Those days exists where everyone you know is busy or maybe you just don’t feel like being around others, but either way, there come those days where you are just alone. Some thrive on those lonely days, taking in every moment of quiet alone time they can get, and others get an intense surge of loneliness. The spectrum of how people feel when they are alone can vary greatly, but switch from being in your home alone to going out by yourself, and the majority of people feel the same.
There is something in going out to a restaurant or store alone that makes people feel especially isolated. It often seems like everyone else is with another person and you’re the only one who couldn’t manage to find a friend. You may feel like you are the only one who would ever want to spend time with yourself outside of the house. Whether going out alone makes you feel great or lost, I’m here to show you the positives in it. There is power in going out alone and here is why.
Power in Self
If you even think about going out alone you have accomplished something great. The matter-of-the-fact is that when you go out alone, very few people are probably noticing or even caring about the fact that nobody is with you. This means that the lonely feeling we get inside us is entirely mental and the fact that you want to just go out and get a coffee or buy a new book by yourself means you have overcome self-consciousness and for some maybe even an anxiety.
There is power in going out alone. For one, you have overcome a fear (if you are on that end of the spectrum) and second, you are spending time alone with your mind which can be scary. Friends are great. They allow us to connect, form relationships, gain new experiences, and most of all not be alone. Sometimes having friends allows us to ignore our own thoughts and we can easily cling to the ideas and likes of our friends. When you spend time out alone you get to see what you would do in public situations when no one else is around. You get a better feel for yourself.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, I’m spending this summer on campus taking classes. That in itself has its benefits, but this also means a lot of my friends are out of town visiting family or on vacation. This has forced me to spend a lot of time getting to know a couple of my friends way better and also to spend a lot of time by myself. I refuse to stay cooped up in my apartment 24/7, especially with a poor roommate situation, so I go out on my own a lot. Not only do I get to become a “regular” at local places, I have gotten a way better idea of who I am based solely on how I interact with the environment around me.
Something you may notice in people is that they act way different with certain people. This was something that I realized in high school. I never really fell into one clique. I had friends in a bunch of different groups and they all accepted me as I was. It’s because of this that I got a much wider view of the student body. Students who were rowdy with their friends all the time had trouble speaking in front of the class during reports, but they would happily prank the teacher in front of everyone if they had a friend or two in front of the class with them. They had this feeling of false security when their friends were around. Then I started to notice the same thing about myself.
When I was with friends I could be super silly and then I would just be shy when I was alone. Going into year three of college and having spent a lot more time by myself, not crouched in a classroom with the same people every day, I’ve found that I can be my silly self with anyone. I don’t have to be nervous about ordering alone at a restaurant because it’s no different than being with people. Friends create this sort of false security which is why they say to know yourself before jumping into a relationship. I held onto this fear that if I was myself in public when my friends weren’t around I wouldn’t have anybody to turn to if I got embarrassed. Then I realized it’s really hard for me to get embarrassed, because really, what is embarrassment? It’s the fear of a negative judgment by others.
Remember how that strange gut feeling of loneliness when you go out if just a self-conscious mental feeling you force on yourself? So is the feeling of embarrassment. If you could never fail what would you do? Now if you never felt embarrassed what would you do? Going out alone gives you power because you realize you don’t need that security bubble you feel with friends. When you can feel strong with yourself hanging out with friends is more fun. They aren’t there to serve as protection from fear, judgment, or scrutiny. They become fun people you simply make awesome memories with and can depend on.
So, I’m not going to dare you or ask you to go out alone like it is some strange thing to try. Maybe the first couple times you eat out alone it might feel a little weird, but once you get used to asking for a table-for-one your confidence will show and the waiter won’t give you that weird look (the one you may just be seeing because you think you are being judged). It takes time but you become aware of the fact that you can and should be a friend to yourself. Time alone doesn’t have to be spent drowning your thoughts in Netflix or a nap. Time alone can be spent enjoying your presence on this earth out trying a new coffee house or seeing a local band. I’m just going to recommend you take your next day off to treat yourself with time out by yourself. You deserve it. Who knows, maybe if you have been feeling a little stressed or upset, time out with yourself may allow you to work out those negative thoughts and replace them with a positive day.