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How to Have Fun with Yourself… Minds Out of the Gutter, HC Readers!

I don’t know if it’s a leftover sentiment from the Jane Austen days when women never went anywhere alone, but we girls seem to have the unrelenting need to travel in packs.  The most obvious example, of course, is the infamous bathroom trip.  I challenge you to find one occasion out at dinner where a girl announces her need for the ladies’ room and is left unaccompanied by her female peers.
I myself have a solid group of seven girl friends at BC, without whom I might very well be in a ditch somewhere.  There’s bound to be someone around at any given time of day, making the prospect of a solitary lunch uncommon.  We even have one of those obnoxious group texts that we use religiously—I’m talking every hour.
While friends are the lifeblood of your college experience, there will be that one balmy Saturday where everyone is too busy to accompany you to Newbury St, or that one theatre production your friends find “too artsy” (did I just quote from real life? I think I did).  It’s these moments that teach us how to sever the friendship umbilical cord.
Fostering the relationship with number one often takes the back burner in our world buzzing with social obligations and good old social networks.  Learning to be independent in new situations has a way of building confidence you might’ve previously underestimated.  While flying solo comes easier to some than to others, I’ve gathered some suggestions (both from personal experience and from friends) to help:
Have a meal at a restaurant.
Nothing is quite as empowering as the phrase “table for one.”  Many recoil at the mere idea of sitting alone.  At a table.  In public.  By yourself.  With no one there.  Our busy school days make it an easy enough feat at one of the dining halls, but dining alone out in the real world is a whole different story, unless you’re a posh celebrity, a French person, or an old man with a newspaper.  In reality, dining alone can be as exhilarating as it is relaxing.  There’s no one to validate your meal choice, so you’ll have to make a decision all on your own (not to mention no one to ask if you’re done with that).  No silent judgment if you’re the only one not getting a salad.  No need to make conversation.  Just you, an amazing meal, and an atmosphere ripe for the silent observer—and for God’s sake, put away your phone.
A fun HCBC tip: turn your morning run into a work-out-and-brunch – end your route at your favorite breakfast place (Johnny’s in Newton Centre is never a bad idea).

You get a free bird and everything! 

Go shopping.
This is a more common one, and it seems simple enough.  In fact, many of my friends have expressed their preference of shopping alone.  You don’t have to wait for that one friend who wants to try on seven pairs of dark skinny jeans with four different boat neck tops (guilty), nor do you have to worry about eyeing the same weekend number as your roommate (let’s be honest, it’ll probably end up in the metaphorical communal closet anyway).  In the dressing room, we tend to rely on the presence of a trusted friend (or my personal favorite, my mom) to judge whether those pants ride up in the inseam or not, which is understandable.  But if you absolutely need an opinion on a size, pop your head out the door and a salesperson will be more than happy to assist.  When it comes to an opinion on the actual outfit itself, though, trust me—your mind is probably made up, and you might subconsciously be seeking validation you don’t really need.  In fact, some of my most adventurous outfits have been procured while shopping on my own!

Catch a movie.
Now this one seems on the stranger side.  What kind of anti-social freak goes to the movies alone?  Try it before you bash it.  Going to the movie theatre alone is the perfect end to a date with your self.  You’re on your own time.  There’s no need to casually convince your friends that “this movie got really good reviews” when you know you’ve been watching the trailers online for months.  Just do it!  What’s more, you don’t have to worry about that one friend who suddenly becomes a world-renowned movie critic after every scene.  If you have the time, a double feature makes for a great afternoon.  The location adds to the experience, too.  Try a small, independent theatre instead of your regular AMC 24.  I’d recommend the Coolidge Corner Theatre, where you often have the option of a foreign film alongside popular Oscar’s favorites. 

Cook dinner.
This might be a little difficult for those of you with no kitchen (but, if you stumble upon a must-try recipe save it for home).  I find that a night in the kitchen with some great background music is extremely therapeutic.  Cook for yourself, cook for two, cook for your roommates—whatever suits you.  Try a new recipe, or perfect one of your favorites.  If you’re not the most kitchen savvy, let me tell you—there are hundreds of ways to make pasta.  If the oven holds your calling, make someone’s day with a batch of brownies. That someone can certainly be you.
Feeling adventurous?  Click through www.foodporndaily.com until you find something worth replicating.  Not for the feint of heart. 

I haven't had my coffee yet. Don't make me kill you...

Have a “soul night.”
No, I’m not referring to the genre of music, nor the food variety (although those two are appropriate according to your preferences).  It’s okay to leave your heels in the closet one Friday night, even if it means spending the night alone.  Something tells me there’ll be other “ragers”.   If you live in a college dorm, take the opportunity to have the room to yourself and indulge.  Order sushi.  Play the Bon Iver Pandora station.  Exploit Netflix.  Dig in to the book that’s been sitting on your shelf and your “must read” list for a year now, taking pleasure in the fact that you won’t have to write a paper on it.  Appease your pores with a facemask.  Dabble in poetry, or reread your journal (if you don’t keep one, start—it’s rewarding).  You might be surprised to find that last month’s you had life a little more figured out than current you.  And what’s more, fix that relationship with your bed—it complains that you’re never around anymore. 

In my imagination, I live here.

At a party…
This, to me, is the hardest of them all.  You might find yourself suddenly alone at a party one night, token red cup in hand.  Your friend is deeply engrossed in some guy; you sort of know people at the party…so don’t be that girl.  Branch out.  The moment you feel awkward is the moment you look awkward.  Don’t strike up conversation about the staleness of beer with a guy who’s too drunk to care.  Take confidence in the fact that you probably spent an hour getting ready.  You look good.  Enjoy the music.  People watch for a moment (you’re guaranteed to see some laughable scenarios).  It might seem like you’re alone for an hour, when in reality, it’s three minutes of unaccompanied you time.  See if there’s a familiar face, or scope out someone you’d like to become a familiar face.  Do something different besides resorting to your phone as your wingman (I’d wager it looks more antisocial than standing alone, truly enjoying yourself).  Who knows, someone might even approach you (hopefully not a stage-five clinger).  It takes confidence, so if this doesn’t sound like it’s something you’d do in a million semesters, don’t fret.  Work your way up with a few solo lunch dates first.

These are all simple activities you’ve probably done countless times—with your friends, that is.   I encourage you to find more.  If you’re feeling absolutely low, take some time to yourself and escape into the city.  You’ll soak it all in differently, and the added confidence boost doesn’t hurt—here I am, by myself, doing something I love to do.  It’s liberating.  And always remember, sometimes even the most glamorous of us eat our croissants while window-shopping alone.

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