Wednesday, 10 October 2012

How To Enjoy Doing Things By Yourself

I have a very vivid memory from school of one of my friends telling me what she liked about me was that I am very independent. I don't need anyone. Usually, I shop alone, I go to museums alone, there are a lot of things other people seem to need to have someone to do something with, I prefer to do alone. I had never really thought about how I manage to spend so much time in my own company, until I first moved to Los Angeles. I knew no one in the city except for my three roommates for the first week and a half, and when they were at work or away for the weekend and I was alone in an empty apartment, in the middle of a city I'd never visited before, in a country I was not entirely familiar with, I really started giving it some thought.
alone
Photo by One and Only

I am a solitary person, more so than most, and that does not mean that I don't enjoy other peoples company, but I also don't have a problem doing practically anything by myself, from going to see a movie, going shopping (actually a lot of the time I prefer going alone, at the time of writing I have just got back from a trip to Westfield in Century City, and I has a much more productive trip than I had the last time I went with friends), or even eating a meal alone in a cafe or restaurant. I think there are great benefits to being able to be alone, it gives you a lot more independence not having to rely on other people, so I thought I'd put together a few tips on how to enjoy spending time by yourself.

  • Make plans. If you keep busy, a lot of the time you won't notice you are by yourself, and your spending so much time having fun you are not feeling alone. On my laptop I have a list of places, such as farmers and flea markets, cafes and independent shops, one list for London and one list for Los Angeles of places that have been recommended to me, that I work my way through whenever I have time to myself. Make plans with yourself to do something fun just the same as you would making plans with your friends.
  • Enjoy the peace and quiet. When I lived in London I sometimes went and hid in the corner of a bookstore with a book, or went bookstore hopping looking for new and creative tomes I had not seen before - I have found books make just as good company as people! 
  • People watching is great fun in cafes and restaurants. People only look at people alone in restaurants and cafes and feel sorry for them if they look like they're unhappy about their solitude - so don't! Sometimes I sit and read, at other times I take time to really take in my surroundings. Look at the people sitting at the tables around you, what do you think their jobs are, their lives like, what do you think they are talking about? Making up stories for them is an incredible lot of fun! 
  • Do something nice for someone else. I love cooking and baking, and while it is sometimes fun to do this with someone (when I'm at my parents house I always cook with my Mother), but spending an afternoon baking a nice cake or batch of biscuits for someone else by yourself is wonderful, because you get all the excitement of looking forward to their reaction when you surprise them. I had the best time I'd had in ages a few weeks ago when I had the afternoon off of class and I baked double chocolate chip cookies for my roommates to enjoy when they got home.

Basically if you stay busy and creative, and take the time to take in your surroundings in a way that you don't get to enjoy when you're always plugged into your iPod or chatting with friends and family, you'll come to enjoy spending time alone as much as you do when you're surrounded by people, and you'll be able to enjoy the freedom of not being tied to other peoples schedules. 


What are your tips for enjoying time spent alone? 

29 comments:

  1. Great post!! It really hit home! :)
    xo Andrea
    Wonderful and Marvelous

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  2. These are great! I'm a little bit worried about travelling alone later this year, mainly the eating by myself in a restaurant thing - I don't think I've ever done it before!

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  3. This is fabulous advice! I'm going to Melbourne in November to look for work and will be on my own. Whilst I'm really excited at the prospect of doing this 'alone' I am also nervous about it. I'll bookmark this post for when I get there!

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  4. Natalia Spyridaki10 October 2012 at 09:32

    Love this post!! I always need time on my own & this is great advice! x

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  5. cathryn nicholson10 October 2012 at 12:00

    What a great post! I moved to Melbourne 4 months ago from the UK with my husband. Luckily I love spending time with myself, as making Friends is not the easiest, however I am getting there! My husband loves the fact that I am so independent and able to spend time by myself!

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  6. I grew up in a MASSIVE family where there was never a time without lots of people around and when I first had the independence when I moved away from home, I HATED it but now I love having time that is just for me without the need for other people. My one tip? If you are out somewhere, don't keep constantly checking your phone as it looks like you have been stood up, take a book or magazine and read that instead!


    Maria xxx

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  7. I adore this post...
    My favourite 'alone time' thing's to do are walk, run or shop...sometimes on a rainy Sunday it's really nice to put together outfits and create your own little catwalk..this enables you to use your wardrobe to its full potential & can remind you just how fabulous you really are!
    x

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  8. I totally agree with you, there are things I prefer to do by my self because a) I can be more productive (such as shopping) or b) I find it a more pleasant experience (visiting a museum or new place). I get just as much out of doing something alone as I do from being with friends & family

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  9. Absolutely LOVE this post. It's so nice sometimes not to have to rely on other and to be with your own thoughts. I love spending time with others, but sometimes it's really nice to be one your own. I've done shopping/cinema on my own and it's oddly liberating.

