Going It Alone

I am a twin.  I am introverted and in most social situations very shy.  I have had more than my share of low self esteem and self doubt.  I am a homebody who likes solo activities like reading and writing.

And yet I’ve made a discovery that I wish every shy, scared, timid woman would learn.  Something that changed me and my approach to life so drastically I hardly remember being shy.

Quite simply, I started going out alone.  Completely, totally, 100% alone.  I never would have considered eating out alone.  If I wanted dinner and didn’t want to cook I’d order takeout.  If I wanted to go to the movies or see a show I’d wait until I had someone to go with (or not go).

Then I met someone.  He was the most outgoing person I had ever met.  He would go on vacation alone, hang out in bars and talk to anyone, everyone.  We met online and the first night we met we stopped to get gas and he met someone at the gas station.  He made me realize that there was nothing wrong with doing things alone.  Without knowing it he taught me how.

The night we met we talked to more people than I’d met since I’d moved to FL.  After that one night I decided to try it on my own.  I started someplace safe – the bar at Chilis.  I sat at the bar, ordered a drink and some chips.  I talked to the bartender.  I didn’t meet anyone that night but I realized it wasn’t that hard.  It gave me the confidence to try again.

One night I was at the beach for sunset and drove by a bar.  Noticing that there were a lot of cars in the parking lot I took a deep breath and pulled in.  It was nerve wracking.  I had never been to this bar before, never mind going in alone.  I paused at the door and listened to the music being piped through the speakers.  Somehow that reassured me and I went in.  I quickly found an empty seat at the bar and sat down.  Someone was playing a guitar and singing so I ordered a drink and focused on him.  I didn’t meet anyone that night but I suddenly realized that I was actually enjoying myself.

The next night I found myself back at the beach for sunset and went back to the same bar.  I walked in a little more confidently.  I looked at the people around me more.  I made eye contact and smiled.  And someone came over to talk to me.  We talked for a while, he bought me a drink, and then someone else came up to talk to me.  I spent a couple hours there, talking to people, listening to music and in general having a great time.

I started going there once a week, sometimes more.  I found that about half the time I would meet someone, the other half of the time I would enjoy the music.  Some nights I would show up and they would have a football game playing instead of music so I left after a quick drink (although these might have actually been good nights to meet someone).

Many things happened once I started doing this.  I built self confidence.  I stood a little taller, smiled more and made eye contact more often.  I learned how to hold a conversation with a complete stranger which came in handy when I got into online dating.  My self esteem improved.  Only good came of this.  I had been so worried about being out alone – and nothing bad happened at all.  Not everyone I talked to ended up being someone I wanted to spend more time with, but each of them helped me in a way.

There is more to me than being a single mom.  I started to realize that I could be a good mother and discover who I was as an individual at the same time.

If you have never gone out alone I challenge you to spend 1 hour alone in a bar.  That’s it, no more.  Then let us know how it went in the comments.

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