All By Myself

I took myself out to lunch today for Restaurant Week. Yes, I went out by myself.

I do a lot of things by myself. It’s a combination of timing, ease, and enjoying things others don’t enjoy. Today, I got out of an appointment early and was walking by a restaurant I’d wanted to try. I could have called around to see if anyone could sneak out of work at 2 for lunch, but in the time I would have waited for responses I had my whole lunch and was on my way. I’ve even extended this to mini-trips and sightseeing as well.

The response to this is overwhelmingly not one of acceptance. People without a filter laugh and say it’s sad. Otherwise people either patronizingly say “oh that’s so great you’re comfortable enough to do things on your own” or they exclaim “why didn’t you tell me you were going? I could have taken the day off.” (Yes, of course you would have taken a Tuesday off to visit battlefields in West Virginia.) More importantly, you feel uncomfortable enough about me going alone that you try to put your guilt on me for not asking you to come?

Universally, being alone is seen as distasteful. People think it’s weird or sad when others are out alone, and in turn you worry what people will think of you when you’re alone. I even do it myself–wondering why that guy is eating alone or feeling bad for him.

I like really random things, and I have a lot of weekday afternoons free. When the outing (battlefield, shopping, lunch) is not going to be greatly affected by having company, why is it so disconcerting to be willing to go it alone?

Yes, all things considered, being alone feels kinda weird and it’s way better to do stuff with people. I went on a few dates with a guy who liked the same library lectures as me, and it was amazing to share that with someone (and the daydreams about us eventually getting married at the library, even though I didn’t even really like him that much). But if I waited around for someone interested in everything I liked and on my schedule, I’d never do anything.

Do you do things alone? What do you think when you see people out alone?

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