In my early 20s, my weekend plans validated how I lived my life. My mission was to make every single Saturday them count. If my weekend didn’t involve rolling deep with friends to whatever bar or birthday party or concert was on the agenda, I felt like that my free time somehow “meant less.” I never wanted to spend time alone.
But with age comes wisdom. As I grew out of my party phase and entered my late 20s, I started to realize all the benefits of being alone. In fact, I even looked forward to having alone time.
Nowadays, I relish in my lack of weekend plans and the freedom that comes with being able to spend a full 48 hours however I please. Here are a few ways that life gets better when you learn to love being alone:
1. You feel more energized.
Making conversation can be exhausting, especially when you’re out with a group of people you don’t know very well or you’re screaming back and forth in a crowded bar. Skipping out on that Friday happy hour means having a full night to yourself to recharge your batteries, so you won’t feel so fatigued come Saturday brunch time.
2. You won’t have to compromise.
Think about how long it takes to agree on which bar you’re meeting your friends at, or what restaurant you’re all heading to for dinner.
When you’re flying solo, that hassle doesn’t exist. You can watch whatever your heart desires, and you don’t need to work around anyone’s schedule or food restrictions.
3. You value your relationships more.
When you love being alone, making plans with people means that you’re giving up precious alone time. This can really makes you pick and choose who you want to see. It also makes you aware of who isn’t worth giving up a free Sunday for.
4. Your conversations are better.
Because you’re not just making plans for the sake of making plans, you’ll have more to talk about when you do meet up with people. It’s so much better than when you’ve seen the same girlfriends for the past four days in a row and have nothing new to say.
5. You become more productive.
Scientists linked scheduling time in your life to spend alone to higher productivity. When we let our minds drift off and relax, our brains can recharge. Then, when we’re back to working on our to-do lists, we’re able to tackle everything.
6. You get to know yourself.
You may think you have a solid idea of who you are and what makes you tick. But once you strip away everyone else’s agenda, you’ll get a deeper idea of what you really enjoy doing. You’ll also learn what you tolerate just because everyone else is into it.
Maybe you always tag along with your friends to the latest superhero movie, but when you’re alone, you gravitate toward documentaries. Or you agree to sign up to run a local 5k every year with your buddies, but you’d rather box. Spend more time doing what you love.
7. You feel less judged.
When you throw out suggestions to your friend group, you probably hear some competing opinions. Taking alone time means that you don’t need anyone’s approval to go explore that sculpture park you’ve heard so much about or see that Disney movie you’re “too old for.”
8. You go on better dates.
When you love being alone, the idea of spending a few hours at a bar getting to know a stranger seems pretty ridiculous. If you’re actually going to go through with every plan, you’re not going to say “yes” to just anyone who asks you out.
Of course, you can’t always weed out bad dates. But since you’re being selective about the people to whom you give your free time, you probably have a better chance of having a successful first date.
9. You feel more confident.
You never feel the need to wait for someone to get on board with your plans. This can make you confident about the other decisions you make in life.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself speaking up at work meetings or offering your opinion to higher-ups at your company. When you stop needing validation from others, your confidence skyrockets.
10. You have more freedom.
You stop looking at free time as something you need to fill with plans and people and instead recognize it as time for yourself. Gone is the stress of figuring out who you’re going to spend your Saturday night with.
When you realize the benefits of being alone, you’re not tied down to anyone else’s idea of fun. At the end of the day, you have the freedom to spend your time however you please.