How do people learn to have fun by themselves?
November 20, 2012 9:06 PM   Subscribe

How do people learn to do things alone? Is it normal to be anxious about going places and doing things on your own?

Doing things (pretty much anything) alone gives me a lot of anxiety. Somewhere along the line I seem to have developed a complex about being stared at or judged that makes it difficult to do a lot of things on my own. I've traveled quite a bit by myself so it clearly hasn't been entirely disabling, but it has made even things like sitting at a coffeeshop alone (which I've never been able to do) or taking bus rides to places unnecessarily challenging. I'm right in between an introvert and an extrovert, so it's not even that I don't like other people or am particularly bad at social interaction, but I strongly prefer to go places with at least one person I know and will generally sit at home freaking out about theoretical judgement from others for a frustratingly long time rather than just go out and deal with it. Is this at least on the spectrum of normal? How are some people able to just go out and sit in places or attend events by themselves without feeling weird and how do I get myself to be like that?
(sorry if there's a similar question I've missed, it's late and my brain is finals-fried!)
posted by Papagayo to Human Relations (29 answers total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
When you feel anxious about what people may be thinking about you, remember this - people are generally so self-involved, that they don't notice you or judge you. Your likeness, in a cafe, on a bus or elsewhere, is only part of the decor.

Go about your affairs without fears, your alone-ness is not being noticed.
posted by seawallrunner at 9:19 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think it's pretty normal - I know I feel weird about going to restaurants by myself, that sort of thing. But if you look around you'll notice there are other people alone too! So that can help: I'm not the only person who goes out for ramen all by myself, I'm not the only person who comes to this coffee shop with a book, etc. And - hey - I've never even noticed other people out alone so I bet other people aren't noticing me either.
posted by Lady Li at 9:22 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

How to be alone.

posted by John Cohen at 9:24 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

What do you think when you see people out by themselves? If you even notice, it sounds like you're thinking, "Wow, that person is brave and self-assured!" and not "Wow, that person is a loser."

So's everybody else who happens to notice.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:24 PM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]

If you notice someone looking at you, they're probably thinking something along the lines of 'nice jacket' or 'that reminds me, I need to go to the library,' rather than, "holy wow, an alone person!"

Truly. Most people are not even seeing you, which generates a different sort of anxiety all together.

Not being willing to do things alone means you'd miss out on a lot of wonderful experiences in your life. You get past feeling weird about it by focusing on the enjoyment rather than the anxiety.
posted by faineant at 9:31 PM on November 20, 2012 [5 favorites]

I used to be you. I never went anywhere by myself because I knew, I just knew, that people were staring and judging me. I nearly became agoraphobic because of that fear. Seriously, there was a period of time where I nearly ran out of anything edible in my house between grocery runs because I couldn't bring myself to go to the grocery store without someone with me. That was in my late twenties and early thirties.

Then I realized that, as seawallrunner mentioned, that most people hardly even noticed me, let alone that I was alone. No one cared. The only time people notice a person in a crowd is if they are extremely different from everyone else in the crowd (purple hair, weird clothing, blaring music, unusually beautiful or unusually unattractive, etc...), otherwise, you're probably a blip in their day. Hardly seen and quickly forgotten.

What made me realize this was my twin calling me "so self-centered to believe that strangers have the time to care about what you're doing." She was being insulting, of course, but it did make me wake up and look around to see the truth behind the insult. They really don't care, and those that do don't matter. Once I realized this (and once you realize it) life is much much more enjoyable.
posted by patheral at 9:37 PM on November 20, 2012 [14 favorites]

First of all, no one is noticing or caring. And even if they were, why do you care? They're strangers so their opinion doesn't matter. I work in a restaurant and people come in by themselves all the time. No one bats an eye, no one makes any funny remarks under their breath because being alone is neither weird or out of the ordinary.

I think sometimes when people fear something, it's something that they are projecting onto other people so therefore, they fear other people are treating them the same way. Do you negatively judge people who are by themselves? If so, why?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:45 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

and will generally sit at home freaking out about theoretical judgement from others for a frustratingly long time rather than just go out and deal with it. Is this at least on the spectrum of normal?

Sitting at home freaking out about a routine event (going somewhere on your own) is not normal, no. It's on the spectrum of "things people do" but it isn't healthy and it isn't how most people are approaching their world and it is something I would seek help for. Anxiety is very treatable!

