Don’t Be Afraid To Do Things Alone, You’ll Have Just As Much Fun

Don’t Be Afraid To Do Things Alone, You’ll Have Just As Much Fun
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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]


  • Story of my life. They’re on point with this. I don’t mind doing everything by myself. Hard to explain but I hate the stigma of people in large groups who think that one guy by himself doesn’t have friends. Kind of gratifying to see something by yourself because you’re not accustomed by someone elses opinion but your own.

  • I ended up going solo to Taiwan to ride bikes around the country. Met up with a random contingent of internationals. Best thing I did ever, made some amazing life long friends in the process I would never had met if I hadn’t gone over solo.

  • The benefits of travelling alone article linked in this one was both a great read and it also had no comments (so I made one)

    This was a good article too, but it’s worth remembering that for some of us being alone is not a choice, and if we didn’t do things alone we’d never go anywhere or do anything.

  • I whole heartedly agree. I’ve traveled alone and frequently go to movies and music shows alone. It’s great to have company of course, but being there without a friend rarely diminishes the experience for me.

  • Anything where conversation isn’t normally required or is precluded (e.g. going to the movies) is just fine on your own. Agree with the gallery/museum thing too as people want to go at their own pace and look at different things. I once did a road trip with hiking days alone and that was a great way to clear my head without the need to worry about anyone else’s considerations.

    The only time this doesn’t work is eating or drinking alone in restaurants or bars. It’s difficult not to feel self-conscious when everyone else is deep in conversation Especially for those who aren’t naturally outgoing. Scary too how quickly you can get through a meal when there’s no-one to talk to. But there are plenty of options to make the most of eating alone such as having a picnic in a public park.

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