Im Claustrophobic too, but strangely , I like facing away from the door. It kinda makes me feel like I'm more alone, and not in such a crowded room. I also hate making eye contact with the server, I leave that up to my wife
I just keep my head down and eat .
We exclusively eat across from each other.
If we go out with my kids, Ill sit next to my daughter, and my wife sits next to my son. Its like an unwritten rule. occasionally, when we sit differently by accident, we ultimately get up and fix it. Bizarre, but it just feels right.