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Readers Respond: How do you handle eating in front of others?

Responses: 113


Updated August 23, 2011

i cant eat in front of anybody

I have social anxiety and I always feel like people are looking at me and judging me, I also hate being watched while doing something. The worst thing is being watched while I'm eating. At dinner time when I eat at the table with my family I always feel nervous. I sometimes don't eat until everyone else leaves the room, my dad gets mad at me sometimes because I never eat in front of anyone. Most nights I take my food in my room and eat in my room where nobody can see me. I can't eat at school either, the only place I can eat is in my room where nobody can see me.
—Guest sophie


Thanks for all the advice, however, its all up to me when the time comes...i can est in front of my boyfriend or sometimes when im on lunch break at work depending on who walks in the break room. Itsso wierd n uncomfortable feelng, i can feel my face get beat red n i start to ssweat, its the absolute worst feeling ive had ever within myself, why do i feel this way? I need an expert to help me mentally overcome this:( i dont wanna live like this, i wnt to be comfortable w my man
—Guest Kristen

I hate it

it started when I was little; not sure how but it started. I couldn't eat out at ALL I would always want to puke. my parents would get mad at me for not eating, and I would always fake that I was sick so we could leave. now it's getting slightly better, I could eat some things in public like soup or something small. I can't eat messy things or basically anything else. in school people ask me why I don't eat. I just say I'm not hungry or I don't like the food. but in reality I really want to eat. I just wish I wasn't like this.
—Guest bella

I can't eat in front if boys

This is too hard .... To.... Explain.... I just want to cry!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mommmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!
—Guest Help me please

I can't do it

Well I have a boyfriend and we have been dating for about a week now. I can't eat in front of him though!!! It's so hard thats why I stopped eating at school now. And he sits right next to me at our lunch table!! Someone please help me!!!! I'm only 11 years old in 6th grade!!! Please help! My friends are like " why aren't you eating? Is it because of that stupid boyfriend of yours?! He is stupid and annoying!!!" It makes me really sad and my grades are going down and I'm hungry all the time and I'm so embarrassed!!!!! Please anyone!!! Just HELP!!!!!! :.............(
—Guest M

always been like this

my biggest worry is thinking that i'll ruin the conversation if i go out to eat with people; like everyone else here i feel horribly self conscious when eating out, i've tried minimizing my anguish by chewing slowly, in smaller portions than i would take if alone, using cutlery very carefully and wasting so many napkins on my face even if i'm not eating anything that might leave stains, but the bad thing is doing that nearly takes up all my attention; people trying to conversate with me often have to wait too long for my response or even repeat themselves. i have a mild hearing problem too so making people feel like i'm not interested in what they say when i just can't hear them doesn't help at all. the only people i feel comfortable with while eating are my close family, but not even them knew how troubling it is for me to eat in public untill recently.
—Guest p

i know

I'm shocked to see I'm not the only one with this eating in public problem. I can eat in front of my family with out the slightest insecurities because its like food is what brings us together. But I cannot eat in front of friends or co workers or boyfriends. It feels like people are staring at my mouth and thinking I'm a fat person. I start to feel insecure about people automatically looking at my butt or some other part. Also when I eat in front of a boy I feel insecure that they look at my mouth and think of sexual things. Like how much I can put in my mouth. Its very strange. I wasn't always like this, this didn't happen until I was 13. I'm 18 now. Although I did have an eating disorder when my parents divorced. I know its a mind thing but its so very hard not to have these thoughts fill my head when I eat. I have a nice athletic body but I want people to think I don't scarf my mouth like a fat cow. Thank you for everyone's stories!
—Guest nikolette

*carried on* cant eat in public

i kinda wrote a lot before and i wanna write more. so yh im 14, currently in year 10. since well forever, in primary school i used to eat in reeeally small bites and quite slowly...well thats what a lot of people kept telling me. and in maybe year 8/9 did i start this and idek how it started but now, from 8.30 - 3.30 i eat nothing. it sucks. and whats even more fucking amazing is that im a socially awkward fuck so whilst everyone around me's eating idk what to do and just awkwardly stare at the ceiling or walls. once there was 2 friends sitting next to me and 2 opposite them and no one sitting in front of me so i plucked up the courage to get some pasta...but i tried to eat it and it ddnt work. i ended up throwing it all away and i just felt really bad afterward. bye.
—Guest fml

cant eat in some places

idek. i have so many fucking problems and eating in front of people is one. I can eat perfectly normal in front of my family, my mums side of the family...but once we were at some other cousins house who we are kimda close to and i was sitting next to my dad. he was talking and everyone was looking at him so i got really uncomfortable and just ddnt eat anything for the whole time. and at school...i always obviously have to sit opposite and around friends and i just cant eat. like ive tried but my head or something shakes when i try to put something in my mouth and i just lose coordination between my hand and mouth. drinking isnt even that bad. so yh i just starve myself the whole day and eat a bunch of shit when i get home. and in restaurants with my family i HAVE to sit inbetween someone or in a corner, not on the edge where theres another table next to us. i also get really scared when im invited out with my friends...well i always never go but if its a birthday i kinda have to. sorr
—Guest fml