How are some people able to just go out and sit in places or attend events by themselves without feeling weird and how do I get myself to be like that?

Speaking only for myself, I don't make up theoretical judgements from others. I don't make them, and I don't assume other people do. If they happen to, their internal thoughts are of absolutely no consequence to me.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:13 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was like this and I think it's pretty normal, but I had to deal with it when traveling alone for work for an extended period of time. I got over it by forcing myself despite my anxiety and the more I did it, the less weird I feel. Now I'm pretty much fine with it and can go to dinner and the movies by myself, but it took practice.
posted by hazyjane at 10:16 PM on November 20, 2012

I've sometimes avoided going out and doing tasks by myself, because there's some background noise in my head reminding me that I risk making a mistake of some kind - saying the wrong thing, revealing that I don't know what I'm doing, wasting my time, looking dumb, getting embarrassed somehow, getting lost, making the wrong decision...I could go on. I know that I tend to overestimate risks, but it can be hard to ignore all that noise generated by some part of my brain trying to protect me.

So I have tricks to work around it - I dress in some way that I think makes me look like I know what I'm doing, I ask myself "is it logical to avoid doing x?" (if you're a little fanciful, you might imagine Mr. Spock or some other non-anxious character/person raising an eyebrow and dissecting your excuses in a friendly way), and I remind myself of times when things worked out fine.

It's also gotten easier as I've grown a little older, with more experience. I don't know if the rest of my advice is applicable, but I think this part is true for not just me - the more you manage to do stuff by yourself, the easier it'll get (probably).
posted by dreamyshade at 10:19 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I used to be quite anxious about this as well. The worst one is going to a bar by myself, especially as a woman. I reframed it by calling it "a date with myself." Would *you* want to go out with someone who was so judgmental that he or she saw people who went out by themselves as pathetic? Hell no! So I decided to not be that person and practice over and over again.

Try simple places like coffee shops, then I graduated to things like concerts and lunch at the sushi bar. A few times I've had very nice conversations with people that I wouldn't have met otherwise.

To date I've gone out to bars by myself twice now. Both times were pretty nice. I got to eat and drink whatever I wanted, that was definitely the best part.
posted by so much modern time at 10:34 PM on November 20, 2012

If you're relatively young, (the "finals" was a giveaway), this is actually a developmental stage.

One way this appears is through what is called an imaginary audience. Teenagers think of themselves as always being on stage. They feel as if everyone is looking at them and paying attention to everything that they do, say, and wear. This makes them extremely self-conscious. They will do anything to avoid embarrassment and are also very sensitive to public criticism. They are horrified at the slightest comment about their appearance or performance in any area. By being aware of this distorted self-image, we can move more smoothly through our interactions with them.

Have you ever worked in retail? Because I spent three years in retail and I can tell you most people have no idea where they are, what store they're in, what they came in looking for, etc., much less holding and maintaining an opinion about something a stranger is doing. People can miss a lot of things, such as a gorilla walking through a scene, if they're focused on other things, which they usually are.

And even if they did notice you, eyewitness testimony isn't especially reliable, so if they were doing whatever it is you fear (telling all their friends about the weirdo loner?), they'd probably get all the details wrong anyway.

If you're still worried, however, bring a book. Now you are A Person Who Is Reading A Book rather than A Person Who Is Sitting There By Themselves.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:43 PM on November 20, 2012 [10 favorites]

Yes, don't worry about it. I was super scared to go places alone when I moved. Just think, lots of people do things alone, I'm one of them.

I'll nth the book suggestion.

Own it, do something that you like. I went zip-lining by myself once; I met people and it was fun.

Start with a coffeeshop and a book, then maybe a working lunch sitting at a bar, then you can be free. It's great not to feel trapped. Just practice, it's awkward at first it will get easier.

You will do well :)
posted by ibakecake at 10:52 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Buses can be really intimidating if you haven't grown up using them, but they're really not so bad. A lot of people take them alone, on the way to work or to do some errands, so even if people do notice you at all, they're not going to be thinking, "Oh, what a loser." There's a pretty good chance that they'll be alone themselves. To get more comfortable on the bus, I recommend finding one bus route that takes you somewhere convenient and just take that one route for a while. It probably won't take you too long to figure out how everything works, and once you're feeling more confident, you can start branching out. Most importantly you're going to learn after taking the bus a couple of times that no one is paying any attention to you.

