the mental healing you need.
It allows for personal growth. Sometimes we make the mistake of anchoring our identities on the people we’re around. Being alone gives you time to understand yourself better. Without having another person to influence you, you’re left with your thoughts and get to deal with them on your own.
It makes you confident. If you’re confident in your own skin and in your own company, well, you’re practically unstoppable.
Being alone is liberating. Try it and thank us later.
Take yourself out on a date this weekend and we promise it’s going to be one of the best activities you’ll ever do.
Let’s do away with social norms, okay?
So make no mistake, “alone” and “lonely” are two different words. Just because someone is eating alone in public does not mean they’re lonely. And if you still think so, take your social norms and go.
As for the people out there who want to try doing things on their own, here are a few solo date ideas:
- Eat at your favorite restaurant
- Catch a movie
- Travel to a nearby province
- Try that hotel staycation
- Spend an afternoon at the park and watch people
- Book a spa session
- Plan a weekend getaway
- Take a creative workshop
- Go on a shopping spree
…and the list goes on. The more you spend time with yourself the more you’re going to love it.
Also, what’s up with taking videos of strangers?
i’d be so mad if someone saw me eating by myself and then decided to post a photo me on whatever social media with commentary about feeling bad for me and wanting to sit with me like please let me eat alone in peace if you sit at my table i will 100% transfer tables.
— Sarah G. 🌸✨️ (@lakwatsarah) September 5, 2022
Probably more eyebrow-raising than the TikTok caption is the fact that someone took a video of a stranger without their consent. It’s not just celebrities getting papped these days, even ordinary folks like you and me are in danger of ending up in some rando’s photo gallery (and TikTok) too. If you need a reminder for something so obvious, here it is: Don’t take photos and videos of people without their consent. Now that’s something worth being judged for.
In conclusion, change your mindset, folks
Eating alone is a glorious experience many won’t know unless they get over their fear of being judged in public. As the screencaps above say, it’s not loneliness, it’s confidence. It’s knowing that you can get through an entire 30-minute meal all by your lonesome without relying on anyone’s company to entertain you.
But that being said, if the idea of doing something alone in public stresses you out, that’s fine too. Maybe you’ve been surrounded by people your whole life and you can’t function without an additional presence. However, it’s about time you took up the challenge. Start trying doing little things on your own, untethered to your friends, and maybe you’ll find that you like your company more than anyone else’s.
What’s your opinion about eating alone in public?