I’ve wanted to write about this for a while.
The first time I did something social on my own (sounds a bit oxymoronic) was when I was 18. I went to see Wanted at Cineworld. At 18 I was anxious about going to the cinema on my own. Now, I will happily watch two films in one day and not give a damn what anyone thinks. I’ve also been to gigs on my own and the biggest thing ever, was going to the o2 Arena in London. Perhaps this confidence and don’t-give-a-damn attitude comes with age.
There’s a stigma when a young woman is seen in public on her own. I don’t know why but I want to explore the reason this stigma exists and what we can do to combat it. So bare with me if this post lacks any real flow or coherence.
I really enjoy spending time alone. For a long time, especially in my early twenties, doing things on my own seemed scary and I felt that society pitied women seen out in public by themselves. For some reason people assume that if you’re eating out alone, at the cinema alone, a gig or anything like that then there must be something wrong with you. Maybe you were stood up. Maybe you have no social skills so you don’t have a close-knit circle of friends. Maybe you’re a closet misanthrope who alienates people with every word that comes out of your mouth so you’re avoided like the plague.
Who remembers that scene in FRIENDS where the hot doctor turns down a date opportunity with Rachel when she finally faces her fear and enjoys a meal by herself? He labelled her a freak. I love FRIENDS and I don’t take everything in it seriously, (or any sitcom for that matter) but art imitates life so who can say this scene didn’t echo a real life sentiment- why else would anyone find it funny?
If we’re honest with ourselves we invite people to do things with us because we’re scared of being alone. We’re afraid of how people will see us. We tell ourselves we don’t but we all care what other people think. I’m not arguing that hanging out with other people is bad. It’s wonderful to share experiences with another person. But I think we’re all guilty of pressuring a friend or SO to accompany us to some event because we’re scared to go on our own.
But let me tell you a secret – it’s so much fun to do things by yourself!
I have had a lot of fun doing things by myself. I’ve seen bands that I adore, watched films I enjoyed, seen comedians and grown roots in indie coffee shops that I love. All by myself. (Don’t lie, you sang that line).
One of the best things about doing social stuff by yourself is you get the FULL experience. There’s no temptation to talk and miss anything. You don’t have to worry if your friend or SO is enjoying the experience as much as you. There’s no guilt or embarrassment if said SO or friend thinks the activity you forced them into was a pile of crap.
I can’t tell you how sucky it is to force someone to go to the cinema with you, or see a band and they hated it or didn’t understand the film. What’s the point of that?
I implore you to do something by yourself this week. If you’re afraid to eat out alone, go to the cinema or see a band you love, PLEASE don’t miss the opportunity because it means going on your own! Life is way too short to miss out on great, fun experiences that will be emblazoned in your memory. Have the guts to reject the status quo and go out and enjoy yourself. Trust me when I tell you that people don’t bat an eyelid. They’re way too concerned with themselves.
I won’t lie. It takes guts to take the first step and hang out with yourself. But you’ll feel so happy afterwards. Let me know what you get up to.
Love black pistachio x