Your own Sidekick: How to enjoy your own company


Srihari Yechangunja

Your Own Sidekick is a Sidekick series where staff members answer questions and offer advice on various topics. Stories will be posted weekly on Fridays.

Angelina Liu, Executive Editor-in-Chief

Spending time with yourself is a crucial step in discovering your personality and values apart from your friends and family. Understandably, this can be daunting as being comfortable in your own skin is an acquired skill and not something one is intrinsically born with. The idea of sitting alone at a movie theater, restaurant or coffee shop can breed negative emotions of loneliness and the ever-present question of “what will people think of me?”

However, taking this initiative can help you discover what it means to be alone, rather than lonely. Being alone is a choice and a comfortable state of being, while being lonely is crippling and anxiety-inducing. 

Here are some steps that you can take to become comfortable with spending time with yourself, and perhaps even crave it at times. 

  • Start small. 

 If you feel uncomfortable with the idea, begin with a solo walk or drive to the supermarket or a drive-thru fast-food restaurant. Listen to music that you enjoy and make a mental list of items you plan on purchasing and locations you plan on visiting. Try not to think about how much fun it would be if you were doing this with a friend, rather, focus on being present with yourself and your thoughts. Try putting your phone down and avoid distracting yourself by scrolling on social media. 

  • Plan fun activities with yourself. 

Once you feel comfortable enough going out by yourself, start planning fun excursions that you enjoy. Although these activities can be fun with friends, sometimes all you need is a social battery recharge. One of my favorite activities to enjoy by myself is getting coffee and going to the lake in the afternoon to either read or journal. Another is plugging into my favorite playlist and thrifting. 

Whatever it may be, there is definitely an activity that you would enjoy by yourself. Going out by yourself allows you to choose where you want to go, exactly how long you want to spend doing an activity and how you want to spend your time without having to take anyone else’s feelings or thoughts into consideration. 

  • Step out of your comfort zone. 

Don’t wait for life to happen. Don’t miss out on opportunities because other people didn’t want to accompany you. Whether that be a small thing, such as wanting a burger or a larger event such as a concert, don’t depend on someone else for your happiness. Take control of your life and time. 

This is your life and it’s unfolding right in front of you. Grasp every experience that comes your way and don’t sit around waiting for someone else, especially when you have yourself. Never allow the reason why you decided not to do something because you didn’t want to be alone. 

  • Realize it’s not that deep. 

Don’t always assume that people are judging you. The Spotlight Effect is a phenomenon that overestimates how much others are noticing an individual’s behaviors or looks. Most people genuinely are not incredibly critical or concerned about how others look or are acting, because most of the time they are focused on themselves. Although this may sound harsh, it can help you combat the idea that people are judging you and criticizing you for spending time alone. 

Although learning how to be alone does not guarantee that you will never be lonely, learning how to spend time alone can be an enriching experience that can teach you how to appreciate yourself. 


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