In high school, it was rare to find me without my group of friends. I rarely spent my spare time alone. I heavily relied on my friends to accompany me to places—the movies, school events, shopping, you name it. I felt as if I couldn't go anywhere or do anything if I didn't have someone to go with. I didn't realize my codependency at the time - I just thought it was normal to always need your friends. I mean, that's why you have friends, right? To do things with.
I moved to Boise during my sophomore year of college citing a change of scenery as my reasoning. Everyone was a little confused, but supportive. "What will you do without each other?" People would ask my best friend and me, but I hadn't thought about that. I had been so caught up in wanting to move out of the town that I had always known, I hadn't even thought about the fact that I would be leaving my friends behind. And then it hit me, I wasn't going to have any friends when I moved. Yeah, I was going to be living with two people I knew from high school, but we weren't super close. I didn't know how to make new friends since I hadn't had to make any since high school started, and that was easy because I saw the same people every day there. Suddenly, moving seemed like a bad idea, but I did it anyway... Mostly because I had already signed a lease.
The first couple months weren't bad. My roommates and I hung out together a lot and I wasn't alone most of the time. But conflicting schedules and school eventually got in the way and pretty soon I was on my own. My roommates were never home at the same time as me or they were hanging out with each other and their other friends. So I stayed in a lot, watched a lot of Netflix and went to class and work and was pretty lonely. I would try to see if my roommates would want to do things, but they would be busy and I would just skip out on whatever it was I wanted to do.
I don't exactly remember the very first time I went to a movie by myself—it might have been the time I saw Keanu or Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping because my roommates thought both those movies looked dumb and didn't want to see them—but I remember the feeling. When I walked up to get my ticket I thought the workers were going to think I was a loser (maybe they did) or give me dirty look (they didn't) so I checked my phone while I was in line to make it look like maybe I was waiting on someone. I'm sure it didn't work. I was so paranoid about everyone judging me, but no one cared. I went in and watched the movie and laughed at what I thought was funny and didn't have to worry about what someone else was thinking about the movie. It was freeing. I left the theater feeling like a new person.
Once I got past that first time, I realized I don't need to rely on other people to go do things with me — my own company is enough. I've gotten a lot more confident and independent since then and have done a lot of things I never thought I would do on my own. A year ago, when Adam Devine was at The Egyptian Theatre, I impulsively bought a ticket the day of and went and sat in a theatre full of people with dates, family members, and friends, and I laughed my head off. I had never gone to an event like that by myself before, and I found that it wasn't much different than going to a movie alone. And I wasn't really alone; every person in that theatre experienced the same joy I felt that night. I went home feeling warm and happy and glad that I took a chance and bought that single ticket.
I go to a movie by myself once a week now (thank you MoviePass) because it's like taking myself on a date— self-care, if you will. It's one of my favorite things to do. I've gone to concerts alone and made friends there. I went to see "The Book of Mormon" alone, but with a ticket from the nice girl I met while waiting for the drawing who actually won the lottery (we had bonded over being by ourselves). I go to coffee shops and parks and the library by myself to read or study or to just get out of the house.
If you don't already, I challenge you to do something by yourself this week. Go to a movie or for a walk in the park or go read a book at that coffee shop you've always wanted to go to. Go enjoy your own company because, in the end, you're the only person you can truly rely on to go do the things with you want to do.