Also, if you want to get more comfortable going out and eating by yourself, find a restaurant or coffe shop that you like and start going there fairly regularly by yourself. "Fairly regularly" can mean whatever you want it to mean: once a week, once a month. Whenever you go, be nice to your server and make sure to tip them decently. Even if it's a self-serve coffee shop, drop a bit of change in the tip jar. After a while, they'll start to recognize you, and that helps with not feeling so awkward about being by yourself.

I have found as I get older that somethings are actually more relaxing to do by myself. I like classical music a lot, and not very many of my friends are all that interested in it. So if I go to a concert with a friend, I spend most of the concert worrying that they're not enjoying themselves. Whereas if I go by myself I can just enjoy the music.
posted by colfax at 1:28 AM on November 21, 2012

One thing I'll do from time to time when I feel that bit of anxiety about being alone somewhere is tell myself a little fiction. I'm here alone... because I'm waiting for a friend to join me, and they're late. Because I'm on an important business trip out-of-town, alone. Because I'm on a secret mission and I'm actually observing someone else.

It's a little silly, but it usually gets me over the immediate anxiety and lets me carry on with enjoying whatever it was I came out to do.
posted by festivus at 4:39 AM on November 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

For every theoretical person who will judge you for doing things alone, there's another who will judge you for insecurely needing to always be with others. You don't worry about what those people think, right? Which makes me think that you're attaching negative connotations to people you see by themselves. Get over that way of thinking, and you'll be able to do things alone yourself.

I got used to doing lots of things alone by moving, repeatedly, to cities where I knew no one. You simply have to do things by yourself then, or else you will never leave the house. Once you start, you see how fun it can be.

That said, I don't think you have to do, or enjoy doing, everything alone. If you find that going to, say, concerts or restaurants by yourself is really boring, that's fine. You just have to (well, I assume you want to) get to the point where your actions are not entirely limited by your friends' schedules/locations.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 4:46 AM on November 21, 2012

Seconding a recommendation for the Tanya Davies "How to be Alone" vid in one of the FPPs John Cohen linked to.
posted by penguin pie at 6:03 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you are a young woman, being out in public alone comes with complications that older people and men do not experience. A sadly large percentage of the adult male population in this country makes predatory assumptions about young women who are alone in public. Whether such man act in any way on their assumptions is irrelevant. If you've ever been ogled, whistled at, commented on, or otherwise been made uncomfortable by the attentions of random strange men it can be hard to be alone in public.

If this is part of your problem, whether consciously or unconsciously, it might help you to take a women's self defense class and also to rehearse verbal responses to unwanted attention.
posted by mareli at 6:33 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's completely normal. Practice is the best way to get over it. Start small, somewhere there's a lot of single people. I'm thinking a library may be a perfect place for you to start, as conversation is not encouraged (and bonus, books!). Then maybe a coffeeshop, with the book you got from the library? I still struggle with going to a restaurant by myself, and find lunchtime to be much easier than dinnertime. But yeah, it's completely normal, and one of those things that everyone worries about, but that no one really cares about from the other side, ya know?
posted by csox at 6:35 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think this is not abnormal -- it might not be something everyone experiences, but lots of people do.

There are tons and tons of people who won't go to a movie alone or a concert alone or a restaurant alone. I work on, and it's not uncommon for people to ask if a given restaurant is okay for solo diners -- they want to know that they'll be welcomed, not feel awkward, out of place, etc.

I used to have the same problem with restaurants myself. A couple of instances where hostesses were a little bit smirky when they asked me if it was just me really reinforced my fears. But I've eaten in enough restaurants alone now that I just confidently (even if I'm sometimes faking it) walk up to the host stand and declare that I want a table for one, and if they feel like being snarky, that's on them.

I also find that the ability to buy tickets online is helpful. If I don't have to go up to the movie theater or concert venue box office and request a single ticket for something, there's less opportunity for being or feeling judged.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:01 AM on November 21, 2012

Is it normal to be anxious about going places and doing things on your own?

