1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

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

Responses: 135


Updated August 23, 2011

Me too

I get very anxious when it's lunch time at work. I don't like when people comment or ask what I'm eating n that makes even more nervous.. Now I'm just snacking. I get really hungry by the time I leave work too. I find myself figiting every time I eat or swallow too it's getting a bit embarrassing now because people are stating to comment on it. And it doesn't help that I'm slim, I keep wondering if they thing I'm starving myself!!
—Guest Metoo


I simply fear that people will see my face in a weird shape while I am taking a bite and also I feel I can unwind when I'm alone rather than being in the room with at least a hundred people. So ya I eat rice krispies alot.
—Guest ahmed

Good thing.

Well when you feel like it try putting your food very near your mouth, about 1 centimeter away. Then close your eyes and eat. When you're done repeat. It really works for me. Try it. I know what you mean I like eating alone and peacefully without anyone rushing me. Or maybe try looking down at your food and pretend no one is there except you and the food.( I know it sounds silly but try it.) If you try doing these for a while you'll get used to it. Though don't use option 1 for things like ribs or with knives.( you might poke yourself) But if it makes you comfortable then try maybe participating if you do it for a few meals maybe it'll go away. But you don't have to do these at all if you don't want to. :D
—Guest Isabelle

I can relate to all.

In about two hours, I'm going to a Mexican restaurant to eat with a boy I'm beginning to talk to. I'm a nervous wreck because I'm worried that I'll miss my mouth and the awkwardness of poking food into your mouth with a fork makes me nervous. I'm ok when it's people I normally hang out with. It's just new people. I'm also afraid that something will be on my teeth or mouth. Here are the things that I'm going to keep reminding myself while I eat: order something small that I don't have to open my mouth wide for like rice. When eating off a fork, don't pull the food off with you teeth. That could cause something to fall in your lap, shirt, chin, or worse, the table. Wrap your lips around the fork to keep your food from jumping ship off your fork. But don't get to crazy with this, we don't want it to look sexual. Make sure you have a napkin handy. I would keep the napkin in my lap so people won't see what's been wiped on it. Dab your mouth every few bites. I hope this works.
—Guest Anna

It just started this year...

I don't know why but ever since this school year started I just can not eat a formal lunch at school. I've worked my way up to having vending machine snacks that aren't messy but it's not calming my friends who actually have accused me of being anorexic. I'm really not either because I can go home and practically live in the kitchen. I'm really fed up with this though. I see my friends eating the messiest foods in the world and yet here I am, afraid to even go near the lunch line. My friend even brought in a crumb cake that was delicious but I had to put it on a napkin and literally pick at it and eat little tiny bits at a time to avoid crumbs from falling onto my lap or getting on my face. People don't understand the level of anxiety one with this issue feels... My advice is to make vending machine food (like little tiny cookies that you can just pop into your mouth) your best friend and stick to finger foods until you can work your way up to food that requires utensils.
—Guest Anna

Feel Nervous

I've always been skinny from age 6 I think people think I'm anorexic I do eat when I'm alone but when it comes to family I get sooo nervous sometimes I have to spit it out. I'll eat very slowly but just more nervousness they will all be staring at me same with drinking most of the time I hate restaurants. I always have to be alone to eat nearly properly. I wanna be normal. I'm sooo sick of this problem and no one gets it at school. I get called anorexic lots I hate it and just wanna be able to eat and drink like normal people. Pleaseeeee can someone give me a solution my parents waste soooo much money on food for me and don't end up eating it. I cry a lot if I can't but hate showing emotion soo I do it in private. Please please give me a solution it would mean the world to me. Thank you
—Guest jessica

What is my problem?

I have no idea if I have anxiety but I am always feeling claustrophobic. I will randomly start breathing heavy and everyday I have fears of throwing up but I never do. My stomach feels heavy and I don't eat that much as I used to. I will always think about something and I have to do it, if i don't I will think something bad is going to happen to me but nothing does. My heart will start beating fast. All of this usually lasts around 20 mins and happens very often. What do i do? Is it cause of weed?

Its so awkward!

I'm 15 and going to dinner at my boyfriends house on Thursday and I'm so scared! We're having spaghetti which is the most awkward thing to eat in the world! We've only been going out a month and he eats like nothing. It's going to be the first time I meet his mum and I'm so nervous! Good to know I'm not the only one though!:) xoxo
—Guest Laura


I freak out over the thought of eating in front of boys because I feel like they're going to judge me and think I'm just a fat*ss.
—Guest J


I tried these and they helped me. Hope you sensitive souls find them helpful too. :) 1 Relax - you do not have to be perfect because nobody is perfect. 2 Smile and enjoy yourself in your own way - it is not compulsory to make witty conversation or be the life of the party. So just be yourself. 3 Pay attention to your food - take small portions on your spoon/fork or in your hands so that you can easily put it into your mouth. 4 As you chew, listen attentively to the conversation around you. 5 While sipping beverages or eating soup, follow the same rules. 6 Eat neatly, but do not scrape your plate or wipe up sauce with your bread. 7 Try to order stuff that you can eat easily - avoid noodles if you feel you cant manage them. 8 Enjoy your food, but do not appear to be immersed in it. 9 Keep a napkin handy so that you can smoothly wipe your mouth or fingers, just in case. Love yourself, if you think you are special, everybody else will too. :) Best Wishes ...
—Guest Celina

I have had this for a while now..

Sometimes I can control it better than other times but it can be around almost anyone... it feels like every time I swallow I have to make a little unnoticeable movement with my feet under the table so I distract myself to get it down. It's not that I don't like the food, it's just the anxiety of thinking people are watching me... I am now 17 and am keen on getting a boyfriend but don't know how it will work if I ever have to eat in front of him. Sometimes I see people eating in movies and stuff in front of people and I think, HOW?!? but then again I just think, well, that's just normal..I'm weird...does any one get me..??..
—Guest Jasmine

I can't Eat

I have been in this world like almost 16 years now. And I have been like shy till now and scared of eating with my schoolmates. I am fine eating with my family. I always worry what people think of me when it comes to school. And I starve myself all day. Because I am kinda fat. And I always act weird at school. And now it ended up me skipping schools a lot. I skipped almost 20 days from September to January. I really need help.... Excuse my english..... It's not really good....
—Guest Tenzin Sangye


I find it hard to eat in front of people because I always feel sick and I think people will make me eat the food. I'm going to a party soon and I don't want to go because I'm scared I will have to eat there but at school I'm fine. Please help me my mum just said don't worry that does not help.
—Guest Lily

Fight or Flight" OR "Rest and Digest"

We cant eat if we feel nervous. We can only eat if we are relaxed. And that nervousness if is triggered by something. To be able to eat in front of people, we must resolve our nervousness. It is because of our biological response we inherted for the survival of our ancestors. Realize that there is nothing wrong with us. It is normal to feel nervous when we sense hostility and danger. We simply must recognize that there is nothing to fear about. Whatever triggers that tension we're feeling, must be resolved. For our body to digest, intake, and consume food properly, we must learn to relax. RELAX.
—Guest jed

madworld and others

MADworld is there a way of contacting you?!? I have exactly the same problem except that I am close to losing the love of my life because of it! She doesn't want to put up with it anymore because she always gets sad and then mad! I really need help!!!! :'(
—Guest eddie91

Share Your Experiences

How do you handle eating in front of others?

Receive a one-time notification when your response is published.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.