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  10. What a wonderful post, really goes to show that nothing beats some 'me' time.

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  11. Refreshing-I feel like all I see are entertaining guides, places to go with friends, etc. I like to have alone time once in a while. Depending on my mood I like to drink coffee with biscottis, paint my nails and listen to music. Other days I want to explore, be creative and productive! But I think it's so important to have time when it's just you. No phone, no computer, no stress.

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  12. Elisabeth Earnshaw11 October 2012 at 02:48

    love these ideas! i went to a favorite little bakery by myself last week and it was rather liberating :)
    love,elisabethlavitaebella-elisabeth.blogspot.com

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  13. I prefer going to museums alone, since most people don't spend nearly as much time as I do reading the descriptions of everything. Sometimes being by yourself is a much needed break

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  14. I totally feel you there - I spend hours reading absolutely everything, and I'm worse in galleries as I analyse a lot of paintings - I used to do Art History! When I'm with friends and they allow photography in places, I tend to take close up photos of the descriptions and information so I can go back to them later; not missing out on anything, but still keeping up with everyone else!

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  15. We are so much alike on this. I always joke that I'm the most sociable, anti-social person you'll ever meet. It's not that I don't like people because I actually love little parties and time with friends when I feel like it, but it's just that I don't mind being alone and I don't have a problem doing things by myself. I can go shopping by myself, to lunch by myself, sit in the house all day doing things by myself. I have a hard time understanding people who can be clingy and attention-seeking because I've never been that way. I once had a friend who was this way and was miserable unless she had people around and was always inviting people over and trying to be everywhere the crowd was. The best advice I have for people who are this way is to learn how to enjoy your own company. I think that this particular friend of mine had so many things that she didn't want to face and think about so she was afraid to be by herself and be forced to deal with herself.


    Shannon
    www.shannonsometimes.com

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  16. I can't stand noisy crowds (that also applies for several groups of friends that I'm not that fond of) so rather than being with people who don't bring me joy just to avoid being alone, I would definitely go solo for the rest of my days. Being not tied to another person, having plenty of time to do only what 'you' want to do is actually great fun. I guess people who are not able to go to a museum or cinema feels awkward and self conscious but that goes away once you realize that people have better things to do than sit in a chair and watch you wander around on your own. They could care less actually. I like eating alone because I can enjoy my book as I enjoy my food; and I definitely like going shopping alone because it's great fun with a bunch of friends, but you can also make decisions in peace when you don't have 6 girls in hurry on your back.

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  17. splendourandrouge11 October 2012 at 15:40

    Great post and lovely blog!

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  18. I agree a lot with this. Especially the shopping thing, I love to just browse and go at my own pace, if I bring my Hubby along I feel like I'm rushed. Not because he IS rushing me but I know he would rather be doing something else.
    http://ThisSillyGirlsLife.com

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  19. Kate at Sorella Style11 October 2012 at 18:49

    Such an inspiring post - I just moved back to LA after a 7 year absence...everything feels the same yet is so different. This has moved me to go do new things on my own - stop trying to recreate my past....create my future.

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  20. Brilliant blogpost! I also really enjoy doing things by myself, and I never even thought about it, until one of my friends talked about how she thought it was really sad to do things by yourself and how this apparently shows that you don't have any friends. This made me really self conscious at the time, but I'm now going back to really enjoying some alone time! I also think it says something about yourself, if you can't spend time just with yourself and always have to be surrounded by other people!

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  21. Love this post. I really enjoy time by myself, I find it very refreshing. I used to go to art exhibitions by myself, and I found it easier to soak all the beauty in if I were alone (not that is bad to go with an appreciative company, either).
    And, as for shopping - after last trip with husband, I am not going with someone else ever again. I need my time, and I need to check, touch and chose for as long as I want

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  22. I am an only child and my parents are pretty old, so I've always been used to spending time on my own. I love it - I need it to feel properly chilled and myself :) x


    http://girlinthelens.com/

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  23. I think it is the only child thing - we learn the independence growing up!

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  24. I also recently moved to the LA area last month, & know no one, and have found i get bored when my roommates arent around (we have something in common -lets be friends! haha)
    I've made a lot of acquaintances and casual friends at college, but not really any friends to hang out with over the weekend.
    As of now, I've kept myself busy by making crafts to decorate my new room, and also taking lots of walks to explore.

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  25. What college do you go to in LA - email me! (Even if you go to USC!) rachel@rachelphipps.com

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  26. I love spending time alone! Totally agree with all your tips, I spent a month travelling round Italy, and I did feel lonely at times, but having a good book and lots of plans was the best way to make that go away!

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  27. Oh my, it was like I had written this myself. I am exactly the same!

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  28. See I'm the opposite- eldest of 4 children growing up so now I love my alone time as it makes such a change! :) Great post.


    www.misswheezy.blogspot.com

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