When you see someone at the movies alone, you might pity them. Don’t — chances are, they’re enjoying themselves as much as they would be with company.
Picture: Farhad Sadykov
A new study set to publish in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests people underestimate how much they will enjoy doing things by themselves. Researchers tested subjects by sending them to an art gallery and gauging how much they enjoyed it alone vs being in someone’s company. Marketing professors Rebecca Ratner and Rebecca Hamilton told the Washington Post:
What they found is that people expected to enjoy the gallery less when they were alone, but they actually tended to have just as good a time whether they had company or not… “When you compare an experience that is very similar with or without someone else, like visiting a gallery or going to a movie, you find little difference in enjoyment,” said Hamilton. “Going to a restaurant might be a little different, because there’s that element of conversation, but that doesn’t preclude the reality that going to a restaurant alone is still enjoyable. Indeed, the question isn’t whether we’re going to have more fun doing something with friends rather than not. It’s about those times when we don’t have someone to see a new movie with, or eat at a newly opened restaurant, and there’s discomfort about going by ourselves, even though we’d probably have a fine time.”The reality is that you’re foregoing a lot of fun,” said Ratner. “We all are.”
Of course, sometimes it’s fun to be around other people. But we might underestimate how much we can enjoy certain activities without any company. We’ve talked about the benefits of travelling alone, for example. But beyond travelling it can also be fun to see a movie alone, enjoy dinner alone, or even just relax alone.
People might shy away from it because they’re self-conscious too. But Ratner brings up an interesting point we’ve mentioned before: no one cares, so do what you want. Of course, being alone might be more difficult during certain times in your life — when you’re going through a breakup, for example. But, generally speaking, doing things alone might not be that bad. In fact, it might not be bad at all.
Their insight on spending time alone is interesting, so be sure to check out the post in full.
Why You Should Really Start Doing More Things Alone [Washington Post]