Many people see eating alone as a chance to relax and escape from their regular life. CFP
When you visit a restaurant, you may see some people eating on their own. In the past, these people may have felt embarrassed about eating alone, because this might have suggested that they had no friends or disliked socializing with others. However, that’s changing.
According to a new survey conducted by US-based research company OnePoll, the average adult eats six meals alone each week and 387 meals each year. That means eating alone is a new trend.
In China, eating alone is also growing in popularity. “Eating alone can allow people to enjoy dinner in a private space freely,” China Daily noted.
It is true that when people choose to eat with other people, they must be affected by the diners who accompany them. If the diners share similar habits, they are lucky and can enjoy a satisfying meal. If not, they must deal with the awkward experience of bad table manners, lousy food and upsetting conversation. So eating alone can help people get away from bad dinner dates, awkward groups and boring conversations.
Wang Kerui, a freshman from Beijing Normal University, is a good example. She often eats alone in the canteen and enjoys the exclusive experience.
“Eating alone doesn’t mean I’m lonely. Instead, it can help me enjoy ‘me time’ and think about the challenges I have met in my studies,” she told TEENS.
Eating alone also shows that young people “attach more importance to realizing their dreams and seeking a higher quality of life”, Yang Xiong, a researcher from Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told China Youth Daily.
Now, many young people with stable incomes are beginning to re-examine their roles in society, according to a report from Boston Consulting Group.
Zhao Lianxue, 28, a media worker in Beijing, said she enjoys her life alone.
Without the task of cooking for a family, Zhao often eats alone in restaurants or convenience stores. In her spare time, she can read her favorite books, climb mountains, go sightseeing or shop.
When she eats at the Haidilao hotpot restaurant on her own, waiters always kindly put a big stuffed doll in the opposite seat.
“It’s sweet … but I really don’t think it is necessary. I’m happy to eat by myself,” said Zhao.
It’s not hard to see that eating alone for many young people is not the same as eating lonely. It is more about freedom and independence.