“I like spending time alone,” we’ve heard over and over again upon meeting a person self-identifying as “single”. Most of the time it is a questionable truth. We know that because depression and loneliness are as common in young professionals as insecurity among 7th graders; so if 100% of the singles we meet at cocktail hours are saying they like being alone then something is a little off.
If you would like to master the art of spending time alone for real though, then there is one thing you need to do it get started on the right foot. You need to like yourself.
Here is the thing: you never hands down hate to socialize, nor hate being alone. You just enjoy spending time with people who like you. So, if you are having drinks with acquaintances who sub-esteem your hotdog stand career you start to hate socializing, and you end up saying, “I like spending time alone.”
Let’s say you actually hate your hotdog stand career though, then there’s a serious problem. You still can’t spend time with those people, but now you also can’t spend time alone because you would basically be spending time with someone who hates you, that is, yourself. That’s when spending time alone gets to be hard. And it is not just your career when something like this could happen.
Maybe you do not like your body.
You do not like your quiet personality.
You think you are not funny enough.
You start hating things about yourself or your life and spending time alone becomes a disaster because you are spending time with someone who does not like you. Think, can you sincerely say things like:
“I’m a cool person.”
“I like who I’ve turned out to be.”
“I crack myself up.”
If you can’t say at least one of those, do not try to be brave and sit on your couch by yourself. It won’t be fun. You’ll go out to meet new people the next day and they’ll ask if you’re seeing anyone and you’ll respond like everyone else, “No, but I like being alone.” And, you’ll know it’s not true.
Before canceling your plans with the city and staying in for the evening, make sure you love or at least like yourself first. Then, you will be so authentically be happy alone that you won’t even feel a need to tell people, “I enjoy being by myself.” They’ll just know.
by John Antonio