Suddenly, Sethi writes, dining out alone felt like a courageous act… – Simran Seith, from Why Eating Out Alone Doesn’t Have to be so Lonely
Being alone is a gift. It is a privilege. It is… hard. But rather than shy away from this challenge, embrace its inevitability. We will be alone at some point in our lives if we are not already. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this so check self pity at the door.
Embrace the idea that you do have the ability to entertain yourself and by doing so, you are empowering that wonderful, wild, and strong individual who is nestled deep inside of you. That individual does not want to share its popcorn at the movies. That individual wants to sing in the shower off key, very very loud. That individual wants to walk, head held high, into the hottest restaurant in town AND get a window seat because that individual wants to watch people – not be the person being watched.
Once you embrace this idea, this power animal, put yourself out there (step by step). With enough time and diligent practice you will find yourself sitting in public, without hiding your discomfort with your phone. You will also find that you won’t miss out on those events that none of your friends or family could find the interest or time to attend.
Let’s start with small steps
- Arrive 30 minutes to 60 minutes before your friends do.
Meeting friends downtown? Go a little early. This is a great warm-up to the grand stage of public aloneness. You plan to spend some time alone, you get a taste of the thrill, then you retreat to the familiar. Safe, Short, and Sweet.
- Go to a public park or city center.*
Parks are perfect places to go where being alone is common place. No one will even know you are training up to become the Publicly Alone Heavyweight Champion!
- Go to a popular restaurant and order take-out on a busy night.*
This step is highly recommend for those of you who want to explore the world of dinning alone. Walking into a restaurant and ordering take-out will give you an excuse to hang out while you wait for your order. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds.
- Leveling up – Go to a Restaurant*
Are you getting used to being out alone? Let’s hope so! Going out to eat alone is so relaxing once you get into the vibe.
Not ready to have a table all to yourself?
The scaled version of this would be go to a diner or gastro-pub where there is plenty of bar seating.
- Master – Go see a movie
For some reason, going to see a movie alone seems so hard. But you can do it!
* Warning: Using your cell phone while you are alone in public is occasionally necessary. If you need to text someone or make a call – please do. After all, even if you are practicing the art of alone, that does not mean you are coincidentally becoming a hermit. However, if you find that you are automatically engaging with your phone when you are alone, then work towards eliminating this bad/unseemly/childish habit. There is nothing more interesting in your phone than what you are doing right here. Right now. If you find this to not be the case, then you need to have a life makeover. A big one.
The art of alone encompasses so much more than eating out and seeing movies. No, being alone means taking accountability of yourself and your own enjoyment. The buck stops at you.
With that in mind, we don’t live in an ideal world. Therefore, taking steps to ensure your safety is of the utmost importance. Let people know where you are, how long you intend on being there, and when and how you plan on returning home. Keep your drink, food, purse, and phone in eyesight at all times. And last but not least, if you feel, think or perceive that something or someone is unsafe – let someone know and/or leave.
Never dismiss your gut feelings.
Now fly free you wild space ape!