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Go Out By Yourself Once In A While

By: Brian Kim - December 6, 2006

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Everybody has their own group they always socialize with on the nights and weekends. However, few people dare to venture out of their group alone and what I mean by that is going out to a bar alone, to the movies alone, to a restaurant alone, etc. The majority of people wouldn’t be caught dead doing these types of things because there seems to be a measure of shame and embarrassment associated with going out by yourself.

However, I’m here to tell you that going out by yourself once in a while can help change your life for the better.

One of the main reasons why people don’t go out by themselves is because they fear what other people may think of them if they do. When you start going out by yourself, you cease to allow your life to be dictated by that kind of fear and as a result, you take back some measure of control in your life. Constantly going out with your group of friends and yielding to the consensus of the group tends to erode your personal control on some level. However, once you go out by yourself, you start to develop your personal control because now you’re not hindered by the wants of the group like before; now you get to do what YOU WANT to do. When you do so, you’ll realize the control you’ve always had and you start doing what YOU want to do and that starts to spill over in other areas of your life.

Isn’t it amazing how many people lose this power of control and allow their lives to be dictated by those around them? People grow up to become doctors just because their parents want them to become doctors. Students major in subjects they don’t even care about because it’s what their friends told them to major in. Many people marry those they don’t want to out of pressure from friends and family. What is the common thread in these events? Loss of control in one’s life. When you let your life become dictated by those around you, you give up your power to live the life you want.

Take back control.

Another benefit of going out by yourself is that you become familiar with doing the unfamiliar. You push yourself out of your comfort zone. By engaging in such an unfamiliar act, you easily build “muscle” to climb out of one of the biggest traps we can fall into which is complacency. The majority of people fear change and once they’re settled in a comfortable routine, it’s extremely difficult to get them to come out of it. Many people wish to change their lives by breaking out of this comfort zone, but they have no “muscle” to do so in a manner of speaking. Going out by yourself is one way to build this “muscle”. Once you do so, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results. You may think of a great idea on your night out, meet a new friend, read a life changing book, discover your favorite park, meet someone who can help your business, etc. Good things will happen to your life and now you start to associate positive things with breaking out of your comfort zone. Taking on that new project at work won’t seem as daunting as much. Trying that new workout will be much more appealing. It'll seem as if various spices have been added to your life.

You’ll also find that going out by yourself improves your social skills. Ironic, I know. How can going out by yourself actually improve your social skills?

If you’re comfortable being by yourself on your solo outings, you’ll be more than comfortable socializing with others because you have conquered the exact fear that seems to keep people in check when it comes to socializing with others. You become comfortable with yourself and you don’t care as much of what other people think. So next time you’re at a party, you won’t cling to your friends like lifesavers but instead, feel free as a butterfly to mingle with total strangers. Think of going out by yourself as “training” for stronger social skills. The more you go out by yourself, the more comfortable you will be with yourself and the less worried you will be of what other people think of you, a dynamite combination when it comes to strengthening social skills.

Now am I saying it’s bad that if you don’t go with yourself? Not at all. (On a side note, if you're female, it may be wise not to go out by yourself for safety reasons and speaking of which, this article will probably apply more to male readers than females, but I digress.) All I’m saying is that you should try it out once in a while. If your friends don’t feel like doing anything this weekend, don’t let that prevent you from going out by yourself. Have a night out on the town. Go out to a restaurant you’ve always wanted to go to and have a meal by yourself. Go to the movies by yourself. Go to a bar and shoot some pool by yourself. You'll probably be uncomfortable and feel as if everybody is eyeballing you the first couple of times, but that will pass and soon, you’ll be extremely comfortable going out yourself. The sheer number of possibilities that can result from you doing this are like the grains of sand on a beach. I can't list them all, but those who have gone out by themselves know the kind of doors it can open. All I can say is that you’ll be pleasantly surprsied at the subtle repercussions and ripple effects that going out by yourself can have on your life.

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9 Responses to “Go Out By Yourself Once In A While”

  1. jen Says:

    (On a side note, if you’re female, it may be wise not to go out by yourself for safety reasons and speaking of which, this article will probably apply more to male readers than females, but I digress.)

