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Old 09-25-2012, 07:54 PM
 
1,245 posts, read 1,573,878 times
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Does anybody else struggle with leaving the house alone and going places alone? For instance, I would love to go get a beer at a nice, local bar but I have no one to go with and I can't seem to make myself go alone. While there I think it would be nice to talk to some people but I have no idea how to talk to strangers any more!
Then there is a church that looks interesting and I tell myself that I'll go but when the time comes I can't seem to do it.
How do you make yourself go out in public alone and do things with people when you haven't done it in so long or haven't even done it at all? How do you get over the overwhelming internal resistance?
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Cleverly concealed
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It took some time, but I'm comfortable with leaving the apartment and doing things alone. But it must be something I enjoy, and something to capture my attention. I go bowling alone; it is an activity that keeps me busy. I go to the movies or a sporting event alone; there is something to watch. If I practiced a religion, I could certainly attend church alone too. Bars are different for me. I don't like staring at the bottom of a pint glass. I need to have an activity or something else to keep me occupied.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Windham County, VT
10,703 posts, read 5,182,833 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VX5650 View Post
Does anybody else struggle with leaving the house alone and going places alone?
For me, it's gotten worse with age/experience.
Don't know the origins/duration of how it is for you, though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by VX5650 View Post
For instance, I would love to go get a beer at a nice, local bar but I have no one to go with and I can't seem to make myself go alone. While there I think it would be nice to talk to some people but I have no idea how to talk to strangers any more!
Then there is a church that looks interesting and I tell myself that I'll go but when the time comes I can't seem to do it.
I struggle to find events/destinations that might interest me (to attend). Even then, I struggle mightily-with myself-about going. Many's the time I considered an idea for awhile, only to find it a wholly unrealistic prospect a day or an hour beforehand. Knew I "should" but couldn't "force" myself to. Lots of things may seem appealing hypothetically, "in the future"-but when it comes down to (in the present moment) actually having to take the action....initiating/doing...not so much.
Quote:
Originally Posted by VX5650 View Post
How do you make yourself go out in public alone and do things with people when you haven't done it in so long or haven't even done it at all?
Being able to tolerate social arenas while alone: some people have never really been able to deal with this, while other folks may be experiencing a temporary setback (due to recent life changes) but have a history to fall back on, after an acclimation period.

Surmounting the avoidance (negative self-perpetuating cycle) is no easy thing: not going out because one lacks people to go out with, yet one kinda' has to go out in order to meet people (to go out with), and so on..."A" is a prerequisite for "B", and "B" is a prerequisite for "A"-it's like a psychological Moebius Strip .
A "Catch-22", I guess.

In theory, "socializing" is supposed to get easier, the more you engage in it. However, it *can* be tougher starting off with getting to know new people, compared with maintaining already-existing relationships. In other words, it's hard for some individuals to develop the relationships that will help develop more relationships (be they acquaintances, friends, or whatever). It's all the more difficult if one doesn't manage to meet people-despite having gone out-because that makes it harder to derive what benefit (positive self-perpetuating cycle) going out was intended to provide/confer. Then it's harder to coerce oneself into going back out alone, again & again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by VX5650 View Post
How do you get over the overwhelming internal resistance?
One of the ways I try to cope is by taking a "bargaining" mindset with myself, as in "what would it take for me to go there and do that ?"-and look for something I can promise or treat myself to, a compensatory enjoyment, for "going there and doing that". Something I *don't* have to do, as a reward for doing something that I don't enjoy (going out alone in hopes that doing so will eventually lead to my meeting people with whom to go out, rather than alone).

Suppose an obvious answer-dunno' if it would be an adequate solution-is to join groups online that meet "in-person" offline, then you'd be somewhere with people. (?)

Other posters will likely have more concrete/practical suggestions.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Australia
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I go out alone ALL THE TIME.

Constantly.

I always seem to be at a different stage of life to my friends...when I was having babies, they were partying. When I was divorcing, they were settling down.

I got so sick of waiting for someone to go out with I just started heading out on my own.

Guess what?

You're alone for about 5 minutes. Someone will start talking to you.

I have actually met a bunch of new friends this way, fellow solo flyers who are regulars at the same club, have now become friends, and share my lifestyle and time frame. And I still go out alone because nowdays, I find I prefer it.

No hassles. No moaning about "lets leave, lets not sit here, lets eat/not eat"...just me to please. I can talk or not talk, eat or not eat, leave or stay.

Do it once or twice and I swear you'll be hooked and wonder why you EVER found it an issue.
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:04 AM
 
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First it would help a lot to figure out the reason you don't want to go out alone. It could be many different things. But once you find out the reason, then you or someone else could come up with solutions. And one of those solutions can be that you don't go out by yourself, don't even try (that is the way you are, so live with it).

