Many of us can't wait to have the next load of fun with our partner, friends, families, or even coworkers. Now more than ever, we appreciate and look forward to spending time with our favorite people. We often invest time, energy, and money into making sure that when we meet it’s going to be a fantastic time. Plans may include; dinner at a new restaurant, enjoying your alma mater's homecoming, weekend trip, summer family vacation, birthday adventures, or maybe seeing your favorite singer or band when they come to town. You may have even found yourself agreeing to activities or things that aren’t your preference, just because you love the company. Due to life being ever changing what happens when life throws a wrench in your plans, and your partner has mandatory overtime and can’t make the concert, or your besties babysitter bailed and they can no longer make the girls weekend getaway? Hearing that your plans are altered due to circumstances beyond your control can bring out feelings of sadness, frustration, even disappointment. What do you do? Is your idea of having fun only possible with the security of your favorite people around? What is your perspective on having fun alone?
We spend a significant part of our lives socializing with others. Research suggests we need connection to survive. Connection creates feelings of belonging, purpose, happiness, and self worth. We learn a great deal about ourselves through relationships with other people. We also learn a lot about ourselves from ourselves. So, are you capable of still having fun alone? While your significant other or best friends schedules may have changed and you have dealt with that emotionally, give yourself permission to still engage in the activity and have fun alone. When was the last time you made plans with yourself? Put a date with yourself on the calendar, just like you schedule all your other daily activities? Having fun alone serves a multitude of purposes. It is a time to grow, understand, reflect, explore, and increase pleasure.
If you're not used to having fun alone, that's okay too. Let's talk about why having fun alone isn’t something you’ve implemented occasionally. Perhaps you don’t have an immediate social circle due just moving to a new place or haven't found a community you feel a part of just yet, but still crave wanting to experience certain activities, then maybe this concept is especially for you. This may be a new concept for you. It's never too late to start. Initially, It may bring up several feelings including awkwardness, shyness, insecurities, social anxiety, or even fear. However, it can also bring up feelings of joy, excitement, freedom, confidence, and happiness. Having fun alone is a continuous game of self discovery, especially as your life evolves.
You perhaps have created lists of things that you hope to partake in at some point in life whether alone or with others. Many would call this a bucket list. Reflecting on that list could be a great way to motivate you to introduce yourself to having fun with just you. For the best possible results try making the list tangible, so that you can really engage in it. Get some colored sticky notes, write a few ideas down, and toss them into a mason jar. Reach into that jar frequently. Perhaps set up 5-10 ideas a month to keep the jar replenished. Not every idea or activity needs to cost money. Look up local free events in your neighborhood. Some neighborhoods have their own social media pages which post up to date information about upcoming events that encourage new participation. Research last minute getaways on non prime time days to save a few bucks. Traveling alone is a drastic measure if you aren’t yet comfortable with hanging out alone. I would encourage smaller activities and working your way up to that solo destination vacation. This could be a time to do some of the things that your crew gives you uninterested vibes in doing. Or some of your own secret special interests that no one knows about. That’s what having fun with you means. It's trial and error, your interest may have evolved as you have grown and experienced life. The next time you hang out with your friends you can share your experience. Create a collage scrapbook for your own reflection of memories and to share and inspire others. Other ways to capture the moment include journaling your experience, or telling a friend about a recent activity. That conversation could perhaps be beneficial and potentially encourage them to have some fun alone from time to time.
Mentioned earlier was the possibility of a mixture of emotions before the decision to still have fun alone. When we have fun with others there is a mental expectation that there will be a positive emotion that comes with that experience. It is a big part of what drives us to participate. That positive experience translates into a positive thought that impacts the likelihood that you will engage in similar experiences. On the reverse side, negative experiences can create negative emotions which impact the non likelihood of similar encounters. When we have those negative experiences with friends or family, they act as a buffer, and we are able to express the negative emotions experienced and resolve some emotional conflict that didn’t meet that expectation we set. Resolving some of the unsettling emotions when you have fun alone can still be obtained. It could entail adapting our expectations depending on if it is a solo adventure or engaging in the activity with others. Perhaps after the event you may make meaning of the experience and gain insight into what this was like prior, doing, and how you feel after completing this and what it may mean for future possibilities? Exploring, acknowledging emotions is insightful and is a way for you to address those internal scripts and messages that are fumbling around.
While having fun alone is a great way to increase your concept of happiness there should be some precautions that need to be taken. While creating these memorable experiences keep in mind your safety. I would encourage sharing locations, sending a quick text to partners or kids, and checking in occasionally if you will be longer than anticipated. Be mindful of posting pictures of travel while away, wait to post once you have returned home safely. While your intentions are to capture and display the adventurous time you are having to your social media friends/followers, sadly others may have ill will and look for opportunities to take advantage. I hope you will be cautious and be mindful of surroundings. While having fun alone is surely possible, your own level of safety and comfort should always be a priority.
Most people crave a life that incorporates happiness. While friends, children, partners, and colleagues provide ample opportunities for joy and happiness; limit waiting around for others to provide happiness for you.This could reduce disappointment when friends or family cannot fulfill our need for happiness, because that is a big obligation to put on our loved ones. While having all this fun and creating these memorable moments,I hope you don’t forget that you are a cool and unique individual. So when you think of people who bring happiness to your life, don't forget the name at the top, hopefully it’s yours! If having fun alone is a concept you would like to further discuss and explore on an individual basis please feel free to reach out at www.thecenterforgrowth.com and schedule an appointment online at https://www.thecenterforgrowth.com/therapy/schedule-an-appointment or feel free to call the main number 215-922-5683.