Why You Could Be Better Off Alone

being alone

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.

Why You Could Be Better Off Alone | DARLING

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

Leslie likes to consider herself a walking SNL encyclopedia. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, has crushes on used bookstores, drinks a lot of tea, and dreams of being a writer. She wants to laugh a lot and do what she can to help people in need.

24 COMMENTS
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  • SISIREIA July 30, 2016

    I just did this. I took myself out to lunch alone and had the best time.

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  • Sonny July 18, 2016

    Yeah, that’s the tickte, sir or ma’am

  • Marnie July 18, 2016

    Appecriation for this information is over 9000-thank you!

  • Meg Siobhan June 30, 2016

    I’m not an overly social person, but I do love to do things by myself every so often. I think it’s nice to spend time in your own company!

  • Suzi June 27, 2016

    I was just thinking about this the other day! For the past week, I’ve been traveling with my family. As much as I love them and enjoy spending time with them, I kept thinking about how much I want to travel solo. I could go to all of the places I wanted to go that may not interest them, I could spend 30 minutes taking pictures of a pretty cathedral without being hurried along. Solo travel just sounds so freeing, and I’ve made it my goal to do some solo travel this year.

  • Melanie June 26, 2016

    I have been going to concerts alone since 2004. I love going to concerts alone. It also forces me to use a map when I am lost and try and find places. I do not have to worry about waiting for anyone or leaving anyone behind. I like going to the venue early to stand in line so I can get front row (the venues I go to are standing room only). At the meet and greets, I do not have to worry about anyone embarrassing me or doing something crazy or embarrassing with the peformers. I am glad you went to the concert alone and learned a lot about yourself. I am glad that you had fun.

  • Lucie June 25, 2016

    Well said! And funny enough, I was just thinking about the same thing yesterday! I like being by myself, there is nothing wrong with that, but it can be a burden when you start wondering what other people might think. But at the same time, who cares? They probably don’t even pay attention!

  • Susan June 25, 2016

    I love my solo time.
    You learn to love your own company.

    http://a-woman-of-a-certain-age.com/

  • Lyone June 25, 2016

    Wow!! I never think any of those negative things when I see someone out by themselves. I love my alone time, and wish I had more of it!

  • Cinnamon June 25, 2016

    I’m actually looking forward to doing things alone this summer. For some reason it seems exciting.

  • Diana June 25, 2016

    This is a beautiful post! I’ve recently played with the idea of doing things completely on my own – I’m actually sitting at a cafe by myself at this very moment! And I’m loving every second of it. 🙂

    Diana | http://www.thechicdiary.com

  • Jay Ong June 25, 2016

    This is such a great post! I was actually mulling over whether I should go to see the ballet by myself or scramble wildly in desperate search of any friend who would accompany me so I wouldn’t look like I was alone. Reading your thoughts on this just confirmed my own feelings that it’s perfectly fine and even just admirable for people to be independent. It shows that you’re self-assured and comfortable in your own skin! I’ve always hated the assumption that people immediately adopt when they see someone eating lunch by themselves or attending a social function alone. It’s not actually that they are feeling lonely or not even necessarily that they didn’t have anyone else to go with, it may be that they chose to do things this way. It leaves them more open to making new friends and as you said, developing their own perspective on the world!

  • Hannah June 21, 2016

    I love this. I used to go the local art museum alone regularly when I was in college, but haven’t done anything like that in a while. It was fortuitous timing coming across this article as I am having the same experience (i.e. no one being available to accompany me) with a concert I really want to attend. Thanks for the nudge to step out of my comfort zone and not miss out. 🙂

  • Priscilla M June 21, 2016

    This really encourages me to do more things alone. Having friends bail for one reason or another gets old after while. And I find being alone helps me feel more center away.

  • Bianca B. June 20, 2016

    I loved reading this article because I’m actually used to doing stuff by myself most of the time! If I had always waited for somebody else to join me, I’d probably never developed so many different interests and my life would have been a real drag. Instead, spending time by myself to do things *I* like taught me a lot more about who I am and what I want in life. I think that young people would especially benefit from going out solo every now and then, given how much pressure you feel to conform in those years.

  • Andrea David June 20, 2016

    Yes! Agree totally with this article. I love travelling alone moreso than with others and just went to my first concert alone a couple weeks ago actually. Was worrying a bit about the concert even more than travelling so it’s funny I came across this awesome article!

  • I really liked this post! I’m still struggling with doing things alone, I don’t know why but it’s really hard to get over that mind hurtle of doing things you want all by yourself. When I first travelled by myself I was so scared but I had grown tired of people telling me they would come before they bailed at the last minute. But now for some reason it’s easier for me to travel alone than it is to go to a restaurant alone or even a cafe! it’s weird haha
    The Fernweh Wolf / Travel & Lifestyle Blog
    xx

  • Nancy Corradini June 19, 2016

    Absolutely try going alone if you have not. I went to Portugal alone for 9 days—best trip I’ve taken and interacted more people along the way.

  • Leanne @ Découvrir June 19, 2016

    I have been going out to cafes alone for the past year and it is amazing. It truly is stimulating to go once in a while, either to read or to study!

  • Mary Beth June 18, 2016

    As a single woman, I’ve found over the years that going out alone, especially to a semi-social venue like a concert, not only empowers me, but it opens me to encounter other people in a way I wouldn’t if I were with friends. Of course, I love going out with friends and family, but now and then it’s great to do something I like just because I like it — and to meet the people around me who clearly share my interests. There’s a vulnerability in doing something alone, but if we’re willing to embrace it that becomes the space in which we can connect with other people in a new and meaningful way, while learning a bit more about ourselves.

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