I've never been, was a solo explorer of my neighborhood (and way beyond) beginning at age 7 -- fortunately, that was a long time ago, before American kids were so relentlessly supervised. However, early on I realized that I was a special case.
posted by Rash at 8:30 AM on November 21, 2012

This question sounds just like something I could have written myself when I started college about five years ago. I'm definitly an introvert though so maybe it was easier for me to take the first step. But I (mostly) conquered my fear by taking baby steps. I found things that felt normal to do alone, like going to the grocery store. I disliked doing that with other people as it was so I added on to that and started going to Target alone. Then I did Christmas shopping alone. Then I felt comfortable doing homework in the cafeteria at lunchtime alone.
I still find having something to do (other than messing around on my phone) a good distraction for me. Reading is what's best for me. Buses are intimidating, I understand. But after riding them a few times with friends I understood the routine and could make it on my own.
I still haven't gone to a movie or performance or fancy dinner or bar on my own, but I have gone to lectures outside of school and fast food places and cafes by myself. The fact that you've done traveling on your own makes this seem less worrisome. You can do it, you just have to take the leap. Challenge yourself to go one new place alone each week. I think this time of year is perfect for that!
posted by missriss89 at 8:45 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just think about it. If everyone is as absorbed in themselves as you are, how are they even going to bother looking at you? Plus its all about acting the part. Stand up straight, look like you own the place and take off. Take earbuds if you think someones going to try to chat you up. Take a good book or magazine when you go out to eat. For me its so much easier going out and about on my own than spending time trying to find people who have time or inclination to run errands with me. Piece of cake, you can do it.
posted by PJMoore at 8:57 AM on November 21, 2012

One of the best advice my mother ever gave me:

"never be afraid to be afraid"

Meaning, just because it causes you anxiety, doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. Always push the limits of your comfort zone, whatever that is.

That, and random strangers really have no opinion about you one way or the that.
posted by Neekee at 9:39 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

It is so normal to be anxious and nervous when going out alone. It takes practice to get over it. I used to panic at the thought of going out somewhere alone, and it would take me a couple of days of mentally preparing myself for me to actually go out and do things by myself. Others already pointed out that no one is looking at you and judging (which is true!), everyone is preoccupied with their lives, and they don't care about who's with someone and who's not. Especially since there are so many people doing things on their own that you are not going to be the only one - there will be so many others like you.

I'll give you some concrete ideas for how to lose the anxiety. These are things that worked for me: Start small. Make a plan/schedule for yourself. Know how long you want to be at each place and how to get from one place to the other, so you won't have to think on the spot if you're already feeling anxious. For example, look up a gallery/movie that you want to see. Look up a cafe that has to-go options not too far away. Look up a nice park close to the cafe. When you have a plan of what you "need" to get done, it turns into more of a "I need to do these things today starting at this time" instead of wondering "should I go to that museum all by myself? Is it going to be weird?" No! You already have a plan. So leave for the museum/movie at 12:30 because you know you need to be there from 1-3. Then you know you need to go to the cafe to grab a sandwich to go - you've got things to do! You're not a weird loner, you need to go pick up food! Then head to the park so you can sit by the pond and eat your sandwich before it gets dark. Then go home. Mission accomplished!

Another thing that helped me was to start going to different yoga studios and different gyms for zumba classes (thanks groupon!). It's scary going to a new place at first, possibly slightly awkward, but it's totally normal to go exercise by yourself. The more you do it, the more "normal" it becomes to go places by yourself, and the less activation energy you need to convince yourself to actually get off your butt and go somewhere. And then when that gets more comfortable, stop at a coffee shop and sit down with a book and drink your coffee after the workout.

Bring a book/magazine/smart phone with you, so you have something to read while you're eating by yourself, it always helps.
posted by at 10:18 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Go to a movie alone sometime. Once you do, you will notice how many other people do it and how relaxing it is.
posted by AppleTurnover at 4:36 PM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Other people don't give a damn about you. When you go and have a coffee alone, you're invisible to most, furniture to some, maybe worth a glance to a few. But nobody give a fuck about you and your coffee. Nobody is evaluating you. Nobody notices your hair or what you're wearing unless you're dressed like Ronald McDonald.

