I got incredibly fed up with needing company.
I started feeling like this after the many headaches I got from trying to make plans with people. The amount of energy it takes to coordinate a couple of humans to be in one place, at a certain time, on a certain day, is incredibly hard. Specially when you live in a place like LA, where everyone is always doing something, and events are happening from Monday to Sunday night.
Planning is excruciating, and for better or worse, I am the type who hates wasting a sunny day. The minute I see sunshine out of the window staying in feels incredibly disrespectful to mother nature. So, instinctively, I try to plan fun day-time activities. On one of these sunny days, I started noticing a certain trait of mine. A trait that hated being unaccompanied. I realized for most of my life I always felt the need to have company everywhere I went. My logic was: “Being accompanied is always better”. However, my logic was proven wrong by a couple stinkers who made me want to text my mom so she could call me with an “emergency” (don’t judge: you’ve done this before).
Little by little I realized I was maybe, kind of, sort of, afraid of being alone. This was only related to friendships though. I realized I never really cared about being single, but that was probably because I was very young. Yet, I always felt the need to have friends around me. The more I got older, the most I started to detest this kind of codependency. I really disliked wanting to go out and feeling like I had to invite someone because I couldn’t go by myself.
So, I started asking myself questions and I got stuck on one in particular — Alex, why don’t you want to hang out with yourself?
I automatically felt my stomach drop and I knew I owned an apology to me from me. It sounds weird, but it is a beautiful and awakening time when you finally see how bad you have treated yourself and you actually feel bad, ashamed, and quite disturbed.
Was I not fun enough for myself?
Was I not good company?
Did I not find myself interesting?
These questions hunted me for a couple of weeks. Then, I started thinking back on my ex friendships and relationships. Did I come off as clingy? Maybe even a little needy? After many reads, I found a read that would change my life forever. This article talked about loneliness and the lack of self-love, and in one of their paragraphs it said “many relationship experts say that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself — and that you have to enjoy your own company before someone else can appreciate your company, too”. I now really needed to prove myself I was good enough for myself.
This was a difficult process that turned out to be incredibly fun for several reasons…
- Free Drinks anyone?
Always know once that bartender sees you sitting alone, he is cursing that jerk who stood you up. And as an attempt to make you feel better, he will hand you a drink. The first couple of times I was so embarrassed to be out alone that I felt the need to clarify I didn’t get stood up. However, as I saw free drinks, I zipped my mouth shut and threw the key out.
Lesson: Let the world think whatever they want, and let them and spoil you.
2. Mama was wrong when she said “Don’t talk to strangers”
If you take yourself to lunch or dinner, sit at the bar. I like this because there is no one in front of me, and when people pass by they don’t give you the famous “Aw, what’s a pretty girl like you seating alone!” look. At some point, you will meet someone with whom you’ll have a great conversation with. This doesn’t have to be romantic at all. You will see that “making new friends comes with the territory” as well. Some of the best conversations I’ve had have been with complete strangers. The great thing is, they don’t know you, so you can literally recreate yourself into who you really want to be. You learn so much about whom you truly want to become when a stranger asks you: “What’s your story?”
Lesson: Everyone is lost, in a good or bad way, you’re just another fish swimming.
3. Huge middle finger to Loneliness
Yes, I have felt lonely before. I thought I didn’t have enough friends, but now I know I didn’t see myself as a friend. Taking yourself on a date shows you how you can never be lonely if you have you. Ironically, all those traits you always look for in friends (maybe loyalty, humor, ambition, kindness) you already have them in the friend you have in yourself. It sounds like a labyrinth, I know, but just know you are that perfect friend you are currently looking for or have been looking for as long as you can remember.
Lesson: Imagine having a friend who liked everything you like — the same music, the same pizza, the same tv shows, the same drinks, the same food, the same books, the same sports. Imagine having a friend who knew when you were sad, happy, angry, confused, stressed. Or, that friend who will sing along with you in the car to the Spice Girls. That is the friend you have in you.
4. You are enough for You
… and that is all that matters. If you have you, you will never be alone. I am not saying you should go on and isolate yourself from the world. Isolation does lead to depression. But you should not feel like you cannot go on with your plans because your friends weren’t able to make it. Go and make them regret they said no to you.
Lesson: when all your friends are busy, you always have one friend who is always free for you — You.
5. “I totally feel like Gal Gadot right now”
This is one of my favorite side-effects of taking myself out. When you are free to choose the restaurant, the food, the music, and the conversation, that’s an incredible amount of freedom. In addition, taking yourself out and paying for yourself is incredibly empowering. When you go on a date with yourself, “you and you alone are responsible for all the money you spend“. Money is a big one, since women are so used to getting free dinner/drinks on dates. Knowing you are responsible for your own finances makes you grow up extremely fast. This is what I call a total “Wonder-Woman moment” or “WWM”.
Lesson: Being alone and being lonely are too different things.
These were some of the results of my “Take yourself on a date” project. The goal with this experiment is for you to be able to feel happy with or without your other friends. The goal is to understand you have everything you need, want, and dream about, in you. It is hard, and you might feel like you are ridiculing yourself, specially sitting at the bar by yourself, but if you don’t like hanging out with yourself, what makes you think other people do?
Written by: Alexandra Checa
Follow at: alexxandracheca