We pity the girl who sits in the cafe on her own, nursing a cup of coffee with nobody but herself for company, but news flash- people enjoy spending time on their own and it’s time for us to break down the stigma surrounding it.
As kids, we were fooled into thinking our self-worth was measured based on how many friends we had. You were a nerd if you spent lunchtime by yourself. You were sneered at when you were picked last for the basketball team. You were viewed as ‘unpopular’ if you celebrated your 14th birthday with five friends.
It is time for society to stop looking down on the guy who goes to the cinema by himself and give up addressing people as ‘loners’.
An army of wonderful people have shared why they love being on their own to help me beat this ridiculous notion.
Anna Keat said: “For a 19-year-old, I'm an extremely avid knitter and given how I also have anxiety, time to myself plus something as rhythmic as knitting really gets my head back in check.”
“I moved abroad and only had a handful of friends when I first moved over so I started doing some things alone and I found it SO peaceful. Not having to rely on others is a blessing at times,” said Shauna Kiely.
“I always love spending time with myself. For a myriad of reasons (not too draining, don’t have to make conversation, won’t panic about the way I behaved later on) but mostly because I’m the only person who won’t let me down,” Grace Latter shared.
“I found myself living alone suddenly after a relationship breakdown and was terrified but I had the time of my life! I learnt to be happy in my own company & as a result I know myself so well now. We should all be our own one true love!” Penny revealed.
Victoria Teasdale, professional stress consultant and coach explained why we need to accept the fact that some people simply prefer time alone.
“Humans are made up of our own unique genetic code. When you realise that there are approximately 3 billion base pairs in the genome and that each of us can house variations of them that are infinitely unique, it’s about time that the word ‘normal’ is dropped from the vocabulary used to describe people.”
She explained: “While there is a benefit for us to be social, oxytocin release, problem-solving etc, some of us simply aren’t designed to be social people.”
“As a society, we do not teach people how to define their individuality. In fact, it's better for corporations if we all aspire to be the same, we're easier to market to that way.
“What you're doing by saying 'it's unhealthy not to socialise' is pinning everyone as the same, discounting the fact that there's a LOT of variation in people who don't fall into the 'abnormal enough to be labelled' category."
So, what can we do to make a positive change? “What is needed is a shift towards teaching people how to discover their unique identities, their strengths, struggles, quirks and needs.
"To allow them to express themselves however they see fit. And if that means sitting at home with a book on a Friday night… That's ok by me!”