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Why Doing Stuff on Your Own Is Awesome!

It's not being a loner, it's being free!

Photo by Caleb Frith on Unsplash

Most of my life, I have enjoyed doing things by myself. I think it stems from when I was in primary school and I would never play with anyone at break time and instead just skip around the playground lost in my own world. Even though I don't do that anymore *cough*, I still like to do things alone, whether it be shopping or going to the gym. Don't get me wrong, I like to hang out with my friends too, and sometimes I do like company, if I go to the cinema for example. What I mainly want to focus on in this post is things that people often do with others but could choose to do alone. I know that a lot of people, particularly girls, always like to have company whenever they do something, which is great and sociable, but in some situations doing an activity on your own can be beneficial (and even easier)! So here are four reasons why doing things on your own can be awesome!

N.B. I would just like to clarify that I am not in any way dissing people who always like to do stuff with their friends, I think that's great! I'm just saying that doing things on your own can be fun as well!

1) You can do whatever YOU want.

This is a big one for me because I find it really annoying when I'm with a large group of people and we all want to do different things and it all ends in a big argument with at least one person storming off in a huff. On your own, you're completely free to do as you please! Spend ages trying on a ton of clothes and not buy any of them without people hanging around telling you to hurry up. Have a luxury hot chocolate in a cafe at peak time without having to find a table for six. The possibilities are endless.

Another reason why this is the main point for me is that I'm not a very keen shopper. The idea of wandering around town all day, browsing all the clothes in every store and probably only walking out with two items is just not appealing to me. I like to make a list, go into the shopping centre, get what I need and leave. Whereas, with a large group of people, who knows how long you'll be there for, and you'll probably end up browsing in shops you aren't even interested in or are just too expensive (i.e. most places if you're a student).

Basically, being on your own = freedom!

2) You don't have to wait for or worry about losing people.

I guess the rest of these sections all link back to the first one in a way. If you don't have people with you, you can move on from an activity or a shop whenever you feel like it without having to wait for people to finish buying or browsing. You can also go to places where others may not necessarily want to go, meaning people don't have to wait for you either. Plus, if you inevitably lose people, that's even more waiting, plus hunting to find them.

As a student, I can give you a great example of a place where it's so much easier if you go on your own: fresher's fair. The reason being that it's likely that the people you'll be closest to at the time of fresher's fair are your flatmates, and it's very unlikely that you'll all want to sign up to the same societies or visit the same stalls. I went to fresher's fair alone about an hour or so before my flatmates. I spent an hour there, signed up to everything I wanted and went back to the flat (after grabbing some free pizza). When I got back, my flatmates had gone to the fair. 

I checked my phone and my flat group chat was full of messages like, "where are you guys?" 

"I'm at the athletics stall." 

"Okay, we'll come and find you!" 

"Where are you now?" 

And so on and so forth. Basically, what I'm saying is, doing stuff with others is great, but in some situations where being with a large group of people is going to involve lots of waiting around and maybe not getting to do everything that you really want or need to do, it's easier (and could even be more fun) to do it by yourself.

3) It's easier to meet new people.

Most of my life I've had friends from many different areas, I've never really 'belonged' to just one group of friends. Sometimes I wouldn't like that. I would see other people in groups always doing things together, inviting each other to things without question, and think how great that must feel and be sad that my life wasn't like that. In a way, I still think it would be nice to be that kind of person, but then I think that hanging out with the same people all the time might be quite restricting. It's harder to start up conversations with new people when you're with someone you know already as it's so much easier just to talk to them. If you're on your own you've got no choice but to talk to someone new, and who knows, that person may become your new bestie! 

Plus, it's easier for people to talk to you when you're not already with a group, as breaking into a conversation with a lot of people can sometimes be quite daunting. That's what I liked about starting university: 99 percent of freshers won't know anyone else in their year group before they come, so everyone is looking for someone to talk to and they won't think it's weird when a random person they've never met before starts up a conversation with them. I've met so many great people just by striking up a conversation with someone who happens to be standing near me while waiting for a lecture. Try it, it works, I promise!

4) It builds your confidence.

My reason, and probably a lot of other people's reason, for wanting to do things with others, is so that I don't have to look weird or be embarrassed by myself if something goes wrong, or just to not look like a loner. But if you always do every single activity with company, when it comes to doing the same things on your own, it can seem really scary. I'm not saying that going shopping is suddenly going to become scary when you have no one to go with, it's just that when people get used to always having company when doing something, they would rather not do it by themselves. 

As an example, I used to really not like speaking to people in public to ask directions, or speaking to someone with authority on the phone, like the bank or something, because for the first twelve-or-so years of my life my mum would do those things for me. When I got a bit older, she started to encourage me to do those things for myself, and I would put it off for ages because I hated doing things like that. Why? Because I was afraid of making a fool of myself or not saying the right thing. But something I learned recently is that, even if you do make a fool of yourself, it really doesn't matter and everyone will have forgotten about it the next day. I've been making all my own phone calls for the last few years and I have to admit I still don't particularly like doing it but I'm getting better at it. But it's because I've forced myself to do it that I'm becoming more confident in that kind of situation. The same goes for starting conversations with new people. Last year I went by myself to a recruitment fair for Camp America, which involved approaching lots of different ambassadors from lots of different camps and asking for interviews. At that point in time, I was far less socially confident than I am now and it took a lot of courage for me to approach the first stall. I ended up not getting placed, but that experience really helped and was a good start in improving my social skills. Fast forward nearly two years, one trip to Africa and a year at uni later, I am so happy with where I am. Talking to people now is so much easier for me than it used to be. In fact, I barely have to think about it, and I've been able to become friends with so many different people, some of which I have so much in common with it's actually crazy!

So, in my experience, doing things with friends is great fun, but doing them by yourself can be equally as fun as well as rewarding. If you're someone who always likes to have company, then great, your friendships are being strengthened in the process! But I would encourage everyone to go and do something by themselves once in a while. If nothing else, it allows you to have some time to yourself and just have a think. That's what I love about it.

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