Anxiety from Eating at Same Restaurant

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bizboy1
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21 Jul 2012, 8:02 pm

Hello, I eat out everyday and I like to order the same thing from the same restaurant everyday. People that work there notice this and it makes me anxious. Has anyone else experienced this? I'm hungry right now and want to get something to eat but my anxiety is too high. I want to eat at restaurant A but I'm embarrassed and simultaneously feel uncomfortable.


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21 Jul 2012, 8:12 pm

I can relate to this. I don't like it when servers recognize me(or even when I fear I do). I can't say it causes me any real anxiety, though. After all, those people are totally irrelevant to the rest of my life.



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21 Jul 2012, 8:32 pm

I can relate to this in a way; I hate going to the corner store now because I once went without realizing I didn't have enough money on me, and got to the counter and embarassed myself. And it's always the same guy behind the counter.

But to be honest (though I haven't worked in a sit down restaurant) I do know that in fast food places, the servers kinda find it kidly amusing (and comforting in a way?) when the same customer keeps ordering the same thing. And from what I've seen at sit down restaurants, they probably enjoy the predictability too. As an amusement to some of them, I'm sure, but as a comforting and familiar face and a 'routine' service with no stress (dem people haz stressful jobs!).

So my vote is go in. They'll prolly be happy to see you and serve you your six cheese manicotti or whatever it is you want.

(I always get the Fettuccini dish when I go to eat at ESM's / the only thing I change up is the drink.)



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21 Jul 2012, 8:53 pm

I understand what you're going through. I find it annoying when they start to recognize me and know what I'm going to order. They often take it as an invitation to strike up a conversation, which is something I prefer to avoid.

However, having worked in various fastfood dumps for several years, I can tell you that they aren't trying to make you anxious or feel unwelcome. Quite the contrary. They are merely being friendly. Well, most of them anyway. Repeat business is EXTREMELY vital to the success of a restaurant. Employees are often pressured into doing whatever they can to encourage your return. They will try to learn your face, your order, and, unfortunately, engage you in small talk, unaware that, as an Aspie/Autie, you find it uncomfortable and annoying. :x

Just keep going is my advice, and be friendly and try to smile. They will get used to you and your odd behavior. And your anxiety will diminish over time.



salem44dream
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21 Jul 2012, 9:12 pm

A lot of good advice here, and I'm going to use some of it! I'm terrified of eating in restaurants by myself. People probably don't notice any outward signs of the feelings I'm having, but I just haven't been able to do it in a long time. Maybe if I bring my laptop and pretend to be preoccupied while I'm eating? I don't know, but I'll try it again because a lot of new restaurants have opened in my town.



bizboy1
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21 Jul 2012, 9:21 pm

Ya the striking up a conversation thing is something I don't want. I want a fast, autonomous transaction. I don't mind smiles. But the whole knowing what I want before I say thing bothers me.


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21 Jul 2012, 9:33 pm

There have been times in my life when I was a regular at certain restaurants. I do have a habit of ordering the same thing each time I go. It is not the same at each restaurant, as each has their own menus, but I will order the same meal at the same restaurant, usually. They always have at least a few meals that sound good, but I naturally get the one I want most. I make a mental list of each meal on the menu that I like, eliminate the ones I am most likely to make at home, and usually pick the healthiest one of the ones left on my list of likes on their menu. I try not to order the ones that I make at home, as I want to have something I like that I am not likely to make at home, when I eat out. Then I enjoy it more. :D

I don't care if the staff recognizes me because of my repeat orders. At one place I lived there was a Texas Wiener restaurant nearby. They have a nice, fairly varied menu, with a number of likes on it. I always got either the coated chicken strips or the coated fish fillets with fries. I really like both, but don't make coated meats at home, unless I buy already coated foods at the store. I would sometimes have errands to run at a shopping center across from that restaurant, so I would call in an order to take home from my errands. Other times I would call in an order, and then put my laundry in the machines at a laundromat across the street. Then I would walk across the street pick up the ready order of food, and eat it at one of the tables at the laundromat, while my clothes got clean. Occasionally I would go to the Chinese take out joint a couple of doors down from the laundry, instead. They were nice people there, and I would sometimes bring stuff home for the family from the Chinese place. I really dislike Chinese food, but even so, I am still able to find a few things on their menus that I like. :D

Don't let the staff's familiarity with your order turn you off. They don't mean any harm by it. Actually they tend to like having one of their "regulars" come in, as long as the "regular" is not a nasty person.



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22 Jul 2012, 12:16 am

Although I no longer do this much, I used to always go to the same restaurant and order the same thing for lunch hour every day. I would feel very uncomfortable when the waitresses would treat me like a "regular" by getting into the informal chitchat and asking me if I wanted "the usual." It eventually caused me to stop going and start eating somewhere else.

