I used to detest going out by myself. I hated going out alone to shop and eat. Having a friend with me was my security blanket. It would give me confidence to walk around the stores and to enter restaurants without feeling like I was being judged. It gave me comfort. I often felt as if everyone was judging me, scrutinizing my every move when I was alone. It was awkward to walk into a restaurant alone, but even worse when walking into a store. It was uncomfortable when you walked into a store to browse and not to buy, because I felt as if my every step was watched to make sure I didn’t take anything.
Over the last year, with the bestie out of town and no friend with similar enough shopping tastes, I was left alone to tackle the shops. And you know what? I thoroughly enjoyed it. So much that now when I want or need to go shopping, I don’t hesitate to go alone. Perhaps it’s a part of growing up, to finally enjoy being alone and hanging out with yourself, or maybe it’s just my own personal preference that I’ve never quite acknowledged. Regardless, the entire situation was a blessing in disguise. I learned a lot.
When none of my friends or family are available to hang out with me and explore the city, I will go on my own. Of course, exercise common sense and take extra precaution, but learn to not be afraid to go out and enjoy life alone. Take a long walk around your neighbourhood, explore the lively streets and peruse the shops. Sit and enjoy a coffee in a cafe. Just remember that humans will always judge, but when you’re just another stranger to someone, that judgement only lasts for that second they see you or the second that they meet you. Once you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind.
Recently I’ve been walking to different destinations by foot and taking the time to really immerse myself with my surroundings. This newfound “freedom” made me realize how unnecessary it is to need to be a part of every social gathering there is and how tiring the mentality of “everyone must hang out together at all times” is. Being a little removed from social situations every now and then is not a bad thing- it’s healthy to not be caught up in everyone else’s lives at all times. Learn to be comfortable with yourself. When you’re secure about yourself it shows, and that will draw like minded individuals to you.
I still may not be totally comfortable with saundering into a restaurant and having a nice meal by myself, but I think with due time I’ll get there.