Recently there was an English artist I like playing at a nearby venue. I really wanted to go, but I didn’t hear of the show until the day it was happening. Naturally, I texted my husband and several friends to see if there was anyone available or interested in going with me. No one was.
I asked a couple of co-workers to see if they could go, but they had plans. One of them told me that if I really wanted to see this artist, I should just go by myself. The idea was immediately fascinating to me; I had never really contemplated doing something as simple as attending a concert alone. Which is kind of crazy. I love concerts, and living in Los Angeles, there are a lot of small shows happening every night of the week. How had I never been to a concert by myself?
There is often a stigma attached to being alone. For some reason it is seen as socially unacceptable to do things by yourself. As soon as we see someone by herself, we sort of assume there’s something wrong, something they’ve done to repel other people.
“That guy is eating alone, that’s so sad.”
“Oh, that woman is at the movies alone, I feel bad for her.”
Why is it always presumed that people don’t want to be doing things alone? This type of thought can lead us to believe that we cannot go somewhere unless someone is with us, and when no one is available we would rather not attend than go alone.
Why is it always presumed that people don’t want to be doing things alone?
I did end up going to that concert alone, and it was great; in fact, there were some things about going alone that made it even more enjoyable than if someone had come with me. Throwing yourself in the face of the “going alone” stigma is scary, sure, but there are also distinct positives to being your own company.
1. Your perspective is truly your own.
Whether you are single or not, there is a unique value in taking time to see your own reaction to things completely unfiltered by any social expectations of friend groups or relationships. Often you are able to notice more details and take more in culture when you are alone because there is no one pulling your attention elsewhere.
2. Breaking patterns of reliance.
We are all so rooted in spending time with people that sometimes, when no one is available, it can feel like a loss to be alone. Instead, we should recognize our individual strengths and appreciate one-on-one time with ourselves. It also teaches us to be comfortable with who we are. In an age where connections are a single text away, it’s easy to miss out on fully knowing our own thoughts and habits.
In an age where connections are a single text away, it’s easy to miss out on fully knowing our own thoughts and habits.
3. Making room for creativity.
Group brainstorming is great, but there’s also a time for quiet, personal reflection. Clearing out distractions and allowing time to reflect is a great way to tap into your creativity. Going out to events like movies, concerts, even just coffee shop days is stimulating, and doing it alone can help you focus those creative energies.
4. Being alone with your mind is one of the best things for your soul.
Use your alone time as a chance to clear out your cluttered mind and just get back in touch with yourself. Taking a little “me” time gives you an opportunity to get away from distractions for long enough to reflect on your relationships and the course of your life so that you can determine what changes, if any, you may want to make.
Once you start becoming more comfortable with the idea of being alone, doing activities like shopping, seeing a movie, or hiking by yourself can actually be enjoyable. And as we continue doing things alone, the feeling of being self-conscious about being alone in public eventually dissipates and instead promotes self-awareness. It takes a degree of confidence and initiative to do things solo, of which you should be proud.
If you want to do something, why should the idea of doing it alone be enough to stop you?
Images via Müjgan Afra Özceylan