Several times over the past few weeks it has come up in conversation that one of my favorite things to do is go to the movies by myself. The typical reaction I get when I announce this is one of disbelief. "You go to the movies alone??" people gasp, hands on their hearts as if I've told them I like to watch babies sumo wrestle. What baffles them even more is that I enjoy doing so.
In reality, going to the movies is one of the best solo activities I can think of. It's not like you can do a lot of socializing in a darkened theater anyway. When I go, I can see whatever I want, be as early or as late as I choose, and get that extra butter on the popcorn without judgment from anyone but the girl behind the candy counter.
When I went to college, I was unable to do anything by myself. If I had to run to the store, I would wander up and down the dorm halls, asking if anyone wanted to come with me. I needed someone to come and eat with me at the cafeteria, and forget about attending any sort of social event alone. I needed other people to be my crutches, to help me avoid being painfully awkward in public places.
As I got older and went to grad school, I was forced into doing more and more things alone. To my surprise, I realized that I actually really liked doing things solo. When I worked in other towns doing home-based therapy, I had to go to restaurants and eat by myself, or sit in my car and do so. I much preferred being a warm restaurant in the middle of winter to sitting in my car wasting gas and risking a major spill. Going to the store is much more convenient when I only have to worry about my own purchases. I can get in and out quickly. And finally, I have found that doing recreational activities by myself can be as enjoyable as doing them in a group.
Don't get me wrong, I love my friends, and I love being social. However, I think that my ability to do things on my own has helped me to be a better friend and more confident in social situations. I no long lean on my friends, but stand strong on my own. I don't depend on others to keep me from being awkward, but accept that my awkwardness is part of me, and can even be somewhat charming and endearing to others. I think I fall firmly in the middle of the introvert/extrovert continuum, gaining energy from both group and solo activities.
I'm an independent woman. And proud of it. And if you don't do things on your own...give it a shot! You might like it :)