Now that winter break is over and classes have started up again, finding time to hang out with friends and family can be hard to do. While this can be a bit frustrating, it breeds the perfect opportunity not only to focus on things you enjoy — but to become comfortable doing them solo.
It can be uncomfortable to do otherwise social activities, like going to the movies or trying out a new restaurant, by oneself. Often, there is a fear of judgment that comes when flying solo. At the end of the day, if you are enjoying yourself, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks. Just remember, the majority of those around you will never cross paths with you again.
While many activities are often done in groups, it’s not strange to see somebody running errands alone. I believe this is due to the focus of “getting things done,” so no one judges you while out getting groceries because that’s something that everyone has to do. According to a Washington Post article, people actually change their actions in fear of facing judgment from others. The article calls this “the spotlight effect.”
The same article cited a study that showed people tend to have just as much fun going out alone as they do when they bring friends along. So next time you’re the only one in your friend group wanting to see that new movie, consider going alone.
In fact, it might actually even be healthy for you. Allowing yourself time to be free of socialization and interaction allows you to take some time to just relax and find what it is that you like to do, instead of having to worry about your friends enjoying it on the same level as you. Many of us at The Alestle make it a habit to go out alone, and we’ve found it can be somewhat therapeutic. We believe that self-care is important.
When deciding to go out alone, always make sure that you stay safe about it. Always tell someone where you’re going, and try to keep to safe areas that you may know better than exploring somewhere new.
When it comes down to it, going out alone can seem very daunting. However, when one gets over that fear, they’ll usually end up finding a new way to enjoy their free time. And if it turns out you don’t enjoy it, at least you have the freedom to call it a night whenever you want because you went alone.
So next time you find yourself spending another Friday night on the couch, do not automatically call a friend to come over. Instead, try going out by yourself. You might find you like the free time as much as we do.