• Keeping Friends

Reader Wisdom: Making friends by doing things alone

Published: March 21, 2017 | By | 12 Replies Continue Reading
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On doing things alone: Dining solo can be liberating

On doing things alone: Dining solo can be liberating

Responding to an article in the Detroit Free Press, a reader (Susan61) explains how she made friends by overcoming her fear of doing things alone.

If she (the writer of the original Detroit Free Press article) lives in or near a decent sized city, this woman could have gone out by herself and if she was able to get over her fears, she could have had a good time! Many, many women greatly fear going out and doing things alone. Men do it ALL the time and always have, with little fear of judgment.

I started going out alone in my 40’s to a local bar to hear live music. There was a particular group that attracted an older crowd and I kept going every week or every other week. Over a few months, I was assimilated into a loosely organized group of people, mostly 45+, single, divorced, married, widowed – you name it. I made new friends and started getting party invites and other social opportunities.

Many women fear socializing alone, as it would make them look “bad” or lonely and undesirable with no friends. I found the opposite to be true. As long as you are feeling self-confident or at least acting “as if”, when you are out alone and willing to strike up friendly and non-pressuring type conversations with strangers, you will attract people – men and women – period. With age, my fear of going out alone lessened greatly although it was still sometimes difficult for me to take that first step because I was a very shy kid and shy self-conscious young adult.

What is even braver (and easy, once you get over your fear) is going out to eat alone. A good way to do it is to go to a restaurant with a bar. You will find many other people doing the same, Ok, mostly men but hey, women have the same rights. Nowadays everyone has their own phone to retreat to so you can bring your phone or an iPad as a safety net. Of course, this prevents spontaneous friendly conversations from happening….I don’t even own a smart phone…how it prevents people/strangers from talking to each other is one big reason.

What’s the worst thing that could happen? Someone could ask “Are you alone?” And you answer, “Yes”. If that person decides to judge you, then you say, “I like my own company and it’s easier to do things alone sometimes, I can leave when I want without having to negotiate!” Talk about a boost for your self-confidence.

Taking the risk to socialize and do things by yourself makes you a much stronger person and greatly builds your self-esteem. I have made several friends going out alone. The key is be relaxed, friendly, have zero expectations of “meeting someone” (if you are single) and just make small talk. No pressure, and if the person moves on to talk to someone else, you can’t take it personally, you just smile, order another drink, look at your phone, listen to the music, read your book, whatever.

For me, I prefer this type of independence because I don’t have to rely on friends to be available to me when want to do things and be around other people. I highly recommend you try it at least once!

Have other readers has success meeting people by doing things alone?

In the Media – Why is it so hard for women to make new friends? (Detroit Free Press)


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Comments (12)

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  1. virginialuther12 says:

    Thank you so much for the post

  2. meorge says:

    I don’t want to be the party pooper here, but be prepared if you try going out alone, you may just hate it. I am the self protective type. I don’t open up to new people very fast. I don’t want to meet socially after only one conversation. So I’m not going to make a new friend from just going out to eat alone. I find that going out alone gets old really fast. That’s why I like takeout! I think it’s a better idea to follow the advice of the poster Ali who said follow your own pursuits and interests, and making friends will be a side benefit, not the goal of what you’re doing.

  3. Lisa says:

    Agreed, a great post. I live on the North Fork Eastern Long Island. I have lived through some very tragic issues.I’m now 59 cry, on Social Security Disability. My husband of 36 yrs. Was diagnosed early in our marriage with Multiple Sclerosis. I took care of him, as I’m a care giver type personality up until 2009. I was told he would be safer in a nursing home. My kids and myself in o4,05, 06 went through some life saving surgery ( cancer related n rare). We have come through the rabbit hole to find survival tantics that can only be handled at two institutions. The go to for us is in Manhattan. My son married moved to Nevada and doesn’t keep in touch. My daughter married the same year she is a college Professor as well as her husband. I became ill, I nearly died n my caregiver is my daughter. Once very independent I have been rejected by people I know and family. I’m friendly, funny, and seem aloof though I have acquired a social phobia due to long stays in the hospital over the last year n forced early retirement. I lost my energy for get up and go.I want to socialize. I did the eat alone thing four times, drive myself to do the manicure thing, tried joining n contacted of all things, the red hat society with no replies. My illness is well hidden n I work hard to laugh at it as it is incurable for myself n two children now 29 n 33. I don’t let it define me. However, I can’t make a friend, not one. My friends live lifestyles my husband n I couldn’t keep up with because of his illness. With him I felt overwhelmed busy n the raicing n working keeping a household name family together was the sum of my life. Here I am sounding pretty pathetic. I’m afraid I’m a liability to volunteer in most places I have learned. I have a port which three days a week I have a pack like a pocketbook or briefcase so I could be mobile. Yet , I’m frozen in my home. I don’t feel much like eating alone even at home. My work for living is to graze all day to stay on the planet. I’m worthy of much more in life, I’m bright, independent (or use to be). Funny as he’ll given the opportunity. I don’t believe I’mean looking for romance bit I would love a friend or group of friends to get together and enjoy the life given to me. I lost myself somewhere n I could use some help in finding the latest version of myself. I can’t expect someone to plop into my life. So, volunteering didn’t pan out, I was rejected since often I’m now thinking I will waste away shamefully as I have been strong through everything I hit a great Wall now. TI those of you thinking she is depressed,yes, I am and yes since my husband’s diagnosis and previous baggage I have a wonderful therapist who physically has witnessed crisis after crisis and thinks I’m miraculous, bright strong and amazing. Though I believe she is biased. I want friends to laugh my way through life. Now, do I rent a friend? Nope, looked it up, you can rent a Grandparent though, f.y.I. for those in need. I can do online dating. Nope,not interested at the moment. I just want a friend or circle of friends to keep busy,have a few laughs and repeat. I’m a great listener but I need to fight off the urge to be a caregiver. That is a trap door for me I must grow out of. But I can listen. Though I’m writing quite the novella here. I’m honest trustworthy, sincere, I don’t have all my own teeth though. Some are implants, full disclosure. I do have all my wits about me and my own hair. I think these are all on the plus side. I’m short n thin don’t hold that against me. I am trying but I was told I will never be overweight due to health issues I can’t jump out of a plane nor climb the leaning tower of pIsa again. I don’t drink alcohol a choice and just so happens I’m not permitted because of this rare cancer causing illness. I have wrinkles so I’m not looking to be the rose amongst the thorns, just a friend.I will be surprised if anyone replies. Thank you all for allowing me to get this out into your world. It is very much appreciated. I’m not desperate, I don’t think, I’m 59 and bored!