    If you are a woman and want to venture out by yourself make sure you are doing something that will involve you in meeting others without your significant others tagging along. You can do it safely in groups of men and women - the ‘alone’ bit is simply not with the hubby or the kids, or at times the best freind whose always at your door for a cuppa. It’s what women call ‘me’ time and it is really important to to have a ‘going out by myself time’. It does not mean you will be ‘alone’ - it means you are doing something that is about you and for you and not something you want to do with your partner (or kids for that matter). For a long time I went line dancing - by myself - made freinds (leanred social skills!!!) - had a great time - until my partner came along too and ‘invaded’ this time. I became selfconcious of my behaviour - it was different when he was around. (I was stunned at how I felt too - he was invading my space!) A similar thing happened years later when I worked as a member of the Back stage crew for the local scout gangshow painting scenery - it was great - I felt great and really looked forward to this time until the year he decided to be part of that crew too. (Once again I felt my space was invaded) Unfortunately? for me up until now I have been held back by fear and expectations (real or imagined) and not been able to say ‘go away - this is for me!’. So…definately go out by yourself once in a while women of the world…but it does not mean go ‘alone’ - it means go minus the significant others you normally have around you 24/7. It means independent, by yourself. It means you can grow without being held back or ‘in check’ by the hat you wear in relationship to the significant other. (Mother, wife) - oh…and don’t get me wrong - I don’t mean go play up because he is not around…you still need to uphold your personal values! Be sure your significant others understand this is not for them - it is your time. (learn to say go away if you have to!)

  2. Brian Kim Says:

    Jen,

    Thanks for contributing such great advice from a woman’s perspective! I really appreciate it and I think it adds really well to the article :)

  3. jen Says:

    No Problem Brian - I enjoyed your advice!

  4. John Says:

    Way to go, Brian! This piece of advice is great.

    Often, going it alone is what separates the extreme doers, versus those who rot in front of the T.V. by themselves.

    This is the antidote to those who complain, “I have no friends!”. Well, go out and find some! Even if you don’t make any lasting connections on a given night, you are still trying out new things, especially if you are playing sports, travelling, attending cultural events, or even the neighbourhood pub alone.

    Now granted, there are safety issues for both men and women. From personal experience, and as a guy, I would still exercise caution. For instance, if someone is going to unfamiliar places or potentially risky environments like nightclubs by oneself. These precautions could mean, simply telling someone you know where you are going, and when you are to come back, and following basic street survival strategies.

    However, looking at the positives, you become a more interesting and alive person, because you are doing things and getting engaged in a lot of stimulating activity. You are truly living, versus vicarious living. Sometimes a person who has only a small number of friends who are unwilling to try things feel stilted. Don’t be this way.

    Personally, I have done everything from going out and playing sports, to going on ecotours in exotic destinations, to simply going to pubs and cafes by myself. It is always an adventure, and I am always learning! I have friends, yes, but they are not always available/willing to accompany me, so I must chart my own course.

    Take Care!

  5. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate it.

    I love the proactive nature of your thoughts and I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve wrote.

    There’s a whole new world out there beyond the tube and if you have the courage to step out there - like you said, it’s the difference between truly living and vicarious living.

  6. Reader Success Story: If You Met Her 10 Years Ago, You Would’ve Thought She Was On a Sad and Painful Path of Despair » The Definitive Self Improvement Blog - BrianKim.net Says:

    […] I moved away from therapists telling me I’m an insomniac or have OCD or ADD and taking anti-depressants, painkillers and sleeping pills and began meditating, researching and reading more. I exposed myself to things I never had before. I found you searching “how to have more confidence” and believe reading the article about “going out by yourself once in a while” inspired me to do so and contributed to my amazing comfort level I have now around any person or group of people. I meet “strangers” all the time who are connected to my big network in the strangest ways and end up helping with a lot of my “problems”…. or I have solutions to theirs. Any and all of your articles on getting started with exercise or saving money when I’ve been slacking gets me back in the gym or back on track with my finances. I have read and love all of your articles and could write a novel about how they’ve all helped me, but I think it was a combination of everything and the timing when I read each one that really all added up to being a perfect support system for me. When I wasn’t doing well, it inspired me to make change. When I was on top of my game, it only made my “offense” that much stronger. […]

  7. Ed Jolanski Says:

    I don’t really find this article to be helpful, because it doesn’t explain *how* to go out by yourself. I already do go out alone and still feel clueless as to how to push that into the realm of actually meeting new people. Honestly, I haven’t a clue what to do and I wish someone could teach me some steps as if I am an alien to our culture because my lack of knowledge is really killing me. First off–you mention playing pool by yourself–really? What is the point, just to practice? I never see anyone else going out alone, and I don’t know how to meet people who are already in a group. Especially when people are just sitting at tables with their friends, how could it possibly be appropriate to start talking to them? Do you have any advice for this situation? As it stands now, I go out by myself, sitting there alone, which makes me even more depressed that I have no ability to even talk to anyone else. Thanks…

  8. Mike Says:

    You just gotta go out and do it. It’s not hard. Just go somewhere not to pretensive and talk to whoever is sitting next to you if they seem interesting to you. Try starting there and the rest will come naturally.

  9. Brian Kim Says:

    Hi Ed,

    I suggest you read the article again because I don’t think you’re seeing clearly what it’s about.

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