The other day I was telling my friend how I went and ate somewhere by myself. She couldn’t believe it. Thought it was wild that I just sat at a bar and ate a meal by myself like it was nothing. I think I was actually more surprised that SHE was surprised. I thought this was kind of normal? As someone who traveled for work a lot, as a young adult, I was oftentimes eating alone at hotels or restaurants. Never really thought anything of it. My friend, on the other hand, is a bit nervous to do this. It got me thinking about why I’m so comfortable doing this, how I got to that point and all the things I have done alone without even second-guessing them.
Doing things alone actually has some great benefits to it. Think about all the confidence you’ll get from being able to sit somewhere alone and learn to just enjoy yourself. And waht about all the creative ideas you’ll come up with when you let your brain wander a little while sitting at a bar people watching. Not to mention, being alone removes a lot of social distractions and allows you to take in more of the moment. From the smells, the tastes, and the experiences. Dinner alone with no distractions will have you enjoying each and every bite in a whole new way.
All of these things help to build confidence, creativity, self-awareness and more mindfulness. It takes practice and won’t be easy the first time you try it. But just with anything else you try that’s new, it takes some effort and practice. But before you know it you’ll be a pro.
7 Things To Do Alone
Go To The Movies
Why are we always waiting for someone else to want to see a movie before we actually just go and do it ourselves? Maybe this is the lack of patience I have, but enjoying a movie alone and not having to share the popcorn is a great way to spend an evening. And really it’s the perfect way to enjoy an afternoon matinee. This is also a really easy thing to try since it doesn’t require any socializing. You’re supposed to just sit and be quiet at the theatre. This is a great first step for those of you just dipping your toes into doing things alone.
Visit A Museum or Exhibit
A solid choice if you’re nervous to get started. A museum or exhibit is meant to be consumed in a quiet space so this is ideal for exploring alone. You can go at your own pace making it the perfect activity to do without friends or family. You’ve got this one!
Travel To A New City
This is a big one, but one I highly recommend trying once you feel comfortable. When picking a city, I vote for one that’s very walkable. These usually are more solo traveler-friendly. Less time driving around, more time just walking and exploring. Think cities like NYC, San Francisco, Chicago or Washington DC. There are so many great solo activities to do in these types of cities that you’ll be busy the entire time and won’t even realize you’re not waiting for someone else to get ready or weigh you down.
For me, I haven’t really done a true solo getaway. But I have done many work trips alone, and have visited a city a few days prior to friends arriving. There was that one time I did go to Paris solo for 48 hours so I guess that counts. But it was so long ago that this is actually on my list to do again. Visit a whole new city solo for a long weekend. Also, a beach getaway is a glorious idea. Read books, lounge on a beach chair and take afternoon naps. This may be what I do for my January birthday next year.
Eat At A Restaurant
You can try this out first by going somewhere that’s more fast-casual. Think Chipotle or CAVA. Before jumping into sitting at a bar alone, this is really good practice. Once you conquer a fast-casual spot, go ahead and try a full sit-down meal. I think you’d be surprised that it actually feels good to enjoy a meal by yourself every so often. It’s also a nice way to chat with a bartender, or the people sitting around you. It can end up being a fun social outing if you make it that way. Or not! You’re in full control. And if you want, bring a book! There are no rules that you have to sit in silence for an entire meal. But I do challenge you to try it at least once with no distractions. Put the phone away and take in your surroundings. Let your mind wander and allow yourself to spark natural conversations with strangers.
Attend A Concert Or Festival
Okay, I’ll even admit that this one is a bit tougher. I just kind of assume you go to concerts with friends so you can share the experience. So I’m challenging myself to try this one asap. I think enjoying a band or singer you really love by yourself is no different than sitting on your couch watching it on TV, right? You don’t really talk to anyone when you’re at a concert anyway, it’s just you and the music.
This is such a great way to meet new people. Not every activity has to be done alone from start to finish. Sometimes doing something alone can mean jumping into a new hobby or activity with total strangers. You’re already going into it with similar values and interests so it’s an instant conversation starter. If you’re looking to not only stretch your “being alone” muscle but also make new friends, this is a great way to do both. I volunteered a few times at the local animal shelter and it was such a gratifying experience. Find a charity that’s near and dear to you and get involved.
Try A New Sport
Same with volunteering, trying a new sport can be great for making new friends and trying something out solo. Everyone’s there for the same reason making it an easy way to get to know people. Join a tennis league or kickball team and then you’re working on both your mental and physical health all at once! This is also a nice way to get some fresh air and get your body moving.
Ways To Learn How To Do Things Alone
I think people look at doing something alone as either boring or overwhelming. They wouldn’t DARE think to sit at a restaurant to eat solo, and instead would order takeout. Or heading to a museum as if people will look at you funny because you’re alone. Real talk? No one cares! These are only your own insecurities coming out. And overcoming them by learning how to do things alone will have so many benefits. From being more self aware, self-confident, reduce stress and improve your mental health. It helps you feel more independent, gets you more in touch with your emotions and thoughts. The list goes on! These are a few of my practical tips for learning how to do things alone more easily.
When trying out this whole being alone thing, it’s important to start small. No need to head out on a solo trip that is sort of eat pray love style. But going to a coffee shop to grab a latte and enjoy it outside while people watching? That’s a great way to start. And once you get comfortable doing that and gain some confidence, move on to something that takes a little more time, or gets you a bit out of your comfort zone. The more you stretch your being-alone muscle, the more confident and comfortable you’ll grow in your own skin.
I’m here to tell you that literally, no one cares that you’re alone. I’ve worked at restaurants for YEARS and never once thought “oh that poor soul is all alone”. Never. As a matter of fact, I always wondered what their story was. I find people who are comfortable being alone to be super interesting. Go into your activity being optimistic and knowing that you have nothing to lose.
You Can Always Leave
Guess what, if you hate whatever solo activity you’re doing, you can just leave! No one is forcing you to do anything. And maybe knowing that you aren’t forced to do something may make it less anxiety-inducing.
If you’re a goal setter or someone who likes to reward yourself with something, this can be a good way to get you motivated. Maybe you’ve been dying to try a restaurant and no one will go with you, go treat yourself. Or tell yourself you’ll order dessert if you try dining out alone for the first time. And if you want to write down the things you know you want to gain from trying these things, write them down to motivate you. Motivate yourself with whatever it takes.