I ate dinner alone today in a restaurant ... at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. It was nice and calm and quiet. I enjoyed it.
My first boyfriend, who was kind of a horrible person, had a friend who was also a pretty horrible person. His friend used to tell me how he felt so sorry for women he'd sometimes see eating alone in restaurants (even if they were reading a book!!) that he would go and sit with them, uninvited. Even as a teenager I realized how goddamn stupid that was. I told him to stop doing that and leave those women alone to eat dinner by themselves in peace.
Anyhoo, if you're ever tempted to sit down with someone who's eating alone in a restaurant, just don't.
Unless they're literally crying into their soup -- that might be one time it's OK to ask if they'd like company.
But we should all check on a crying stranger if we see one, right?