Social outings and gatherings are a part of our culture. Having friends is frequently a baseline requirement for stereotypical acceptance, and that leads to a heavy expectation for spending large amounts of time with said friends. Even the thought of going to dinner alone, for instance, is sometimes shocking to others.
This shock can come in the form of pity, judgment, or concern. Going to an event solo, traveling alone, or even treating yourself to a peaceful independent meal can be looked down upon and can elicit responses ranging from an offer for companionship or assumptions that you are lonely.
Why is there such a stigma behind alone time?
Humans need other people to bolster their self-esteem. Feeling loved, understood, and accepted is important for psychological health, and being social provides opportunities for this to happen. It is almost impossible to form meaningful and sustainable connections with others without interaction, and, without these connections, it is hard for personal growth the be fostered and encouraged.
That being said, the importance of taking time for ourselves is frequently overlooked.
There are important activities, such as reflection and self-analysis, that can are often most effective when we are alone.
More often than not, somebody going for a solo meal or drink is taken as a sign of rejection and loneliness. Bartenders will ask if you are waiting for your plus one, fellow diners may assume that you got stood up. All of this helps to perpetuate the idea that spending time alone is a sign of a sad or nonexistent social life. These assumptions are decidedly unfair and counterproductive.
Simply deciding that you want to spend some time alone is a perfectly fair option.
Our society is built around staying in touch. The immediacy of social media keeps us constantly connected and in other people’s business, inviting into our own as a form of validation. This practice can get tiring – exhausting, even – and leaves little space for self-care and ‘me time’.
The silence and peace of time alone is important for growth. It plays an important role in our lives, especially when you’re contemplating decisions about your future, emotional health, or priorities. Because of this, it is important that we become more comfortable with solitude, and allow others to enjoy their solo time in peace, without judgment or pity.
In an age of overwhelming stimulation, who couldn’t benefit from some me time?