Part of the fun of dining out is that the social experience extends beyond your own table.  From the couple trying to make conversation on their first date, to the exhausted-looking parents whose children are miraculously sitting still, restaurants can always be counted upon for some good people watching.

If you have previously been too focused on your entrée to eavesdrop on the funny story
being told at the table next door, you might be missing out.  Here are some of our favorite fellow diners to watch for on your next restaurant excursion:

1. The family – Family dynamics are endlessly entertaining to observe, no matter the setting. This category of people watching ranges from the heartwarming (nights out with grandparents, father-daughter dinners or a mom treating her little ballerina to an ice cream cone after class), to the amusing (a table roaring with laughter as someone recalls the time dad backed his car into the mailbox, parents attempting to teach children good table manners.)

2. The date – More often than not, you’ll be able to scan the restaurant and locate at least one set of fellow diners on a date.  A fun way to pass the time between your appetizer and main course is to try to guess the status of the relationship.  Is it a first date?  Is there a proposal in the works after dessert? Is the girl plotting an escape out the back door?

3. The girls’ night out – We’ve all seen them: the giggly group of girlfriends catching up over everything from brunch to sushi.  These can be especially fun to
observe.  Story telling is sure to abound, and the ladies often dress to impress for these outings.

4. The old friends – Watching old friends reunite for a meal always makes you appreciate the act of dining together.  The comfortable smiles and warm conversation creates a pleasant ambience for fellow diners, and serves as a great reminder to set a lunch date with your own dear friends.

Tell us about some of your favorite people watching experiences below!