Think back to the last time you went outside, to go for dinner with your friends, or your family. The last time you went to a mall or went to see a movie with your significant other. At least one of these times, you would have encountered someone sitting by themselves, dining alone, or going to the movies by themselves. Most of us look at them and tell yourselves, I could never do that. For some reason, we think that going out on your own is a crime. However, I am here to tell you there is nothing wrong with going out and treating yourself to a good time at least once a week.
Let us start with movies. Why do people consider going to movies an ideal date? Think about it, think about the very concept of movies. What does a movie aim to do? It tells us a story. It entertains us, and it educates us. Movies are just a variation of books, a visual-auditory medium of telling a story. The act of reading a book is a solitary one. The last time you engaged in reading books with others was story time when you were kids. If and when you go to a movie by yourself, you can pay undivided attention to it. While it is difficult to get two or more seats together, when you go alone, you can get the best seats as well. No one whispering in your ear asking about parts they missed. By yourself, perhaps you can afford snacks to munch on during the movie. Thus while going to a movie by yourself can be an objectively better experience, we still choose to go with others while scoffing at people who do go alone. The question is, why?
Now, we come to the concept of dining by yourself. Imagine this situation: You live by yourself, and you do not know how to cook. You have the choice to either order in, but the food will become cold, or go out and eat a hot tasty meal. What would you choose? A majority of people would choose to stay in and order, even if the meal would not be as good. Even if you do go out by yourself, you are on your phone the whole time, nervous. Looking around and seeing other people with their friends, and their families make you feel like being alone, being by yourself, is a crime. This again begs the question, why?
The answer is quite literally staring us right at the face. We are afraid of being judged. We think that being seen alone, having a meal by yourself, or watching a movie is misconstrued as being alone, being weak. We are programmed since childhood to let our actions be dictated by what we think society expects of us, societal constructs if you will. Hence, we tend to overthink things in our head and blow it out of proportions. The reality is, people might notice you when you go our alone, sure. However, seldom do they have the time or the interest to pass moral judgements onto you. This taboo which we have created around going out by yourself and having a good time revolves greatly about people’s perspectives which we have all cooked up, together, in our collective consciousnesses. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing activities you love, by yourself.
Being by ourselves is a very crucial part of our day. Regardless of whether you identify as an introvert or an extrovert, you need to allot a certain time to yourself, in either to introspect or to recharge your batteries. Thus, indulging yourself with a movie or a dinner now and then, is not a bad idea. There are several perks to go out and enjoy yourself:
- Self-Improvement: The more time you spend with yourself, the more comfortable you become with your own company. When you are comfortable enough to sit by yourself in a café, eating your food and drinking your beverages while reading a book, you feel much better about yourself. Achieving this kind of comfort level with your self does wonder for your self-perception and makes you love yourself even more.
- Independence: When you can roam with yourself and don’t feel the urge to make plans with others. Whenever you feel like watching a new movie or checking out a new restaurant, you don’t feel the urge to plead someone to come with you, but can go by yourself.
- You have the freedom to make your own choices: You do not have to worry about whether your choices are going to hamper the other person’s or people’s happiness. The entire routine you follow will be for you and you alone, which makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.
- Experiencing new people and situations: With the freedom which being alone gets, you have the liberty to wander wherever you want, without feeling pressured to move on or stick to other people’s schedules. You can also interact with other people, new people who might be traveling alone as well.
- Easier on the purse: When you travel by yourself, you have your whole budget only for yourself. When you are out with your family, you feel the urge to eat less, order cheaper items off the menu, because you are not paying for it. On the other hand, if you are the one paying for others, if they start spending a lot of your money, you reduce our expenditure, to balance things out. When you are alone, you don’t need to worry about that.
At the end of the day, you have to realize that the taboo against going out and cherishing your own company is the fear of others. Everyone wants to, but it is a vicious turn of events, where everyone worries about what others might think. While it might not be possible to break this societal perception completely, we can break it for ourselves, on an individual level. I used to be scared of the judgement most of you are scared of, but I decided to let that fear go. A year back I started going to movies by myself, and then eventually dinners. It has done wonders for my self-confidence and my ability to enjoy my own company. I think that if you try the same, it will help you too!