Going out to eat with friends is a luxury that feels so far away these days. But what happens when you just want to eat alone?
Redditor Southern-Audience-93 had this exact issue recently. When the original poster (OP) sat by herself, her server tried to do a kind thing that ended up being weird for everyone.
OP isn’t sure if she handled the situation well, and decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit about what happened.
And all OP wanted was a nice quiet meal.
“AITA for telling a server I just really wanted to be by myself?”
So what went wrong?
“I hope this makes sense I tried to cut out all the fluff.”
“I (32f[emale]) have young children. I was a SAHM but recently started a business. Business is going great and my kids love going to preschool. It’s a win/win.”
“Because I have young kids and work primarily from home I am very, very rarely out in public by myself. Like never. I literally do not remember the last time I sat down at a cafe by myself but I loved sitting in coffee shops to study in college.”
“Today I had to swing by my kid’s preschool to sign some forms on the way home I passed a very popular breakfast place and decided I would treat myself to some quality alone time.”
“I ordered at the register, found a seat and to my absolute delight I had a book and AirPods in my purse. I was pumped.”
“My drink came and the server (20ishF) asked if I was all by myself. I said I was, thanked her and popped my airpod back in my ear.”
“5 minutes later she’s back with my food and sits down with me. I obviously looked confused and she happily chirps ‘I just can’t stand the thought of anyone eating alone so I took my break so I could join you!’”
“My brain stalled. I was trying to think of a proper white lie, had a brought my laptop I would have told her I had to work. Anyway- she catches on and asked ‘Well, as long as that’s ok with your of course!’”
“I stammered out something along the lines of that it was lovely of her to think of me but I was alone on purpose and could use a recharge. Without a word she b-lined out to the parking lot.”
“It’s freezing here and she wasn’t wearing a coat, she just bounced.”
“I understandably felt awkward as fuck so I ate quickly and left. On my way out I heard someone in the back yell ‘Where’s Lauren?!?’”
“I feel like sh**. My mom says the girl probably liked my accent and I look friendly so I should have given the girl my time as it wouldn’t have cost my anything to be nice.”
“My friends and husband say I was polite and didn’t do anything wrong. AITA?”
It’s understandable that if OP wanted to eat alone she should voice that, but did she go too far and hurt the server’s feelings?
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
The consensus was that OP did nothing wrong.
She handled the situation as best she could.
The actions of the server were a little strange, but that doesn’t mean OP had to give in. She could only respond as kindly as she did.
OP was not wrong for what she did.
“NTA – That was a bizarre thing for her to do. She did say ‘if that’s okay with you’ and you said no it wasn’t. Yeah, you deserve a nice quiet break with your tunes and book.” – Red_Cathy
“NTA. Some people just don’t understand that alone time looks different for everyone.”
“After having kids and having every meal (home or at a restaurant) be a constant flying of hands, forks, and food; the thought of a good meal in peace and quiet that I don’t have to clean up after sounds amazing.”
“As a 20 year old I wouldn’t have gotten that though.” – jenniferLc
“NTA Unlike the girl who asked the sad drive-thru girl if she was OK (earlier post), this was just odd. You don’t seem as though you looked sad or in need of comfort.”
“At most, asking if you’d like company instead of taking her break and plopping down like that. How intrusive.”
“And to just run away like that? Lauren needs some sort of adult intervention.”
“I’m sorry you weren’t able to enjoy your one meal out.” – ohsogreen
“NTA that is so weird! She could have said ‘I’m about to take my break if you want some company’ which even then is still kind of odd, especially as you were busy with your book and all, and not engaging with her as if you were lonely.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong. Also, it’s a pandemic, and I wouldn’t want a stranger, especially one who is out in public all day for work, sitting across from me right now.” – Reasonable_Tax2446
“Server needs to read the room better. When I was a server, I had times where a customer wanted some company and if I wasn’t busy, I would join them.”
“I played with kids or held babies so the parents could eat. I sat with kids so the parents could run to the bathroom (they were regulars that knew the staff).”
“I even sat for hours with a lady and held her when her husband just dropped a divorce on her on their anniversary. (He had re-enlisted for Iraq for like the 4th time even after he told her each time it would be his last and he told her that he loved his career more than staying married to her.)”
“Every time I was either asked to sit or I would offer help if they needed it and walked away if they didn’t.” – pizzasauce85
“NTA. She placed her need of not wanting someone to eat alone over your need to eat alone. And that is hella weird for a staff member to invite themselves over.”
“I could see it possibly being ok to ask to join you if the other person was also a customer, and if it was crowded and no other space or you were the only two people in a huge room there, and it seemed weird to have the two of you sat apart.” – Imaginary-Hornet-397
However some felt there may have been another reason for the server to try and invite herself to sit with OP.
“NTA. Did I read that right? The server walked off her job after you explained you didn’t need company? Oh lord. I feel for her being embarrassed but that’s really too much.”
“Any chance she was interested in you and thought she was making her big move and you shut her down? That’s the only reason I can imagine for her to react so strongly.”
“Obvs it’s totally okay to enjoy your alone time.” – sparkledotcom
“what kind of accent do you have?” – Bassetgflapper69
“As a server during my college years, I had a few times where I’d sit with guests when they encouraged the conversation and invited us to sit or at the bar when we were slow.”
“It was a very rewarding experience to meet a Vietnam vet who ate there every week and just talk about anything. He was a sweet man who later developed brain cancer in my last year in college.”
“I still remember his kindness and wisdom, but what hit me most was being called ‘Sunshine’ for always smiling and cheering him up he said. I was sad to hear Collin pass by his wife and daughter months later.”
“I also learned how to make certain recipes with another guest who’s passion was food, good wine, and a stronger pallet than mine after trying some of his recommendations at home.”
“So to say NTA, she invited herself to sit without an invitation to do so and probably was drawn to you in a curious or admirable way. Maybe you just had that successful glow?”
“Lol Anyhow she was kind but you had clear, universal indications of wanting to be let alone; AirPods AND a book! OPs reply was spot on and polite. So don’t take it to heart, you were right to reject her offer because you were there using this time to take a break from everything.” – AtDawnsEnd502
“NAH. You were kind, so definitely not TA. She’s not TA either – she’s young, she hasn’t learned what an absolute treasure alone time is, and she skeddadled as soon as she realised you wanted to be alone.”
“Hopefully you can go back and laugh with her about it sometime soon.” – Odd-Sprinkles6186
There’s nothing OP could really have done different here, but the server could learn a lesson in asking permission before sitting down. Maybe have a quick chat before taking an early break.