  4. LauraSL says:

    I love the positivity of this post! The key is to be happy and engaged and meeting people will follow. I enjoy popping into Starbucks or a restaurant myself occasionally if I’m out running errands. The bar is definitely the best place to sit if you’re alone, as there’s TVs on and other people by themselves. The only downside is men thinking you want to be picked up (unless you do!)!

  5. LaurenM says:

    Great article and very encouraging and empowering. Yes, there are some doors that we have to go through alone, and actually are all the better for it.

    I was on Jury duty a few years ago and, of course, that’s another door to walk through alone, without the company of friends, acquaintances or family. I realise that I did not actually have any choice in the matter, so I decided to embrace the experience and to smile appropriately and be friendly and open to others in the jury pool, and I actually made a new friend in the Jury pool.

    Small world, we started chatting and I found out that she had just been on a similar cruise wich my husband and I had planned for ourselves in the fall of that year. I found out then that she and I have a lot in common, and she that has a really pleasant, open and easy-going manner.

    So it is true that being confident in your attitude and outlook and also in your physical posture can actually enhance the experience of going places alone.

  6. DCFem says:

    To Susan61,
    The writer does live in Detroit. She is a local reporter who writes a weekly column. There are a million things to do there so she should take your advice and start heading to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the new riverwalk, one of the thousand live music bars, the eastern market, etc. all by herself and see what happens. I grew up there so I never really had to go it alone in Detroit. But since moving, I have made friends simply by talking to other moms at the playground, asking someone to get coffee after the third time talking with them at an association meeting, etc. It is hard for women to admit that we need friends or are lacking friends but admitting that is the only way we will ever find any friends.

  7. Ali Wenzke says:

    I’m reading this as I sit alone in a cafe, enjoying a quiet morning by myself. What a great post! I’ve moved around to many different states and finally found the best way to make friends. Instead of actively seeking out people to meet, I would do things that made me happy. I signed up for classes or went to coffee shops for my personal enjoyment. I’d feel happier and fulfilled because I was learning how to play guitar or reading a good book. Meeting people was a side benefit, not the main goal. It became easier to meet friends when I wasn’t looking for them.

  8. Tanja says:

    As a stay at home mom of two school aged kids, I go out alone to coffee shops, fitness classes or just grocery shopping. I have never been a bar kind of person, so that would not be my thing. I am planning on going back to school where I may meet people a lot younger than I am. I take karate, but the people I meet become nothing more than friendly acquaintances. That’s okay. At times I feel stuck but I have a great husband, wonderful kids and it keeps me going. Although I feel lonely at times, I have come to understand that loneliness comes from within and not the people around you. You only need a handful of great people in your life that have your back, but sometimes you still feel lonely.

  9. Sandra says:

    What a great post! When my son was in school, I would often stop at a local cafe/diner by myself. I would sit in the back booth where I could work quietly with my laptop or my notebook, and treated myself to a solo lunch or breakfast. It was heavenly. I always felt safe there, and I got to know the waitstaff and a few of “the regulars” in my community during my visits. It sure beat working home alone on dark wintery days! I always made sure I ordered a meal, to make those endless cups of coffee worthwhile for the server.

    Once I started doing that, it made it easier for me to have lunch and dinner alone in other places, when my husband was out of town.

    Thank you for the great reminder.

  10. Suzanne Fluhr says:

    I’ve always been willing to go out to a restaurant, museum or concert alone. Sometimes I chat with people around me, but if not, that’s OK too. I enjoy having my husband along, but don’t feel the need to drag him along to an experience I don’t think will appeal to him. I’m also often a “trailing spouse” on our travels and if I weren’t willing to go out alone,I’d spend a lot of time sitting in a hotel room alone.

  11. jason says:

    Great post, I went alone to a tennis tournament last week. I was very nervous but I met a few people and had some pretty good conversations. A few other people where alone also so it was not so bad. I am very shy and dont like to be around people, but im obsessed with tennis for some reason and I had to go watch the pros. One older guy was sitting in the corner by himself with a blanket over his legs watching tennis. He must be a tennis junkie also. I do feel that some people there thought i was weird, but o well. Not everyone will like you (im just now learning this). I agree, doing things alone makes you stronger.

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