Voices, Well-being

Alone Doesn’t Mean Lonely

Being a college student in this fast-paced world can be a challenge at times. Between cellphones, tablets, and social media it’s easy to feel like there is a constant demand to be connected to everyone at all times. In the midst of all this hustle and bustle, it seems we’re beginning to lose sight of the importance of spending time alone, disconnected. I have noticed this especially among younger people.

However, I don’t want to make this just about technology. Although people are definitely attached to their iPhones and tablets, now more than ever, it seems people are also becoming less comfortable with spending time by themselves, alone.

Why is there such a negative stigma when it comes to doing things alone?

Going out to eat or seeing a movie by yourself must mean you’re either a sad, lonely soul or there’s something wrong with you. You must not have any friends.

I think being able to spend time by yourself, without technology and without the interaction of other people, is crucial and very beneficial. I know a lot of people my age feel like they can’t go out and do things unless they are with a friend for fear of how they will appear to others.

It’s not healthy to be co-dependent on other people. It’s perfectly acceptable to go shopping, see a movie, go out to eat etc. without company. In fact, it’s a good thing to spend time with just you. After all, you’re the one person you have to put up with for your entire life. You may as well get to know that person!

By spending time alone, you give yourself quiet time to think, to get comfortable with yourself. Spending time alone helps you feel independent and gain a whole new understanding of the person you are because you don’t have to be defined by anyone else.

Friends and family are wonderful, but we shouldn’t feel like we need them in order to go out into the world and do things just because we’re afraid of how others will view us.

I’ve always been the type of person who has a few very close friends whom I love dearly, rather than a large group of acquaintances. If my close friends are busy, I would much rather do things by myself than hang out with other people I may not care for, just for the sake of not being alone. Why spend time with people you don’t connect with just so you don’t appear alone? I’ve done this before, as I’m sure we all have, and I often find that I end up feeling more lonely than if I were to just be by myself.

If you find yourself in this predicament, I recommend trying to spend a little time each week with yourself doing something you’ve wanted to do. It can be something small like going to get coffee and read a book or going to see a movie. Try to choose things that you normally feel like you couldn’t do alone and challenge yourself.

Once you get past the initial anxiety of being alone and wondering what people are thinking of you, it’s liberating! Alone doesn’t mean lonely. It doesn’t mean you don’t have friends. It doesn’t mean you’re sad or missing out. It means you’re wise enough to realize the importance of getting to know yourself. You’re independent. It means you’re comfortable with yourself, and since when is that a bad thing?

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Being both soft and strong is a combination very few have mastered.