It’s a well-known fact that I don’t mind being by myself. Alone doesn’t necessarily mean lonely. In facts, introverts don’t usually get bored by themselves, but sometimes we do and want to have another person around. Not too many though, because then things could get out of hand. However, there is no shortage of things to do to occupy our minds when there’s nothing good on our internal radio station. This could be a time to find something active to do, and maybe you’ll need something to do with your hands. In this article, I will talk about some things that a person can do by themselves and be entertained by them. In case you really want to be alone and don’t want anybody to interact with you because if they do you’ll be mean to them, I’ve got some ideas for that too.
Reading on my balcony
Typically, I don’t mind spending time on my own on my activities, but sometimes, due to the nature of my balcony neighbours walk by and will say hello. That’s nice – it’s good to have friendly neighbours. And sometimes, a brief five-minute chat is totally fine (no complaining or gossiping please & thank you). Others will pretend that they’re trying not to pay attention and that they’re not secretly looking out of the corner of their eye to see what I’m doing (or whether I’m really there or not). They may actually be avoiding eye contact, because like me, they are introverts and small talk can be painful. Since I’m sitting there reading my book, I am fully engrossed in my book and despite the noise a neighbour might be making, and I am sooo into reading this book that I “don’t notice” a neighbour is coming by. This way, I avoid small talk when all I want to do is read (and sit outside), and improve my ability to focus when there are distractions. Don’t think I wouldn’t notice a neighbour doing something illegal though, or that after years of living here, I wouldn’t finally learn a neighbour’s name only because I over-heard their friend saying it (patience is a virtue – it saves me having to ask).
If you really want to be alone, draw the curtains closed and turn off the lights. Well, most of the lights. If reading is what you want to do, a small light is okay. You might think that for sure nobody would bother you, but be careful of the ones who think you’re home because your car is there. I go for walks not only because I like walking, but also because it throws people off my trail.
Sitting in a coffee shop not drinking coffee
I do this sometimes; sit in a coffee shop not drinking coffee and some of you know that. I’m not there for the free WiFi, believe it or not. I go for the change of scenery, and because my cat talks so much, I go to where I can tune out noises and drink tea (instead of coffee). Believe it or not, but it’s hard to concentrate in an otherwise silent apartment with a cat meowing at the top of his lungs: “I fed you! I cuddled you! I scooped stinky things out of your “bathroom” What more do you want?!?”
Browsing in a library or bookstore
If you like quiet places, or at least places that are supposed to be quiet, this one is for you. Do you ever get in the synopsis of a book? No? Then try a reading a few more! You might also be surprised by how much time you can kill (and how nobody will talk to you) looking through a library’s DVD collection. Some libraries are busy and therefore a bit noisy, but if they’ve got quiet study spaces, you’re in luck. Nobody will come looking for you until closing time. Unless you’re wanted by the police, then somebody might come sooner than that.
If you really want to be alone, and you have friendly neighbours
Friendly neighbours are great! They’re people you can safely say hello to and have a nice conversation with. You’re probably a friendly introvert, so some neighbours will even knock on your door if they haven’t seen you for a while (I particularly like a neighbour who brings me treats). Let’s say, however, that you’re in such a mood that you really don’t want to talk to or see anyone at all. You need your alone time or bad things might happen. What do you do? I have some tips. Well, just two.
- Don’t answer the door. Listen to music or watch a show on a device while wearing head phones, and you may not even hear the knock. Done.
- Go hide in the bathroom until the knocking stops. Easy.
In case you feel bad about not answering your door when someone knocks, or you simply can’t do it (and you didn’t want to call attention to yourself by putting up a sign that says “leave me alone”), so you answer the door, here are some other ideas:
- Tell them you’ve got something on the stove, and make sure they can’t see the stove.
- Say your cat/ dog/ turtle is calling you.
- Pretend you hear your phone ringing in the other room: “I bet that’s my mom calling, I’d better get it”
- Tell them you have an appointment. Is it 10 o’clock at night? Well, it’s an online meeting, so there.
- Simply tell them you have to go, with no reason given. They might think you’re up to something, but whatever they think that is, it will entertain them for a while because it’s got to be more scandalous than your real-life anyway.
What if you need something to do with your hands while you’re enjoying your alone time? Or if whatever sports game or show you’re watching on TV not very engaging? Play solitaire, and I do mean the card came. When something interesting happens in the sports game or the show you’re “kind of” watching, or a commentator says something interesting, feel free to make your own comment. Have a full-on discussion if you want to. It’s totally healthy normal to talk to yourself. Besides, who is going to hear you or make fun of you anyway? Nobody, because you’re by yourself and you’re loving it.