After reading Ben’s recent article The Power of Affinity about how experiencing things in a group is better, I was inspired to share my experience doing the exact opposite, learning to be comfortable experiencing events alone.
Growing up we are taught that you need to have friends to do everything with. Sure you can get some alone time when you need it, but if you were off doing things alone you were looked at as a loner or weirdo. In school we are pressured to have as many friends as possible and having many friends is an indication of your social standing. While school certainly helps kids learn the ins and outs of human interactions necessary for a regular life, does it also encourage one to lose touch with themselves?
I am definitely not saying that anyone should avoid having friends or taking part in social activities, but I also think we should all feel comfortable doing the same things on our own. Why should we rely on others to see that new movie we are dying to see, to get out to that event we are excited about, or even to go out to a nice sit down meal at a restaurant? The answer is that we shouldn’t.
Recently I have been pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone to try doing things on my own, and it always surprises me how normal it feels. I don’t catch the judgments or awkwardness that I am expecting when people see me on my own. No one calls me names or tells me to get friends. Everyone just goes on doing what they normally would be without a single judgement voiced (at least not said for me to hear). I don’t have to explain myself or defend my reasoning to be alone and the truth is that the only one feeling awkward about me being alone is me. I can have a great time on my own and I dont have to rely on the interests of others to dictate the things that I do. It is freeing in a way.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying to abandon your friends or that you don’t need them. As Ben said, it is always great to have someone else along to make a memory with you. I am just saying not to miss out on something because you will have to go alone. Embrace it and don’t let any feelings of how you ‘should’ attend public events hold you back!
Do you go to things alone? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments section below!