Polly Campbell

Polly Campbell

Imperfect Spirituality

Why It's Good to Go Alone

Going solo can be more fun than you'd ever expect.

Posted Jun 11, 2015

Photo from freeimages
Source: Photo from freeimages

I used to love going to the movies alone. I could see what I wanted, when I wanted. Phone off, no clients calling.

Then I started dating a guy who loved movies too. We went to the theater together and he bought the popcorn.

I married this guy. Had a kid. Haven’t been to a non-animated film in seven years. And rarely go anywhere by myself anymore.

But once-in-awhile I’ll eat a meal at a restaurant alone or grab a cup of coffee by myself. I like the people-watching and the quiet that allows me to think or to zone out. I like choosing where I want to go without needing to negotiate or check children's menus. And every time I go it alone, I’m surprised by how much I enjoy the time.

More Fun than Expected

Marketing professors Rebecca Ratner and Rebecca Hamilton found, after surveying hundreds of people, that most had more fun than expected while out on their own. At first though, the people surveyed said they had to overcome their self-consciousness. 

Many study participants assumed that others would think that they had few friends if they were spotted alone in public. This made them reluctant to go out in the first place.

But the truth is, most people aren’t paying attention to us at all, according to research by Thomas Gilovich and others. 

Due to a unique phenomenon called the “Spotlight Effect” we tend to think everyone is looking at us or noticing what we are up to. Yet the reality is, most people are too self-interested, busy, or focused on other things to pay much attention to what we’re doing.

So don't let this kind of self-consciousness keep you couch bound. Instead, get up and go to that little Italian restaurant you've been wanting to try, or head to the afternoon show.  

Once you get over the I-wonder-what-others-are-thinking discomfort you’re likely to meet some new people, have a fun experience, and maybe even have a glass of some delicious red wine—all things you’d miss if you are afraid of going solo. 

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