Lovelyish reader perfectisfakke writes:
In February, there was a slew of movies that I was dying to see. Nobody wanted to see them with me, so I had the choice of going by myself or waiting to see them on DVD. I decided to choose the latter, half because as my brother always says “never watch a romantic comedy in theaters,” and the other half because I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of seeing a movie by myself.
Now, I’m not a stranger to being alone in public places, especially now that I’m in college. For example, the first week of my internship the summer after freshmen year, I ate by myself in restaurants, pretending I had important business on my phone, until I started making friends with the other interns. That counts, right? Then, when I moved out of the dorms and into an apartment, I began walking to the grocery store by myself every now and then.
Now that I have a car, I find myself going out alone even more. I found that being alone is nice, as it gives me time to focus on myself and not worry about other things. On the other hand, sometimes I wish I had someone there with me, so that we can discuss the pros and cons of my possible purchase at Macy’s.
In the future, I will not let the fear of being alone prohibit me from doing things I want to do.
Are you comfortable going to places alone? Do you have any tips for someone who is not?
For years, I believed that wanting to be alone was strange. From those denim ads with laughing teenagers running around partying non-stop together to Cosmopolitan articles telling me how to best avoid being alone (as though it were a disease), I felt like being alone when you’re young had to be a strange affliction that nobody my age would ever want. I would always make sure I had significant others so we could things together and friends to go out with. During my freshman year of college, I would rather not eat at all than actually have to eat in the cafeteria all (gasp!) alone. If I was walking on my own, I would feel so uncomfortable that I would feel obligated to call somebody, anybody just to avoid that awkward silence with, of all people, myself.
But then I got a car and, like you, I began going out alone even more. I actually started enjoying it–I would listen to my music as loud as I wanted, think about what I needed to do that day, focus on my own thoughts rather than anybody else’s. Sure, it’s nice to have somebody else there to talk to, but it’s also nice to be at ease with your own singular presence.
Plus, I learned something that has actually become incredibly lovely: people respect other people who are comfortable with being alone. Granted, there will always be judgmental people who think that being alone is a socially negative thing, but they tend to be simply insecure with themselves. But most people, I’ve found, actually think it’s really fantastic when others are okay with being on their own.
For example, I went through a breakup in January. I had been with that person for nearly two years and we had been somewhat of a “power duo,” always together even when it wasn’t that pleasant. After doing the whole “rebound” thing briefly, I actually took myself out for a few dates at night. I would order myself something fancy and a nice cocktail and just enjoy my own company. Weirdly enough, the servers and bartenders always thought this was great (especially when I took myself out on Valentine’s Day) and would often give me extra food or free drinks. It never seemed to be out of pity, just a sort of “high-five” for independence.
Plus, you never know who’ll you meet while out alone, which makes it even more exciting if you’re at a restaurant or lounge or even the grocery store on your own.
My best tips for anybody who is anxious about going places alone:
- Remember, there are tons of other people in your vicinity who are also alone. In fact, there are plenty of times when the “alone” people outnumber the “together” people.
- Nobody–at least not anybody who matters but, generally, nobody–will judge you for being alone. And the more confident you behave, the less likely even the most judgmental of fools will notice.
- Seeing movies with other people is incredibly overrated. Not only do you have to worry about whether they’ll talk during the movie (my biggest peeve), you also have to share snacks. And snacks, my friend, are far more awesome when they’re all yours.
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