I’m finding it more beneficial for me lately to go to events by myself. I’ve always known this was a good way to go about networking and so forth, but just never really did it — I have no idea why. I was a little more shy (shocking I know) when I was younger, but I think all those nights at punk shows as a teenager, booking bands and DJing in Los Angeles, and art receptions at CalArts made me a little more confident. I was never a wallflower or an oh-so precious introvert, but I was definitely someone who did the whole, “but what if I don’t know anyone!” song and dance; like many people, I didn’t think my conversation skills were always the best.
I keep forgetting what a gabber I am these days, and even when I am standing alone at an event not knowing a soul, there always seem to be new people I will meet who approach me out of nowhere and it turns out to be a great thing. In fact, I can pretty much be anywhere alone and will get to talking to someone without much effort. Not knowing people at an event is a great way to get to know acquaintances in the peripheral sphere of your social network, too. You know, those people you might exchange 3 sentences with every time you see them before being interrupted or dragged to another corner of the room because someone wants you to meet so-and-so, or your partner wants to do something else. Not only does being alone keep you from staying in the safety zone chatting with your friends, but you aren’t feeling hurried or like you have to keep track anything. It can also be annoying if you are with someone who maybe isn’t one to mingle or meet new people; they might hover around bored or sulking because you aren’t paying enough attention to them. I can’t tell you how many events and parties I’ve had to leave early because my ride, partner, or my group, were ready to go because they were in a foul mood or maybe had to be somewhere else. This also solves the problem of trying to decide on a restaurant. I don’t see how sitting at a table by yourself at dinner is any different than sitting by yourself at a cafe. Everyone ignores each other no matter the setting when a cell phone is present!
I’ve been noticing more and more how much easier it is to socialize without the crutch of a partner or group. The thought of going to a music gig, restaurant, bar, or art reception by myself was unthinkable before. Not that I don’t like going out with other people or meeting them places, but I’m just glad that I can go out and not have to worry about knowing other people — or have to follow along with someone else. It always works itself out. And, if I don’t end up talking to anyone? Well, then I do my thing and leave. I’m okay with it and find it rather liberating. Besides, I may be a married lady, but it never takes me much effort to find a nice man or 4 to talk to…
2 thoughts on “Going It Alone”
I spent a good many years completely agoraphobic. Something snapped in me about 6 years ago, maybe had to do with being a mom and desiring independence from “mom” defining me entirely, who knows. Now I’m the complete opposite. Not only do I love going out, but I would RATHER go out by myself to concerts or art things. Much for the same reasons you stated. Having no obligation or responsibility for others’ good times and well being leads to a much more enjoyable time for myself. Rock on with your radness. 🙂
Fab! Yeah I still go through periods of being agoraphobic but after last year being confined to my apartment for almost 3 months, not so much.
I’m glad I went out to a lecture by myself tonight — for instance! Had some wine, talked with a few people, and then went home when I damn well felt like it.