In the comments to my last post, someone posted a link to the video "How to Be Alone". One thing I liked about the video was that it talked about doing things alone as a skill anyone can build using small steps (the video suggests starting in the bathroom-- we've all peed alone, haven't we?). I agree that the ability to do things alone is an important one, and not just for single people. I'm not always great at it myself, but I'm hoping that with time, I'll improve. So I wanted to open up a discussion of ridin' solo with my personal reviews of some standard "alone" activities, most of which were mentioned in the video. I'm using two ratings: Enjoyability, where a 10 would be enlightenment or "I'M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!" and a 1 would be watching Youtube videos buffer. And awkwardness/anxiety, where a 1 would be gazing at a sleeping kitten, and a 10 would be nearing a panic attack. So, onward!
Reading a book in the park.
I have a pretty bad memory for books, which might be one of the reasons I feel compelled to write about them. But parks are another story. Being alone is no big deal here, since I find both reading and being outside can make me feel content. Sometimes low-stress activities are the best. Just be sure to pick an engrossing book and a good park for your first time.
Going to movies alone was what convinced me I was the only person in America who saw "Hustle and Flow". It's not as scary as it may seem, because it's dark and you can get absorbed in the movie. The downside is that you don't have anyone to discuss the movie with. If you haven't yet done this, try seeing an early showing of an independent film. The theater will be pretty empty, and there will be other people there by themselves (probably because their friends, like yours, didn't want to see yet another plotless wonder).
The final frontier to some isn't that frightening once you've done it a few times. I mostly just find eating alone to be boring, and it's something I would do out of necessity (ie, I'm out alone and hungry) than for fun. First time? Some restaurants are more amenable to people eating alone than others. Try a somewhat casual place that isn't very crowded. If you were in San Francisco, I would suggest Ananda Fuara at dinner, where I would always see quite a few people eating alone.
Concert, aka "Show".
Enjoyability: 7, but depends on how good the show is.
Awkwardness and boredom during set breaks is the issue here, as well as lack of post-show discussion. But it would be a shame to miss a good show just because no one else is feeling it. Once I went to a show with a friend, and we were standing near a woman who was by herself. During the set breaks, she would take out a small flashlight and read a book about music. I still remember that because whenever I see someone alone and rolling it with, I always think that person's pretty badass. If you're alone and feel awkward, you never know, maybe people are wishing they had your courage.
Going Out Dancing.
This one was in the video, but I've never actually done it. And I can't say I want to. Dance events being a common place to get hit on is just one reason I'd be uncomfortable with this. Sure, if you're dancing in a crowd, no one will know you're alone. But I can't get over a few things that to me, just seem totally unfun alone. Going to a bar also falls into this category.
I know this is a tricky one for a lot of people. Traveling alone has its advantages, but it can also get tedious and there can be safety issues. It will encompass many different situations that you will have to do alone, about which your comfort level will vary. While I've never traveled totally alone for more than 2 days, I've spent some time on trips by myself. My main concern is what to do after dark. During the day, there are always museums and outdoor stuff, which often I enjoy solo. But at night, there's all the stuff I don't like to do alone: Restaurants, bars, dancing, etc. What might help with this is to do advance research for nightlife I wouldn't mind doing, like special movies or museums that are open late (I love me some museums!). There's also the possibility of meeting up with other people in the place you travel to. I've met AVENites in New York and Portland, and I have college friends in some random places. If you're not asexual, there's always Couchsurfers, who according to the website, can act as tour guides even if you don't want to crash on random couches. Also, maybe a friend of a friend could offer to show you around. However...then you wouldn't really be alone anymore.
So what are your reviews? Any awesome alone activities we should try? Or any difficult ones that you want to work up to?