And finding the reason for this can be difficult if doing it yourself. It is like you are in a box looking out. Hard to see the entire picture. Easier for someone else to talk to you and figure out what is going on (outside looking in). For that find counseling in the yellow pages, then go see a counselor. Some county health departments have low cost counseling.

Anyway one reason you don't want to go out alone might be fear. If that were the case, then fears can be conquered...

And that is by breaking up the task in to several small steps. Take one small step at a time. Each time venture further toward your goal.

So say the goal is to go to a bar by yourself.

Day 1: Inside your house, walk to the front door. That is it, you are done.

Day 2: Walk to the front door, open it, go outside, close it. That is it, you are done. Go back inside.

Day 3: Walk out of house, walk 1/2 way to bar. Stop, turn around and go back home. (Best to not drive to a bar if you are drinking, rather walk or drink soda pop at the bar.)

Day 4: Walk out of house, walk to bar, stop. Do not go inside. Go back home.

Day 5: Walk to the bar, go inside, look around, then go home.

Day 6: Go to bar, sit by yourself, have drink, leave without talking to anyone.

Day 7: Go to bar, have drink, say hi to someone.

Etc.

Try something like that and see if it works...
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
2,727 posts, read 5,500,677 times
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I HATE going certain places alone. I don't mind the grocery store, mall/Target - in fact I prefer to go alone so I can get what I need and leave.

But restaurants/bars, forget it.

I'm shy, first of all. Second, I'm not attractive so I know people always be looking at me and secrectly laughing about the 'ugly chick out alone cuz she can't find anyone to go with her'.

I've never been able to get past it, so many times I just don't go places/do things I want to.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:49 AM
 
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Thanks everybody for these nice responses!

RadioSilence-I can't imagine bowling alone. You are brave! What is interesting is that someone wrote a book a while back about American disconnectedness and it was titled "Bowling Alone." I am not religious either but I noticed that there is a Unitarian church nearby and I'm thinking there may be some interesting people there. Could be some scary people there as well?

Cloven-Mine has gotten worse with age. When I was younger I was quite outgoing but that all vanished with age. I do like the bargaining technique though. That might work. I also like the idea of finding groups online but I'm in a small town. I totally agree about the "catch 22."

MissAnnThrope-That is good that you are able to go out alone like that. You are right, there is nobody there trying to control what you do. However, I can't see people talking to me in 5 minutes time. I'm sort of invisible and I'm a guy so I don't think I will be approached like that. I will probably have to make the effort to talk to strangers.

Billy_J-I have a few reasons. 1. I'm lonely. 2. I would like to learn to "network" with people so we can help each other out with stuff. 3. It would keep me more physically active. I would like to find a group who is into bicycle riding for example. 4. Down the road it could lead to finding another (female)mate. I'm not in any hurry for this one but go out amongst people is a good way to meet women.
I like your idea of the "baby steps" approach. This is actually an excellent idea!

CTGirlNoMore-How do you know that you are unattractive? I don't consider myself attractive or unattractive, just invisible. However, when I am out alone I feel like people are watching everything I do. They aren't and could probably care less about me but I feel really self conscious and that is what I need to get over.


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Old 09-26-2012, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Windham County, VT
10,703 posts, read 5,182,833 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_J View Post
And that is by breaking up the task in to several small steps. Take one small step at a time. Each time venture further toward your goal.

So say the goal is to go to a bar by yourself.

Day 1: Inside your house, walk to the front door. That is it, you are done.

Day 2: Walk to the front door, open it, go outside, close it. That is it, you are done. Go back inside.

Day 3: Walk out of house, walk 1/2 way to bar. Stop, turn around and go back home. (Best to not drive to a bar if you are drinking, rather walk or drink soda pop at the bar.)

Day 4: Walk out of house, walk to bar, stop. Do not go inside. Go back home.

Day 5: Walk to the bar, go inside, look around, then go home.

Day 6: Go to bar, sit by yourself, have drink, leave without talking to anyone.

Day 7: Go to bar, have drink, say hi to someone.

Etc.

Try something like that and see if it works...
Agree with this approach, too-glad it was brought up.
I'll tell myself, "all I have to do is go (this far), then I can turn around & go back home"-and sometimes that's as much as I can do. Other times, I'll bargain with myself to get to the next step/level of the task/destination-I might only make it a little further-or even go all the way there (complete task or reach destination). Gradual & forgiving-of-oneself is a valid method, like dipping one's toe in the pool if one cannot bear diving right in.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Western NY
559 posts, read 1,230,319 times
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I do a lot of things alone that people typically do with others. I see movies alone, I travel alone. There was a church I used to go to alone also.