It just scares me

It seems like I just can't eat around certain people. Most of my family I'm fine with, and some of my closest friends. But whenever I'm around other people, I start to have anxiety attacks. I am very aware of my social anxiety. This probably is the reason for why I'm afraid to eat around others. Even when I'm with my boyfriend, I just can't. It's not entirely the fear of spilling something on my self or whatever. But I realized that this is more noticeable when I am around guys. Adding to my social anxiety, I am very self conscious. I get afraid of what someone might say about what I'm eating or whatever. I have also been told that I'm underweight (5ft 6 and 95lbs). Maybe this fear is what causes me not to want to eat, even when I'm not around people I'm afraid to eat in front of.
—Guest Scarlette


I'm 20 and have had problems with food my entire life even when I was a baby I would throw up on my birthday and special occasions, my first week of school my parents thought I was sick but I was just so nervous I was throwing up. I am getting better at controlling it, sometimes I can eat at restaurants other times my anxiety is just out of control and I cannot eat, it really depends on who I am with and where I eat. I find if I stick to foods I have had before it calms me down because I know I can do this as I have eaten it before and I haven't been sick, just mind games. But saying that I caught up with some mates the other day and went to a restaurant I have never been to before and as soon as we got there my anxiety kicked in, my plate arrives and I'm just like"fkkk how am I going to eat all this", lol. Really embarrassed as I couldn't manage to hardly eat a thing. They're all like wtf why aren't you eating....
—Guest beno

"Eating In Front of My Boyfriend"

I'm a really self-conscience person, and I am constantly worrying about what people think. I'm perfectly fine eating in front of people, but when it comes to the person I like I just can't eat because I just feel awkward.. I feel l'll be eating too fast or too slow or I'll get something in my teeth. I just wish I could get over this.
—Guest Dana

Happy i am not alone

I'm soo happy to know I'm not alone. I feel like a weirdo!! I can't eat around people and makes me sooo nauseous and I get soo anxious before going to eat. If I take my own meal to my job its not that bad and the routine helps me a lot, but a RESTAURANT? like no.. I can't.. the whole atmosphere is soo nauseating..When it's late at night it's worse.. like everything dark and fancy it's soo scary. However I have told a few people.. and that's kinda cool because they can sort of understand you and you can even practice with them and it's ok if you go with them to a restaurant and you don't manage to eat.

Paranoid of Being Judged..

When I was in middle school and high school, I was the same as what Guest Laura described. But now after four years in college, I felt like since there's nobody that knew me from back then to judge me, it doesn't bug me as much. However, I have skipped lunches a lot since college started. I feel really nervous when going to the cafeterias, and it feels even more nerve-wrecking to sit by myself, alone, to eat at a table. When I'm with friends, I feel more secure, but just alone, my shy-eating problems come. Even when I bring my own home lunches, I try to find a place that not that many people pass by, to eat. I usually do like food, even though I'm picky, but in front of others I eat really slow and it just looks awkward to them. I try to look past being hungry when I'm with classmates, or when I'm actually not, I won't join and eat with them at all even though they're eating right in front of me, which makes them feel awkward. And this problem is only when guys are around me. Solution?
—Guest Misa

I don't know what to do:/

I never actually found a way to get over it. I'm in year 8 now and I've always had a problem with eating in front of people. Once I fainted because I skipped Breakfast and like usual skipped lunch. I'm stupid for doing it and people tell me I could end up with some eating disorder. I did try one thing though. My school is 2 story right? so we have these massive stairs all over the place and me and my friend that had the same problem went and ate under the stairs or in the toilets even! But then we got caught.. we got in some deep trouble for being out of bouds so I just went back to skipping lunch. I hated it, but it was the only way I could eat at school with out freaking out and spilling it all over me and I'm also just self countious because I get afraid that I eat to loud or something. Although.. I never really had a problem eating infront of my family or that one freind. It's just everybody else.:/
—Guest Kira

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