Set up a routine: you go to the same coffee shop at the same time on the same days every week. Take something you like to do (book, pen and paper, laptop) and have a coffee or two while you do what you like to do. Stay as long as you like. It's your world. Occupy it.
posted by pracowity at 2:20 AM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm writing this response sitting alone in a favorite restaurant. I attribute my ability and joy of going out alone to the fact that I'm an only child whose parent often kept company with adults in yacht club (or other socially similar) settings where I had to keep myself entertained accordingly.

Here's the thing...I reason that going out alone (say, when my partner is feeling homebodyish or out of town) is better than forgoing what I would like to do for lack of a partner. I chat up a bartender or peruse AskMefi on my phone, or plainly, people watch.

All in all, remember that people don't care about you sitting alone in a restaurant or movie theater. Human brings are more concerned about how they appear to others than how others appear to them. And to those who would judge you, well...fuck em'.
posted by Asherah at 8:07 PM on November 23, 2012

I'm sure that how I do it is *wrong* or whatever, in that there are times that I just will not go alone to restaurants or movies. The time slot I will not go alone is after six pm on Friday (through Sunday, really, but Saturday night for sure), and this even includes a very warm and friendly vegan restaurant here in Austin, my favorite, where it's perfectly acceptable and laudable etc to just join others. Quite frankly, I would not wish to do that even if I am with someone I am comfortable with, like what if I end up sitting at this table and the people next to me are talking about horoscopes or politics -- now there's a wrist-slitter. Jesus christ.

This has nothing to do with *others*, it has nothing to do with *them* and I know it. These are my fears, they originate in my very own personal, private guts. But I know from past bitter experiences that if I go against my gut on these matters I will not enjoy the meal or movie or whatever. Plus there's plenty of other things to do, things which I'm perfectly happy with.

Coffee shops, with a book or a laptop. Perfect. I'm completely at ease, esp with a laptop -- I disappear into that screen and I'm gone gone gone, particularly if I'm writing. I love that. And how could anyone write when someone else is around? It's great. A book is fine, too, but no way I'm going to read just anything, but I've usually something interesting to read stuffed into my pack, so all's well, generally speaking.

Museums. Sure, I love to go with someone else but I'm perfectly happy to go by myself, too; I get caught in the energy of the art and I'm off almost immediately, I'm in Disneyland, I'm happy as a lark, festive even. Okay, *maybe not* festive. But maybe. Also, occurs to me as I write that I've gone to movie series that are held in museums and not given a rats ass what night it was and I'm sure I'd still be there, just that there's not as much of that here in Austin as there is in Houston, where I went to loads of great flicks. I just pretty much trust art museum people, who cares what night it is. Fun.

Buses? No problem, but I'm a guy and a tall one to boot, so probably I'm not getting any of the flack you get, and I'm sorry you have to deal with that, if that's what it is that's got you down on riding buses. I actually sortof love to ride them, some of the very best people watching anywhere; I leave my sunglasses on and they're big glasses anyways, sport glasses for riding that bicycle, and I can look at my fellow citizens, in their natural habitat. I swear to you, a few weeks ago there was a blue collar guy, maybe mid-50s but not a Sharon Stone mid- 50s if you catch my drift, he was a blue-collar mid 50s, and the guy is *knitting* this huge ... Afghan?

Ha! Yep, google just confirmed that it's called an Afghan.

So anyways, this guy is knitting this big honkin' Afghan -- really, this thing is huge -- and it's the dorkiest colors you can imagine, like fluorescent or some such, two different colors and both of them completely insane -- what a trip!

And then here's these two Hispanic women, and I'd bet big bucks they're sisters, and one of them has two toddlers, one in her lap and one in a stroller, South Austin women, you couldn't cast them better, the one without the kid in her lap holding the diaper bag, etc and etc. You wanna see family values -- here's family values. I love 'em.

I could go on but I'm not going to inflict any more on you,, just leave your sunglasses on and watch the show, is all.

A bike ride can be just as much fun or more, really -- get a good mp3 player, cue up some jammin' music, turn the volume on 11 and off you go. Hurray! I've got some songs that are just perfect for it, music that makes me want to go full-out no matter what. It makes me so happy. Lately I've been all super into Alabama Shakes, playing the shit out of that record and loving it so much but fact is that I'm all over the map,, the music just has to light me up is all.

