Survive is the wrong word. (Honestly, I just couldn’t think of anything that summed up the post better). It makes it sound like being out alone is a life threatening thing, which only the thought of it is. Actually doing it can be a piece of cake once you’re used to it. It’s my self confidence that can be a pain in the arse, because some days it makes me feel like I can’t do it, when I know I can.
When I was about 14, I was going to gigs at least twice a month with my friends or my sister. Whenever I’d see someone by themselves in the queue I used to think they were so brave. Like, they left the house and came here to have a good time by themselves? Honestly, it freaked me out a little because damn, I was shy af, so that level of confidence didn’t seem achievable to me.
Then I grew up and somehow managed to push myself into situations that I didn’t think I was capable of. Even the smallest things, scared the hell out of me, like asking to use a changing room in a shop. Bloody hell, the amount of times I’d be too nervous to ask and take home clothes too big and then have to get a friend to return it for me because that was a struggle too.
A lot of things still fill me with anxiety, but I’ve managed to overcome some of my big fears. One of them being going out alone.
Well, it wasn’t like I just went out and literally “faced my fears” and then I was fine. It’s still something I often get nervous about, but I love it at the same time. To the point where I’m going to Prague by myself in less than a week (!!!), which makes me want to scream in both excitement and fear.
It was a very long process of me plucking up the courage to go out out just in my hometown alone, because of worrying what people would think of me, and some days I still struggle with confidence. So I thought I’d share some of the ways I survive going out by myself.
Feel confident before I leave the house
Okay so this is technically something I do before I go out but it definitely helps ease me into it. All us girls know how much more confident you feel when wearing matching underwear. I do my best to feel like that every time I go out, but I especially make the effort when I’ll be out by myself.
I’ll spend a little bit longer on my makeup or wear an extra cute outfit to boost my confidence. I like to look in the mirror and think “hell yeah” – that way I feel more positive about myself and consequently I have less fears.
This took a lot of practice and went against my rule of always being early… Sometimes I can’t help myself and still turn up to places before I need too.
If you’re like me – have to be early, but feel insanely awkward when there’s nothing to do – it’s good to get wherever you need to be at a time comfortable for you.
For me, the only negative about going to a gig by myself is queuing, but I also like to see all the support acts (gotta make the most of it). So I learnt to compromise. Queue for a little while to catch the first band. I add on an extra 10 minutes to whatever time they say the doors open because, let’s face it, they never open when they say they will. And I do my best to get there when the queue is moving or virtually non-existent, so I don’t have to stand around feeling like a lemon.
Time to contradict myself. When I felt comfortable enough to go for a drink by myself, I soon learnt that my “go late” rule only works for gigs. Popping in for a quick drink about 7pm on a Friday is not a good idea when you don’t want to be pushing through a crowd just to get in the door.
Instead I switched to going about 5pm – 6pm. That way I’d get there while it was still a bit quiet and not so overwhelming.
The same applies to going to events in the day. I absolutely adore finding unique clothes at vintage sales, but sometimes they can get a bit busy. Some events offer an early bird ticket, for an extra £1 or so, to get in an hour before general opening times. I think it’s WELL worth it. Not about being uncomfortable this time, this is just to make sure I get the good stuff, hah!
But if you’re not a huge fan of crowds at those kinda events, that might be a good tip for you.
Have a comfort blanket
Even after doing the things I’ve mentioned, I still have moments where I feel anxious. Because of that, I like to have a “go-to” for when I need a bit of help.
My first little comfort was smoking, which I don’t recommend!! I always thought smoking was gross and said I’d never do it. I hadn’t even tried one until I was 18 (I was a good kid) but that was when I started having a few whenever I’d go out with friends. A “social smoker” with the occasional fag before work was all I was.
I could make a pack of 20 last me weeks. But of course, carrying them with me was my safety blanket whenever I needed it when I was out alone and on edge. And that meant that I’d be lighting up one after another until I relaxed, which isn’t the healthiest thing to do.
But the last cigarette I had made me vomit (wow so cool!!) and that’s put me right off again. So for now my comfort is my blog. When I have an anxious moment, I get my phone out and start writing. Even if just for 2 minutes and it’s absolute nonsense, because writing is such an important part of my life, it gives me the boost of confidence I need. Technically a more antisocial alternative but a healthier one at least.
And that’s about it! This was a difficult post to write because it’s really all about personal experiences, so I can’t really give tips that I know 100% work in growing confidence to go out out by yourself, only offer the things that have worked for me.
Hopefully someone will take something useful away from this post though!