Humans are pretty judgmental. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but it definitely becomes one once our judgments start impacting other people. There’s nothing like the stare of another person to make you rethink doing something you originally thought was totally fine.
That stare comes out often when you’re alone.
Nothing brings out the judgment quite like someone enjoying an activity solo. Societal rules say you’re allowed to be alone in one place and one place only: in your home. And even that becomes “sad” if you’re of a certain age, especially if you’re a woman.
What’s up with that?
If you think about it, it’s really stressful. We live in a world that demands us to find a companion if we want to participate in an activity. What if all our friends are busy? How about if we dare to take an interest in an hobby that no one else in our life does? Perhaps you are the only person you know who can afford to take the Alaskan cruise of your dreams. It sounds ridiculous to say that you’re S.O.L. and have to erase that trip from your bucket list, but that’s what society’s judgment often tells us.
The stigma is real – but it shouldn’t be.
It’s okay to do things by yourself. In fact, it can be exactly what your mental health needs. It’s good for us to spend time alone – especially if that means we don’t have to miss out on things that will bring us joy. There’s nothing wrong with being alone for a dinner, a concert, a vacation, or even just for a weekend at home. Friends, family, and partners are wonderful but your own company is as well.
If you’re ready to conquer the world (or at least your favorite restaurant) solo, try these tips to get you started.
- Bring a buffer: Being glued to your phone defeats the purpose a little bit, but if it helps you feel more comfortable your first time out, go for it. Books also work great here if you’re dining solo.
- Try a short outing first: Lunch before dinner. A day trip before a weekend excursion.
- Do something you will absolutely love: Seeing your favorite band perform live is almost always going to be worth the discomfort you feel. Doing something you’re only lukewarm about may not be.
- Pick an activity you’ll like more without someone there: Going to the movies is usually #1 on this list. It’s not like you should be talking to someone else anyway!