Imagine standing at a ticket counter and asking for one ticket. Or asking a hostess for a table for one at a restaurant for dinner. Does your heart palpitate? The idea of going dinner, the movies, a museum or event alone sounds like the worst way to spend the evening for many people. There's the shame of appearing as if you have no one spend time with or just feeling self-conscious.
The chances of always having a friend to go somewhere with you shrinks as life gets busier. Rather than forgoing an evening out because you afraid you won't enjoy it alone, go ahead and go. A 2015 study, based on five social experiments, showed that there is not an actual difference between how much you enjoy an activity alone versus with friends. There's no doubt people are going to have fun with friends, family or a lover. But a person can have just as much fun taking themselves out rather than sitting on the couch eating bon bons. It might even give you a boost of confidence.
It might be easier to go out alone if a person plans it like meeting a friend. Set a date and pick an activity. If you've been meaning to try that quirky whiskey bar you pass on the way to the gym, an art exhibit on 17th-century female artists or that Mexican-Asian fusion restaurant, that is where you should go. This a chance to go to anything friends or significant other find boring. It's hard to truly enjoy an activity when the person next to you feels like they are at the dentist. Go and soak up the experience.
To feel more confident, wear an outfit that is comfortable or is a self-esteem boost. If you're trying a new restaurant or coffee shop, bring a book, a journal or tablet to offset the lack of conversation. Rebecca Ratner, the professor who conducted the study, found that an activity is less daunting when there is a learning element included. Use the book you've been trying to read for four weeks as a crutch.
Going out alone is an opportunity to expand your social circle. If it's safe or the right time, talk to people. Chances are if you are at an activity you like, there are other people that like that same thing. Smile, talk and you might make a new friend.
If safety is an issue for you, let a friend know where you're going beforehand. Use an app that can let a friend track your location until you get home safe or alert an emergency service if something goes wrong. Don't ever leave your drink unattended.
Netflix and pizza will always be waiting at home for you. Don't waste time waiting for the stars —or plans— to align to enjoy your life.