How to Learn to Be Okay With Being Alone

I have always had a fear of being alone. A nightmarish image burns in my head of me growing into an adult who lives alone with no friends, family, or significant other to keep me company and love me. Growing up, whenever I got into a fight with a friend, it felt like the end of the world. I would overdramatically freak out because I was scared of losing them.

Of course, friendship is important. Friends give you fun memories, laughs, and a support system. In many cases, they act as your second family and your home away from home. However, it is more important to know who you are without your friends – who you are as an individual.

For me, first semester freshman year of college was a little rough. College is very different from high school. In high school, your day is a set schedule. You generally attend school for seven hours, go to your after-school extracurriculars or job, and return home to do your homework and see your family before getting some sleep before waking up and doing it all over again. For your entire day, you are surrounded by people – your classmates, friends, teammates, co-workers, and family. In college, you have so much more freedom and spend so much more time alone.

Although I go to college fairly close to home, I still do not see my family every day. When I lived at home, even if I was doing practically nothing, I would still at least be in the presence of my family. During the first semester, it was also really hard for me to find friends. For a long time, I felt like I had no true friends, and I didn’t form a great group of friends until the spring semester. For multiple Fridays in a row, I had no plans with anyone and I often found myself just sitting in my dorm room alone, all of my roommates and suitemates gone out without me.

I do value my alone time, but having too much of it sent me into a downward spiral of dreary loneliness. After some tear-jerking phone calls with my mom, I realized that I needed to be okay with being alone. Friendships are not always going to last, so you need to be able to have fun by yourself and love yourself without the validation of others.

I had to rewire my brain and start to think of free time as the perfect time to do the things I like to do. Alone Friday nights turned into relaxing Friday nights when I got to bundle up in my bed and watch Netflix, read a book, write an article – do the things I could not focus on during my homework-packed weeks. I have even started adding face masks into the mix, diving deep into the realms of self-care.

Doing what makes me happy has made me into a more goal-oriented person. I focus on myself more now than I ever did before. I still value friends and family, but at the end of the day, this is my life – I have my own personal interests and dreams I want to achieve. I also don’t need anyone’s validation – I like who I am and who I’m striving to be. Being alone isn’t so lonely anymore because I have myself.


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