Even though I have piles of awesome friends and a rather packed social calendar, I love puttering around the house, pawing through racks at the thrift store and poking around tiny towns all by my lonesome. I've traveled through 28 countries, often by myself, and given the choice between a mediocre party filled with bad conversationalists or a comfy bed + a good book + a nice hunk of cheese, I will joyfully choose the latter.
Despite my partial quirky alone status, there are still things I don't like doing sans friend. Going to shows. Or bars. Or eating in fancy, couple-y restaurants. But I'm slowly getting over it!
Why? Because doing stuff by yourself is totally effing awesome. You don't need to worry about anyone's time frame/budget/relationship status other than your own. No waiting for your friend while she flirts with that douche! No feeling rushed because your buddy didn't find any clothes she liked! No feeling guilty for splurging on the truffle risotto in front of your unemployed friend! It's all you, all the time.
Want to enjoy doing by stuff by yourself? Here are a few tricks I use when I'm feeling a bit unsure.
1) Realize that nobody's looking at you and nobody cares that you're alone
I think most of our 'alone' related hang-ups are that we'll look like a loser eating/dancing/movie or show-going alone. And the thing is? Nobody cares. Nobody's looking at you. And if they are looking at you and noticing the fact that you're alone - there's a 99% chance it's someone who's about to come over and flirt with you.
2) If you really hate it, you can always leave
If you're (very nervously) headed to a party or show on your own, remember that you can always leave if you hate it. Whenever I force myself to attend an event, I give myself a time minimum. "I have to stay at this networking event for at least an hour! And then I can go home and watch the new episode of Parks and Rec."
3) Allow yourself an 'alone-vice'
If you really want to try that new restaurant but it's out of your friends' price range or you're determined to see Ireland and nobody will go with you, it's okay to have an 'alone-vice.' An 'alone-vice' is something that you do when you're in public alone and feeling a little bit weird or awkward. Of course, you can play games on your phone, but you can also write in a journal, read, take photos, or sketch if you're particularly arty. It gives you something to do if you don't want to make small talk with strangers and you're sick of staring into the middle distance while you wait for the server.
Do you do things by yourself? If you feel self-conscious about it, how do you get over that?
photo by Ivan Iliev // cc