Going Out Alone Isn't Sad. It's Empowering.

Here’s why you shouldn’t let a cancellation dampen your plans.

We’ve all been there. It’s finally the weekend and you’re really looking forward to the plans you made with your friends a week ago. Maybe you’re going to a theme park, maybe you’re going to see that movie that you’ve waited for months to premier, or maybe you’re just going to dinner. Whatever the case is, you are super excited about it and then at the last minute, your plans fall through. Somebody gets sick or realizes that they have a 3000-word paper due on Monday that they completely forgot about, and now you feel like you have to be stuck at home because you don’t have anybody to go with. This doesn’t have to be the case.

A lot of people will see somebody sitting by themselves at a restaurant or at the movies and think that this is sad. But take this from somebody who has done it many times before, it’s not sad. I’ve gone to the movies by myself, I’ve gone out to eat by myself, I’ve gone to Universal by myself and I regularly go the beach by myself. I personally am extremely introverted and crave my alone time. I do also enjoy having company, but running between school and work and clubs and social responsibility can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. Spending time by myself, whether it’s at the beach, the movies or in my room, is the best way that I know to refresh and rejuvenate myself. But this advice doesn't apply strictly to introverts, spending time alone is healthy for everyone.  Various studies have shown that spending time by yourself allows you to develop your own voice and opinions, increases your creativity, and because it gives you time to think about who you truly are, it also helps to strengthen your relationships with others. It may even help to improve your social skills, because when you go out by yourself, you are more likely to engage in conversations with new people that you otherwise wouldn't had you gone to the same place with a friend.

Furthermore, willingness to go out by yourself just makes life easier. Let’s face it, we’re in college and we all have busy schedules so a lot of the times, our schedules don’t align with those of our friends and family, and sometimes our interests don’t align with theirs either. While it certainly is great to spend time with those people, if you really want to do something, you shouldn’t allow the fear of going out in public alone stop you. Plus, going places by yourself definitely has some benefits that going as a group does not. If you decide to go to a theme park by yourself, you get the advantage of going through the single rider line and not having to wait as long as others. If you go to the movies by yourself, you can fully enjoy the movie without your chatty friend’s friend commenting on everything that happens. It is also peaceful to go places by yourself as it gives you time to think and you can also stay for as long or as little time as you want without having to worry about when everyone else wants to leave. Additionally, as soon as you have successfully gone out by yourself once, you will know that you can do it and this should give you a sense of independence and security. You will no longer have to worry about canceled plans because you know that you can always do it on your own if you want to and this can save you a lot of disappointment in the future.

Above all, don’t take this article as a message to not spend time with your friends and family. You definitely should spend time with them, but recognize that it’s also okay and healthy to spend time alone. Treat yourself. Take yourself on a date. Stop relying on other people in order to have fun.