For me it's the desire not to miss out on things. I was tired of not seeing certain movies in the theater and waiting for the DVD just because no one I knew wanted to see them in the theater. I'm not comfortable going to see a movie alone on a Friday night or Saturday night though, when it's crowded.

I started traveling alone because of my interest in places that others I knew weren't interested in.

The church service that I used to go to alone was Benediction at a Catholic church (I'm not Catholic but I like the service) on Sunday afternoons. There weren't many people in there for that service - maybe 20. There are some other churches that I visited alone once also.

When I travel I eat at sit-down restaurants alone, but I don't do that when I'm at home. When I'm at home I'll eat at a coffee shop or a deli/cafeteria-style place alone. I'm still kind of uncomfortable eating at sit-down restaurants alone.

And I do things alone that people typically do alone - grocery shopping, going to the library and so on.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:52 AM
Status: "Disoriented" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
60,973 posts, read 58,222,584 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VX5650 View Post
Does anybody else struggle with leaving the house alone and going places alone? For instance, I would love to go get a beer at a nice, local bar but I have no one to go with and I can't seem to make myself go alone. While there I think it would be nice to talk to some people but I have no idea how to talk to strangers any more!
Then there is a church that looks interesting and I tell myself that I'll go but when the time comes I can't seem to do it.
How do you make yourself go out in public alone and do things with people when you haven't done it in so long or haven't even done it at all? How do you get over the overwhelming internal resistance?
I do it, and yes, it took a while to get myself to go out and do things alone, but it got easier each time. I still have not been able to go to a local bar and get a drink, though. I would like to, and like you, I have no one I can ask to go with me. Plus, I am a woman in her fifties, and I don't want to be seen as one of those horrible, pathetic, bleached blonde (I don't have bleached blonde hair by the way!) older women you see in bars hanging out until the end of the night waiting for one of the drunks to give them attention. I just want to go out and be amongst people and have a beer or a drink, maybe at happy hour/or after work. I haven't gotten up the nerve to go out and do that yet.

I did find an interesting church when I moved here (short version--moved sixty miles from where I'd lived all my life because of expensive cost of living, but I commute 45 miles to work so I don't get to meet people in the area through work, either). They have a "history weekend" here when all historical sites are open, and I found a pre-revolutionary Episcopal church near where I live. I attended this church for three months. People said hello when I came in, but no one sat near me and then they all disappeared immediately after church. I found out later they had a coffee hour, but no one invited me to join them. And worse, the priest acted every week as if she'd never seen me before and would say "Welcome to our church!" -- almost every week for nearly three months. LOL. I mean, there were only about 40 people in the church, and I am a giant six foot tall + woman with fuzzy hair. REALLY?

Anyway, I left there one day nearly in tears because I obviously didn't belong there, and I decided to try the other, tiny little Episcopal church nearby that I'd passed a few times. So the next week I went there--and it was a whole different story. The people were SO friendly, and welcomed me, and now it's been almost two years and I'm part of them and even on their Vestry (sort of a board of the church.)

Just telling that story to point out that when you attempt to go find people, it might not always work out the way you want it to at first--be persistent, and don't be afraid to change plans if one way doesn't work out.

I've also gotten brave enough to have dinner out by myself. I make sure I go at a time, usually a little earlier than the "rush", when I know I won't be taking a table that they need for multiple-member parties. I even have brought a book, but I've gotten myself a glass of wine and had a nice dinner. Again, there are small obstacles, but I've learned to laugh at them. The 19-year-old or so hostess when I went out for dinner on my own the first time tried to persuade me that "it would be so much more fun" for me to sit at the bar and have dinner so I could watch TV. There were three couples already at the bar, each seated on one side of the three-sided bar. I'd be sitting there obviously alone, with them. Yeah. Fun. Right. I insisted on a table--there were plenty. The waiter did treat me right, though.

I am still looking for new things to do on my own. For example, I live not far from the ocean, and there are sight-seeing cruises offered by boat companies. There is one in October that leaves from here in NJ and goes up the Hudson River to view the fall foliage in New York State. I think I might do that, and I will have to do it by myself. Even though I've made some friends at the church, I still don't always have people I can ask to do things with me that I want to do. I don't have that friend that you call up and say, "hey, let's go have a drink" or "hey, do you want to take a boat cruise today". Most normal people have families or significant others to do things with.

One more idea is to browse through Meetup.com. They have groups for everything. I like to write, and I found a writers group. We meet once a month. That is something I enjoy, and only a few of the group have actually published books (I've had a couple of articles and short stories in obscure literary magazines over the years--definitely can't quit my day job.) But we all like to write and exchange ideas and read one another's work. Meetup has groups for all interests, and most people who show up are there on their own.

Good luck.
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