Metafilter meetups are the worst, or maybe not the worst but hard hard hard; I went to one a few months ago and wanted to choke myself the entire time I sat there, woodenly, shaken, sweaty, lost at sea. There's all these Metafilter stars there, and I don't remember a thing I said, it's one of those things where I just say anything, blurt whatever it is that pops into my head, and then I sit there, stunned by my lameness, scratching myself. I'm pretty sure that my finger was elbow deep in my nose the whole time but I can't really say; it's all a blur. Again, not *them* I know -- me. Gawd. It's a big job, this being me thing. Difficult. Very annoying.

One thing that we are so blase about is the fact that we can sit, any day any time, with some of the most brilliant minds that have ever lived. I'm talking of course about speaker tapes. It's a howl to listen to a book written by Bill Bryson narrated to you as you walk, or ride on the bus, or sit in the park. Maybe you're interested in meditation. There's a million trillion billion tapes out there, from the most common sense nuts-and-bolts approach to chakras and kundalini and god knows whatever else -- you want it, it's out there. Or maybe you're interested in physics, right? You're covered, it's out there. It's like even though you're alone you're also not alone, you are sitting with these super-cool people, you get to hang out with Mark Twain or Charles Dickens -- I've a tradition of reading A Christmas Carol every Christmas, as I wrote this here it occurred to me that I can almost certainly have someone with a great voice read it to me, I can put on a sweater, go to the park, listen to it and scratch myself.

I love Barbara Kingsolver, The Lucana is poetry, she can turn a sentence in the most beautiful way, what a pleasure to have it read to me. I just went and checked and I'll be damned if The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton hasn't been put out by Audible, unabridged; I'm' going to have to get it; a beautifully, beautifully written dark, dark book, an all time favorite of mine. See, you think I'm sitting over here alone, but fact is that I'm over here transfixed behind my sunglasses and headphones, happy as can be. (Or not happy, especially, while listening to The Book of Ruth, except that it's poetry, a sad story writ beautifully.)

I've traveled considerably, a lot of it alone, and I've had very good experience with it. I've learned to stay in hostels, for a few reasons, one of the main ones is that there are plenty of other solo travelers there, I'll sit in a lobby or den or whatever, mostly with my laptop or a book, and just see what happens. As at home, no way would I go to a restaurant after six, esp on weekends, and yeah I know it's me and blah blah blah but that's what it is for me. But I'm perfectly content to do the museums or whatever it is; I have had wonderful trips to Chicago, and then San Francisco, too, such a spectacular city. Plus, twice I've run into an Austin friend, just called him to say hi when I was on a bus downtown SF and damned if he wasn't in SF also -- very cool. He's a painter, one of those times he had an opening that I got to go to with him, not to mention his sister was there, too, and she's smokin' hot, I've been crushing on her forever, it was fun.

Ah, there's this -- travel is, or can be, tiring any-old-ways, but I think on my own I get worn down faster. No doubt about it -- being with another is supportive, you can lean upon each others strengths and cover weaknesses, etc and etc. Alone, I've found myself sitting in a social area in a hostel, feeling somehow that I *should* be social or whatever, but fact is that rest is important. I can rest right there (for example in front of that fireplace at the Fort Mason hostel in SF, which I cannot recommend highly enough) I can rest right there by being there but sitting back, in my heart sortof, or in my head -- hard to articulate but it's a useful skill. And I don't always notice that I'm tired, sometimes when I'm tired I'm too tired to notice I'm tired. Time to sit back.

So what do I want to tell you, how to do what you wish. Start with coffee shops and a laptop. That's an easy one -- you can read metafilter in a coffee shop same as you can at home. A bike ride, also easy, esp if you get sucked into the music and the ride. A park, with a book, and a bottle of soda or whatever, maybe a thermos of tea, a sunny afternoon. Try a museum, art if art blows your skirt up, or history or whatever it is you like, maybe your local city has an aquarium -- you're paying the tax dollars for it, go check it out, right? Movies, start with weekend afternoons -- you'll see a lot of us there, plus if you get moving early enough to go to the first showing it's often cheap as a cup of starbux latte or what-have-you.

I encourage you to go. Life is too short to wait all the time for the perfect scenario.

Have fun!
posted by dancestoblue at 8:46 PM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

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