As somebody who reviews all the latest movies, I get the same question time and time again: "isn't it weird to go to the movies all by yourself?"

"Not at all," is my general response.

I understand the perceived social stigma of doing an ordinarily communal activity by yourself. I just never personally bought into it. For example, I routinely go to restaurants by myself. I go to bars by myself. And most frequently, I go to movies by my lonesome as well.

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I think a major part of my comfort level with doing such activities alone is quite simple. I'm an only child, so I had to get used to doing a lot by myself. Having no siblings meant I had nobody with whom to share my toys, but I still had to be the driving force behind playing with them. That said, once I was able to drive, I realized that instead of waiting around for another friend to be free, I could just get up and do it myself.

Back to the movies: seeing a movie by yourself is one of life's greatest pleasures, in my opinion. It gives you the opportunity at an experience undistracted by your peers. In addition, it allows you the possibility of paying closer attention to the finer details of a movie than maybe you would if you went with someone else.

On average, I see over 100 movies in theaters in a given year. If I go with somebody to three of those, that's a lot. That's how often I go alone.

But be it a restaurant, a bar, or a movie theater, friends give me the same retort: "I'm afraid people will look at me weird if I go alone."

Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
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Here's a dirty little secret in that department. When out in public, people are so self-absorbed with what they're presently doing that they're likely not even to notice you, unless you're deliberately drawing attention to yourself, of course. Consider this too: how many times have you made a mental note of who was eating or seeing a movie by themselves?

If someone is judging you for doing an activity alone, that says more about them than it does you.

I also understand that my line of work (reviewing movies) is fairly niche. I see almost everything new on a given weekend. I'm willing to bet it would be pretty tough for me to find someone willing to go to the next Saw movie, for example, or the slow-moving Icelandic folktale Lamb.

Because of that, and personal preference, I go alone.

Beyond providing you with a little more insight into the voice you hear everyday, I hope this piece provides somebody like me some encouragement to do that activity they can't find anyone to do with them. The sooner you try it, the more comfortable you find yourself getting with being by yourself. It's a confidence builder. We can't all be subjected to being social 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There is enjoyment to be had by doing things solo. You just have to find out for yourself.

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