Despite living in an incredibly individualistic society, it is rare to hear of occasions in which people go to restaurants, sight-see, or head out to a bar… alone.
Humans are naturally sociable creatures. We thrive in groups, and we often reach out to each other in the hopes of making long-lasting connections. This is great! People need people, and completely isolating yourself from everyone can have negative consequences on your mental health.
However, this also means that we tend to latch onto one another in social situations. I'm sure many people would be confused at the thought of going to a bar alone without the prospect of meeting up with friends—but why?
Why is it that people need to be seen in public with other people? Is it because socializing gives us a sense of purpose in being out at all? Is there something inherently shameful about being seen alone?
There certainly shouldn't be.
So much good can come out of spending time in your own company. As much as we love our friends and family, sometimes we need our alone time, and this doesn't always mean that we stay in and binge-watch a new Netflix series. (Although many times it does, and that's totally cool too.)
Sometimes needing our privacy means heading out to get a cup of coffee and sitting in a cafe for hours without waiting for anyone. Sometimes it means visiting that museum you've never been to and soaking up all the art at your own pace. Sometimes it means that you need a break to sit with your thoughts.
So why do we feel such immense pity whenever we see someone standing alone?
If we see someone at the movie theater with their bag of popcorn and no clear sign of expecting anyone, why do we assume that means the person is a loner?
Maybe that person just wanted to enjoy a film they've waited years for, and maybe they couldn't watch it to its fullest extent with their best friend asking questions about it all the time. Maybe they had a rough week and want to sit with their popcorn—no questions asked.
Regardless of the reason, we should not be pitying anyone who stands apart from the crowd in a public space. Rather, we should remember that our time with ourselves should be just as treasured as our time with other people.