A Co-Dependent’s Guide On How To Go Places Alone


I am bad at doing things alone. Like, really bad. I’ve spent about a third of my life in relationships (sad, I know) and therefore have usually had a date to most things. And when I haven’t had a date, I’ve had friends to come with me, but in case you forgot, I moved and have very few friends so this is difficult at the moment. But on the bright side, it’s forcing me to learn how to go places alone, and that is a life skill everyone should develop (although I’m pretty sure everybody else developed it like a decade before me).

Over the past few weeks, I have gone most places on my own. Fortunately, I have an awesome housemate and a couple of new friends, so I haven’t just been wallowing away in my room feeling sorry for myself (though actually, I totally have done that for the past few days due to sickness) and whatnot. But with new friends, it’s easy to ask them to go out to a show or hang out at a bar or come to a party; it’s less easy to invite them to go shopping for skin cleansers or to the grocery store, as I used to do with my friends all the time (errands + bonding = productive fun!). And going to events that I doubt they’ll be interested in? I just feel silly and terrified of rejection, so I don’t ask and just go alone.

I was a poetry major in college — yes, I know — and one of the main reasons I moved to Portland was to see what living in a place that has a heavy poetry scene is like (hint: it’s a lot of cuffed jeans and beanies and kind of hot people). There have been a few events I’ve wanted to go to, but have been too afraid because I hate doing things like that alone, though I don’t want to ask anybody I’ve met because generally, most non-poet folks don’t really feel like listening to a bunch of people read for 2 hours. But after getting ready numerous evenings only to decide against leaving the house, I finally sucked it up and went to one. And it wasn’t bad at all! A little awkward, yes, but I am glad I did it nonetheless.

So, for those of you who are also a little socially inept when it comes to doing stuff with a lack of accompaniment, here are a few brief tips on how to go places alone.

Photo: The Mary Tyler Moore Show

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    • Lastango

      Why use going places alone as a stopgap until you can find enough pals?

      Maybe that’s your style. Fair enough, we’re all different. But, could it be just a habit? One that has grown to the point where everyday shopping seems odd if there’s no friend along?

      How about this as a possibility: use your move to wean yourself off of all that incessant companionship-lite, and see how you feel. That might mean leaving your cellphone home, turning it off at times, and otherwise making sure you aren’t caring&sharing 24/7. Carve out big chunks of you-time.

      Anyway, just a thought. If it works out, you wouldn’t need such a crowd of buddies. Granted I’m not there to see, but keeping a big gang on tap, and coordinating all those togetherness experiences, sounds like a time-consuming maintenance chore. What if more of your life was reserved for you?

      • Samantha_Escobar

        What? No, I never said that this was until I had found more friends. I’m saying I’m learning to do it in general. I shop alone constantly; I just find it more fun with other people.

      • Lastango

        Good on you for getting out of your comfort zone.

        But what’s up with your swat at me? Am I making this up out of thin air? You just finished writing an entire post about the plan you’ve made to get out and meet new friends in your new city, and telling us you’ll report later on how it worked!


        “I never said that this was until I had found more friends.”

        You never said it wasn’t. In three of your tips (which I liked, by the way), you talk about taking steps to meet new people when you go out alone. You’re the one calling yourself a “co-dependent”. And I’ve never in my life met anyone who arranges to go grocery shopping with friends because it’s more fun — though that does make me wonder if there are some activities I could share with others that I don’t now, probably just because I never have.

      • Becca Ross

        Swat? What swat? I never noticed one.

        To be fair, if there was a swat, it may be because you jumped on her for experiencing life differently than you?

      • Lastango

        Samantha edited her own comment, removing a sentence, after I made the comment you’re responding to. But I don’t mind — I’m all in favor of civility, and I like her material. There are times I’d like to soften or clarify my own thoughts too if I could. Or just re-write because I didn’t say something well.

    • http://twitter.com/NikkiWZPL Nikki Reed

      Good stuff! As a very social person (who likes having someone to tag along) I like to dare myself to do things alone. Movies when no one wants to go, work events, stuff like that. It’s not always easy to do so those suggestions are great. :)

      • Samantha_Escobar

        Thanks! Going to movies alone is always kinda nice because you don’t have to bother worrying about the other person talking (which is my biggest peeve) or having their phone on, but work events and stuff like that are harder for me.

    • MR

      When I lived in South America the first time, I was ramping up on another language too, and nobody spoke English which was good as far as the ramping up was concerned. Ironically the first real friend I had was French who spoke some English, but was fluent in Spanish. Anyways through him I met this local guy and he introduced me to Marta who also spoke no English. Marta took me into her bohemian clique and the rest is history. Then about a year later, my place got robbed so I moved, and another friend helped me rent a room for a Uraguyaun woman, and this opened up another whole social network. Though I continued to mix with Marta and her friends too. As you proceed your network is just going to grow.

      • MR

        Bad typo. Yeah, Isabel would be pissed. She was in exile, but was soon to be finally going home (she left in early September ’85) – and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to get another 90 day extension on my visa. So we had the same limited housing need timeline. She did introduce me to some Chileans along the way, one actually knew Allende. As it was, I don’t think they got to go home til the ’90s.

    • Joey

      When I first started venturing out on my own it felt strange… I felt
      like a weirdo but eventually I got over the feeling and now I actually enjoy certain venues so much more when I’m alone. Its just more normal for me now and I couldn’t picture myself having to call someone to enjoy going somewhere new.