I realize that they are doing their job in being friendly in order to keep a guest by making him feel welcome and blah blah blah, but I would rather wear a tee shirt that reads "Autistic Person: Please just bring me my food and my check and otherwise leave me alone."


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Last edited by dyingofpoetry on 22 Jul 2012, 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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22 Jul 2012, 12:39 am

bizboy1 wrote:
Hello, I eat out everyday and I like to order the same thing from the same restaurant everyday. People that work there notice this and it makes me anxious. Has anyone else experienced this? I'm hungry right now and want to get something to eat but my anxiety is too high. I want to eat at restaurant A but I'm embarrassed and simultaneously feel uncomfortable.


A psychic 'back and forth' has now been established, between you and staff..... and is now affecting the digestion of any food you purchase from restaurant A.....

When an aspie has overstayed his welcome at an eating establishment, he needs to move on and obsess over another meal. Its relatively common.

Its nature interfering in your unhealthy meal obsession.... so a big 'yay' for nature working perfectly as it should....

Its all good.

Realize there is another meal out there waiting for you...
a meal so nice and close to home,
and a place so snug where love is grown,
where beautiful waitress's serve you, and you alone....

More delicious, bigger, better than anything you have ever known
I'm about to groan



dyingofpoetry
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22 Jul 2012, 12:47 am

Quote:
A psychic 'back and forth' has now been established, between you and staff..... and is now affecting the digestion of any food you purchase from restaurant A.....

When an aspie has overstayed his welcome at an eating establishment, he needs to move on and obsess over another meal. Its relatively common.

Its nature interfering in your unhealthy meal obsession.... so a big 'yay' for nature working perfectly as it should....


Ah, so it was merely the forces of nature at work that caused me to go elsewhere... Thanks, Surfman, that went oh-so-far in helping me to feel less connected with the world.


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22 Jul 2012, 12:57 am

bizboy1, you're looking at being a loyal and frequent patron all wrong. Instead of worrying, start smiling. Because when the restaurant people realize you love their food, they'll start to treat you special. Say Hello, introduce yourself and ask, What's your name? and remember each and every restaurant person's name. Tell them you really like X dish and Y dish is great too. You never know what nice things they'll do for you until you show them some small appreciation.



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22 Jul 2012, 1:19 am

Aside from giving you food in exchange for money, these people will have no impact whatsoever on your life. Why do you care what they think? To me it makes only slightly more sense than worrying about what the furniture thinks of you.


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22 Jul 2012, 1:21 am

dyingofpoetry wrote:
Thanks, Surfman, that went oh-so-far in helping me to feel less connected with the world.


I'm waiting for that perfect meal too. One day we will find each other. Until then I am forever Tom Yum and Tom Ka.

Its not good to eat the same meal everyday, not matter how nice it tastes [to you].

Variety is an ideal state regarding diet. I've had addictions to the same takeout or sit down joint... aspies need to have many favourite restaurants instead of fixating and over using and spoiling a good meal...

Oftentimes you continue to go there..... even though your body now reacts unfavourably to the [now 2 months long] repeated meal...



outofplace
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22 Jul 2012, 1:23 am

Bunnynose wrote:
bizboy1, you're looking at being a loyal and frequent patron all wrong. Instead of worrying, start smiling. Because when the restaurant people realize you love their food, they'll start to treat you special. Say Hello, introduce yourself and ask, What's your name? and remember each and every restaurant person's name. Tell them you really like X dish and Y dish is great too. You never know what nice things they'll do for you until you show them some small appreciation.


This. I go to the same Subway every day because I am doing the Subway diet to lose weight. The people there know me and we have a good rapport. I work in the same plaza as this restaurant (at another restaurant) and everyone knows I tend to like sameness. I used to feel VERY self-conscious if people recognized me at places I did business with and would go as far as to no longer frequent them if they got too familiar. Now, I resist the urge to run and instead try to learn to engage the people in conversation. I may be a bit odd at it at times, but I have learned how to use a little eye contact and intonation in order to not sound odd. Plus, it's easier for me to do this in a familiar setting around familiar people than somewhere strange and new. Now that I know that Asperger's is the reason why I tend to be socially avoidant, I can reason around it and force my way through these interactions. In the end, 99% of the people I deal with on a regular basis treat me nicely and with kindness so I see no real reason to change it any more. However, I may change it up a bit tomorrow... it's been a while since I went to the Chinese Buffet down the plaza!


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Last edited by outofplace on 23 Jul 2012, 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

cozysweater
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22 Jul 2012, 1:29 am

I completely understand this anxiety! I have a handful of restaurants that I go to and I always order the same thing. To "fix" the problem, I stagger my visits so I'm not there every day. I'll do restaurant A then B then C etc. or mix them up a little bit more if I've gone to one more frequently than the others.
Truthfully, I only feel embarrased about being recognized at fast food joints, so being a regular at diners and proper restaurants isn't as anxiety causing for me.