Opinion: Being social while being alone can be worth the experience

Many think it’s weird when you go to events alone, but it can sometimes be better than going with others.


Wyatt Dlouhy

The Old Capitol building is seen in 2018.

Peyton Downing, Columnist

Many feel hesitant to be alone. After all, humans are social creatures, and it can feel awkward to be out in public without a companion. In regard to social events, this is a hesitation that needs to be banished. Going out alone can sometimes be even more enjoyable than going with friends.

Last month, there was a band coming to Iowa City that I had known about for a while and was interested in hearing live. I asked many people I know if they wanted to go but no one seemed interested. I questioned whether I should go or not — after all, I didn’t want to be that one odd guy in the room with no one, just looking around. But I wanted to see this band, and I would be damned if I didn’t go.

It was one of the best nights I’ve had in college.

The venue was overflowing with people. The air was thick with evaporated sweat, but not nearly as weighty as the anticipation that held the crowd. For whatever reason, the band was late to start and the crowd was not having it, but the wait was worth it.  Had I let the stigma of going out alone hold me back, I never would have experienced it.

When I informed my friends afterwards that I had gone to a show alone, they were incredulous. They found it bizarre that anyone would bother to go out alone, yet I know I made the right decision.

Had I dragged one of my friends to come, I would have felt horrible. Concertgoers had to wait in the rain to get in, only to wait another hour in a cramped bar with little air flow before anything happened without a guarantee that the band would put on a good performance.

This goes for any event, whether it be a movie showing, a meal out, or trying a new club. There is always the general anxiety of, “Oh, are they not enjoying themselves?” and, “Are they just here because I asked them to be?” Even if your friend assures you, the anxiety remains.

But when you’re alone, you have no such constraints or anxieties. All you must do is concern yourself with how you’re feeling. If you’re not enjoying yourself, you can just get up and leave. You don’t have to worry about anyone else’s desires or opinions. By being alone, you have more freedom to decide how to act.

I am not saying that you should go anywhere, anytime without fear of having a companion. As much as I wish it were otherwise, you do still have to worry about your safety. While going somewhere alone can be extremely rewarding, you should always make sure that you’re doing so safely.

Venturing out alone can be awkward and there are valid reasons for wanting to be with people you know. But when there is an opportunity to try something by yourself in a safe environment, it is well worth it. You can be rewarded in ways you would never expect by going solo.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.