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23 May 2016

Ticket for One, Please - The Stigma of Doing Things Alone


Last Thursday, I bought a train ticket. I had just finished exams, but having been on a solid 3 for the last ten days (as explained briefly a couple of posts ago) I decided to take time out and have me time.

'Me time'.

It sounds a lot like a phrase reserved for middle aged single parents who have to get away from the children and the housework. But I firmly believe it's necessary for everyone, even 20 year old students with little responsibility. 

After being politely declined my invites to watch the Royal Ballet's performance of Frankenstein by my friends, I spent the night before toying with whether I should go alone. Would people judge me? Would it look like I have no friends? Eventually, I decided my want to go and see the performance outweighed any judgement I may get. So at 5:30pm on Wednesday,  I hopped on a train, with my ticket for one, and found myself in London.

I had two resolutions. Do not get the tube anywhere, and do not freak out and message one of your many of friends in London. This, is me time.

I grabbed myself a coconut latte from Starbucks because hello they are heaven in a cup, and traipsed through the crowds of 6pm commuters, past the London Eye, over Waterloo bridge and towards Trafalgar Square. 

On arrival, the security man looked at me, armed with my sandwich and bottle of water. 'Don't worry, everyone talks to each other at these things, I'm sure you won't be alone for too long!'. Repeating exactly what I had already heard from two friends and my mother earlier in the day. 

Which was the catalyst to this blog post.

Why was everyone so concerned about me going alone, without company? 

I am  (I like to think) a self assured, independent, just-about-adult woman. When I was 18 I bought a lone plane ticket and moved to Italy. In 2 weeks I'm once again going it alone to France. And yet the thought of sitting alone in a restaurant or going to the cinema by myself makes me cringe far more than leaving the country. 

What, about a cinema, requires company? You're essentially sat in silence for the best part of two hours. It's obviously always nice to discuss the film afterwards, but usually other people will have seen it in their own time anyway. Nothing about the cinematic experience requires a companion. 

Most of us are in peoples company so much the only time we're alone is during a drive to work or when we're asleep. And even then, a lot of people have someone to share the bed with. Which makes 'me time' essential.

It's essential because it gives you self awareness, it boosts your confidence and most importantly, you get a break from being anything other than wholly, 100% yourself. I'm not saying necessarily jump on a plane to Italy alone (woops), but don't let 'me time' be restricted to the walls of your house. And most importantly, never let a lack of company stop you from doing something. Go to every concert or film you could possibly want to go to, go shopping and spend hours browsing the clothes rack without the pull of a bored friend. Go and sit in a coffee shop and read your favourite book until the barista's have to kick you out. 

The stigma of doing things alone only exists as long as you feel embarrassed by the prospect of it. And the likelihood is, those people who do judge, haven't actually tried it. 

Shake off your friends, go to your favourite restaurant, and get back to me.

The likelihood is, you'll enjoy it far more than you think.

Ciao for Now! 

3 comments:

  1. I spend most of my time alone seeing as friends usually work or have uni when I have my days off haha. It used to terrify me which looking at it now I have no idea why haha. But friends even ask how I do stuff alone. I take walks by myself, shop, eat (haven't tried the cinema yet but I'd like it haha) and none of it bothers me. You are so right about having me time, just being around your thoughts and relaxing in becoming who you are as a singular rather then only knowing who you are in a group! Love this!

    May join you buying a ticket to Italy though! I'm doing most of my 2-3 years in Europe by myself! GAH! (also sorry about the essay haha)

    Rai | utterardour.blogspot.com

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  2. I love this! I often used to feel pressured to find someone to go along with me to certain events. I would even pay for a ticket for someone to come with me to a concert just to accompany me, but I completely understand your point! Moving away to uni has encouraged me to start having some 'me time' especially when living in a 7 bed student house sharing a room with my boyfriend. Even just going for a coffee, to the park, or for a walk on my own, it feels so satisfying and its definitely needed to keep my head in track.
    Great post! x
    http://ameliagilmore.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. I love this. It's so true, why should we always have to go places with another person. Me time is so important.

    http://the-finerthingsinlife.blogspot.co.uk

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