Alone or lonely? You can decide

By Courtney Sosnowki | Reporter

I am fine with being by myself. That is, when it’s socially acceptable.

The fear of being alone becomes so real in college. When you move away from your family and friends, the bare feeling creeps up on you as you realize that you may not have another option but to face your day and your tasks, all by yourself. But does flying solo have to be something to dread? I think an important part of growing up is learning the value and beauty of doing things alone.

Going to the movies, eating at a restaurant, attending a party, traveling, shopping or even (at least for girls) going to the bathroom at a restaurant are tasks that have been engrained in us as anxiety-causers when you do not have anyone to participate with you. We may be okay at home by ourselves, but we painfully feel the difference when we are alone in public settings. Sometimes, we feel so self-conscious that we do not want to talk to others while we are seen by ourselves, so we rely on a crutch like earbuds, a cell phone, a laptop or a book. We want to look like we are alone on purpose.

There are several different reasons we could feel this way. As children, we usually had parents to do these activities with, and so we are accustomed to having a person accompany us for certain tasks.

Fundamentally, there is a part of our human nature that desires fellowship with others; a lot of us still carry a small part of our middle-school self who still tries to live up to the cool kids. After all, from what we see on social media, everyone is having a good time with their friends. But we should not be surprised that we may feel this way when looking at social media– its very name tells us that the platform is about relationships and connecting us with others. Being alone is not social, but that does not mean that it is bad. Just because someone would not update their status about it does not mean that it is not something worth doing.

Now, we should not be afraid to ask for help, company or fellowship as we go throughout our lives. Sometimes, support is necessary. However, many times we are afraid of doing things by ourselves because we are worried about what others think, when really, doing life by yourself is totally normal. Truthfully, those who do things by themselves are not overwhelmed by pitiable glances or pointed at and ridiculed. Most people do not really notice. But in these moments, our insecurities cloud our judgement and we feel like the center of attention, when really, we just blend in with the crowd.

Being alone does not mean you are lonely. Spending time with yourself is healthy, as it allows you to think. It can be fun, when you realize that you have a lot of freedom by yourself. As you grow and come into your own, you have to figure out who you are apart from other people, and that requires being alone.

Instead of putting something off until someone can do it with you, seize the day, put down your phone and go forth in confidence. Are you going to feel lonely, or are you going to embrace being alone? You can decide.

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