Eating out when you’ve got social anxiety

A weird spoon: nightmare for shaky hands

1. Trying to get the waiter/waitress’s attention and failing, a bit like a non-reciprocated high five: awkward.
2. Getting nervous when everyone is ordering their food as it’s your turn soon, and practising how to say ‘pumpkin and sage risotto, please’ in your head several times first.
3. Saying ‘spumpkin and rage risotto’ instead.
4. Having to avoid ordering certain foods because eating them makes your hands shake more. For example: peas (way too unstable on the fork, unless you add gravy or sauce); thin soup (for some reason this makes me stressed as it falls off the spoon easily. Thick soup is fine); spaghetti (don’t even go there); jelly (the slightest hand tremor is magnified in its wibbly-wobbliness).
5. Getting up to go to the loo and having to walk past a load of tables and having people look at you. Coming back from the loo and having the people at your table look at you.
6. When someone asks you a question when you’ve just taken a massive mouthful of bread and you make weird hand gestures and chew in an exaggerated fashion to show them that you will answer when you’ve finished.
7. Sitting directly opposite someone and not knowing where to rest your gaze.
8. Thinking that you’re talking too much, or not enough.
9. Drinking too much and spending the next day (or week) trying to remember the details of the conversations you had in case you said something stupid.
10. Feeling totally exhausted when you get home because it was all such an effort, but pleased that you didn’t fall over, or come back from the toilet with a trail of bog roll attached to your shoe, or spit wine at anyone.


  1. Hahaha, exactly! I used to eat a lot less because of anxiety when I was out, depending on the situation I still do. But recently on a trip with my family I just didn’t give a fuck and eat a lot! Felt good. On this situation at least, I can apply the thought that “people are more focused on themselves instead of me”.

    I also have a blog that deals with my mental health, if you ever have the time, it’s called Tabula Rasa (


  2. Your wariness about peas reminded me of something in H.G. Wells’s novel Kipps, from 1905. So I looked it up. It’s in Book 2, Ch 7, when Kipps has come into a lot of money and is trying to pretend he’s comfortable being posh. He’s in an expensive restaurant: ‘Mutton came with peas. He arrested the hand of the waiter. “No peas,” he said. He knew something of the danger and difficulty of eating peas.’ So you’re not alone!


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