Last updated on December 28th, 2022 at 10:22 am
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Chances are, you know someone who is a selective eater around you.
When you think of a picky eater, a child might come to mind but there are many selective eater adults out there.
It can be difficult when you’re going out to eat with them.
As someone who is a part of the group, this post will shed some insight into what picky eaters are thinking about and how to understand them better.
A quick disclaimer – although I am a selective eater myself, I cannot represent all picky eaters. I can only share how I feel.
Planning Where to Go Eat
When going out to eat, picky eaters will do some planning beforehand.
For example, if I’m going out to eat with my friend, both of us have to approve of the restaurant choice.
We will have a discussion beforehand and ask each other what to eat.
If my friend has a strong preference for Japanese food, then I’ll look up the restaurants near the neighbourhood we will hang around.
That’s where all the research on Google comes in.
Picky eaters tend to google restaurants for two reasons: 1) does the restaurant have good reviews? 2) is there anything we would eat on the menu?
Once I’ve narrowed down the list to a few restaurants, I will share a few options with my friend and ask for her opinion.
As you can see, it can be a tad tiresome to always plan where to eat with picky eaters.
For non-picky eaters, they are probably okay with any restaurant because they know they’ll likely find something on the menu they want to eat.
For us, there’s so much we don’t eat that we have to do our research. It can be so extreme that some people might choose to eat nothing at all.
What Happens If You Can’t Plan
Now, I acknowledge that not every single meal can be planned when dining out.
Sometimes, we might end up in a neighbourhood we didn’t expect to go to or we would have a craving for a different kind of cuisine that day.
Picky eaters still might use platforms like Google to research restaurants. However, we cannot thoroughly explore our options since we’re pressed on time.
So we try our best to do whatever is available.
This can be checking a restaurant’s menu while we’re in a car or walking around to different places looking at their menu outside their shop.
Comments On Eating Habits
‘You don’t eat that?’
‘You’re so weird.’
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve heard them all.
I can’t count the number of times people have said how weird my eating habits are.
YES, I KNOW.
I’m well aware.
The first few times people have commented on my eating habits, I laughed it off and admitted that I am a fussy eater.
After a few times, it gets extremely annoying.
You hear the same phrase in different words all the time.
Trust me, picky eaters have heard it enough times.
Please respect our choices and just move on.
You don’t think it’s annoying for us to always have to research restaurants?
I’ve tried many foods over the years and my palate just doesn’t agree.
Please don’t keep commenting on our choices. It makes us uncomfortable.
Encourage The Selective Eater to Try Your Food
Instead of making comments on what they ordered, ask them to try some of your food.
I was with my friend once and she encouraged me to try raw deer.
To her surprise (and mine too, honestly), I said yes.
We still talk and laugh about it to this day.
If you ask them to try your dish, they might reject your offer. There’s also a chance of them saying yes.
Maybe that new dish will be one of their new favourites.
If it wasn’t for my friend ordering raw deer for herself, I would not have tried it.
Picky eaters might not feel comfortable trying something new. If we don’t like our dish, we would feel like we’re wasting food and our money.
If someone else orders a dish and we only have a bite, it’s not that bad.
If we don’t like it, then that’s it!
We can go back to eating our own food.
If we DO, then that dish can be added to the list of things we eat.
What Types of Restaurants Are Okay?
Set menus at fine dining restaurants are probably a no-go for picky eaters.
At fancy restaurants, they serve dishes like rabbit, seafood, etc.
You need to have a particular palate for those types of foods.
Going to restaurants that have a fixed menu can be burdensome.
Picky eaters are unsure if they will like ONE thing from the chosen menu, let alone all of them.
Sensory deprivation restaurants are probably also a no.
I haven’t been to a sensory deprivation restaurant yet.
Not being able to see my food sounds..weird. Taking my vision away to enhance other senses sounds great in theory. In reality, I am hesitant and probably won’t even eat much.
So what’s a yes?
Buffets are great because there’s a bit of everything.
You pay a fixed price and get to eat whatever you want.
You and your friend will have many options at a buffet and can eat different things.
It’s usually pretty loud there as well so you can talk comfortably while eating.
Final Thoughts – Eating with a Selective Eater
This post isn’t about always accommodating the selective eater.
The most important thing is to communicate.
If your selective eater is insistent on always eating at a restaurant of her choosing, it can get a bit much.
You have to take into account what your friends and family want to eat as well.
One person cannot be accommodating all the time. It will cause resentment and an imbalance in the relationship.
It’s all about giving and taking so there needs to be a mutual agreement.
As humans, we can get caught up in our own world. Once you talk to her, she might not even realize that she is overbearing.
You guys should take turns choosing a restaurant.
Going out to eat is great and both should appreciate it and approve of the restaurant choice.
It’s important to note that although I am fussy about eating, I still take into account what my friends/family want to eat.
Now to You – Dealing with a Selective Eater
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