I once asked my friends if they thought I was an extrovert and they all immediately said 'yes' with the straightest faces they could possibly have. Yet often times I feel like the most introverted person in the room — the person that needs a personal "yes man" to encourage me to leave my room on a Friday night.
There are too many things, though, that I am not ashamed of loving to do alone and y'all shouldn't either!
1. Travel alone.
I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a lot of time in Europe and having grown up in Asia, this was such a dream come true! Though I did travel a lot with newly made friends, I did indeed take many trips by myself. I went to places I wanted to go to, with my own itinerary, at my schedule. It may be scary at times and you'd probably be more vigilant and alert than you would if you traveled in a group, I absolutely loved it. There's something about the silence that is so peaceful. You give yourself a break from constant talking and socializing, and you give into your surroundings. You notice more things. You, perhaps, think more.
2. Get my culture-on alone.
As an extension of traveling alone, experience the city you're in alone! Go to a museum alone. Go to a musical alone. Go to the opera alone. Go to an art exhibition alone. Learn something; enjoy something; do something for yourself.
3. Eat alone.
Whether it's getting up at 6:30 in the morning to voyage to a well-known pancake spot in Brooklyn, or taking a bus to Bologna just to have the classic Tagliatelle al Ragù (think OG Spaghetti Bolognese — Bologna... Bolognese... get it?), I am not a stranger to eating alone in public. I'm not ashamed! You may feel the urge to constantly be on your phone, but if you want to do something, and you just so happen to be alone, just do it! Don't let your fear of what other people might think of you stop you from doing what you want to do.
4. Volunteer alone.
I try to do good deeds without letting anyone know that I've done them because being kind shouldn't be about the praise received from doing so. I volunteer through New York Cares and it just so happens that I do so alone. I don't mind because I've gotten to know other New Yorkers who too volunteer alone, not for the bragging rights, not to feel better for themselves, but because they simply want to help out in any way they can.
5. Go to a concert alone.
Squeezing through the crowd to get as close to the front as possible, bonding with random strangers who are as excited as you (if not more), embracing the energy in the air and succumbing to your favorite songs — it's all part of the amazing experience of going to a concert alone. I will say, though, trying to go to the bathroom while still holding your spot in the line/the crowd, is not an easy feat.
6. Take a walk alone.
A friend once told me how therapeutic it was to go for a walk. I didn't realize how much I had taken that to heart until after a week of bouts of anxious and depressive thoughts, I went for a walk that lasted hours. I walked along the East coast of Manhattan. I took the L train to Williamsburg and I walked around there. I wasn't consciously trying to "heal" myself, I just wanted to stop fixating on things that made me anxious or depressed. I wanted to stop feeling bad about myself. I just wanted to walk.
7. Go to the gym alone.
On the note of physical and mental health, I also exclusively workout alone. I know there are many benefits to a workout buddy, but I just don't roll like that. I have my obnoxious headphones on, my resting bitch face intact, and I just want to do my thing. Personal trainers: please don't touch my body and tell me what I'm doing wrong in the hopes of getting me to hire you. People I sort of know: I look like a mess and I will probably go to great lengths to avoid talking to you. Random strangers: I will ignore all the side glances you give me because it makes me anxious. I just want to work out, work out hard, and leave.
8. Just hang out alone.
I wasn't kidding when I said that I have a personal "Yes Man." It's acknowledged by my best friend and I that she's my Yes Man. She's the extroverted one, the one who always has plans. And I'm the introverted one, the one always coming up with excuses as to why I "can't" go out. Based on the idea from the 2008 Jim Carey film, "Yes Man," that you should say yes to any opportunity that comes your way, I honestly try to say yes but if it involves socializing with other people, I need external help. I'll often call my best friend, needing her to convince me to go out and socialize, to tell me what I "should" do.
But you know what, I try my best to live with no regrets. I've socialized and bonded with friends, but I've also spent time with myself and is not afraid to be by myself. I've cultivated hobbies, developed interests, pursued my passions. I am my authentic self and have and have found people who love me for that reason.
Drop the FOMO, embrace the self-love, and just enjoy yourself.