Doing things by yourself = social suicide?

I was having dinner with a couple of friends the other day, when one of them started talking about how stressed he is that he can’t find a way to rearrange his class schedule so that he doesn’t have an hour space in between two classes. (wheww, that was a mouthful.)

An hour!  A measly little hour!!!!

I looked at him in disbelief.

An hour?  Dude, are you serious?  That’s nothiiiing!  I used to have 2, sometimes 3 hours between classes when I was in University back in Miami.  What’s the problem? Go and get a coffee or something?”

He looked at ME in disbelief.

A coffee? By myself?!?  That’s social suicide!  I would never do that!  I’d quicker go wait in my car that have a coffee by myself!”

His reaction reminded me of a time when I was having lunch by myself on the stairs outside of my office.  I like to do that sometimes.  You know, just eat my lunch in peace without having to talk to anyone.  It helps me reflect, it puts me at ease, it gives my mind time to rest and recharge.  (In fact, I like to do a lot of things by myself..I like to travel by myself, I like to shop by myself, I like to work out by myself, I like to get my nails done by myself, I like to blog by myself..sometimes I even like to go out by myself!)  But about 10 minutes or so into my very peaceful and quiet “alone time” lunch, one of my friends came up the stairs and was very distressed to see that I was sitting alone…

Shoo Danielle?  Are you ok?  What’s wrong?  Why are you sitting alone?  Let me come and join you!!”

I explained to her with a huge smile on my face, “Everything is ok!  Really, I’m fine!  I just like to have lunch alone sometimes.”

My friend, being the sweetheart that she is..sat down next to me anyway..

Don’t get me wrong here..I’m not knocking the Lebanese for being overly friendly.  Actually I love that about the Lebanese people.  I’m just saying that I like to be alone sometimes.. 😉  I think it’s a very important part of life,,of living…  But hell, maybe I’m just strange and anti-social?

Which brings me to my next point.  And I know that this isn’t particular to Lebanese society on the whole, but I feel like a lot of people these days don’t like to do anything on their own.  From what I understand about the social scene here in Lebanon, people like to do things in packs..and only in packs..

Embrace and cherish your alone time I say!  There will come a time when you’ll wish you had more of it..

Alone time

Blissfully sweet alone time..

image credit

I hope this is making sense.

Anyway, what do you think?

Do you spend a lot of time by yourself, are you cool with doing things by yourself, or are you always waiting for your friends to make plans before you do something?



Filed under life in Lebanon

30 responses to “Doing things by yourself = social suicide?

  1. Oh, having coffee by yourself is bliss — people watching, dreaming, reading, writing… I do tons of things by myself. It gives you the time to get to know yourself and better appreciate others 🙂

    • Thats the key…”getting to know yourself.” How do you get to know yourself if you’re always surrounded by others and their influence on you? Thanks for the insightful comments, as always mich mich!

  2. Alone time is the best thing in Lebanon, unfortunately it is a common occurrence like your friend where they refuse to go somewhere or do something just because they are not with someone. Might give the invisible “others” something to gossip about.

    I do lots of things alone and enjoy my quiet time…..especially on the weekends.

  3. Great Post! I must admit I find it challenging to go out on my own (I’m working on it though!). Not because I am against the concept, but because I’m just not used to it. I am more used to being surrounded by family, friends, colleagues, or acquaintances. Sometimes you need to spend time alone to reflect on things as you said, and resist being distracted by our social comfort zone.

    • Exactly! You would be amazed how your experience totally changes when you go out alone. You meet people you never would have met otherwise, and see things that you didn’t know were there..I know,,it’s a challenge..but it’s also an adventure..

  4. Oh I cant stress on it enough! Its regeneration time, a few minutes to reflect and put things in perspective. I mean, we all have so much to do and so little time to actually enjoy doing them, we end up caught in some turmoil or sequence of events!

    As Mich stated, it gives time for self understanding and self comprehension. Really valuable stuff!
    I do a lot of things on my own, I demand that actually, I work on it. I write a lot on my own, the music I work on I cannot do when a lot of people are around or when I’m constantly interrupted. These moments actually create amazing results in the end 😉

  5. Wonderful post Dani(may I call you that?) Sometimes your mind needs to take a break and reflect on things.

  6. Caroline

    I completely agree with you. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that this is not an individualistic society, so it is always expected to do things with family or friends. Having been in Montreal for so long, it became hard to balance between the society I had grown up in and the one I was now so much a part of. I began to appreciate alone time, and enjoyed doing activities on my own. And yes I have gone out alone on several occasions, just because I wanted to dance. On the other hand, I always love spending time with loved ones. I think it’s great if you can find that middle ground between the two rather than going to the extreme of either society.

    • You said it perfectly Caroline! Finding the balance, instead of going to the extreme of either society.. Balance is what we all strive for.. now, let’s find it! Ohhhh..Montreal! 😀

  7. I love to spend time alone as well. In my old job i would look for a time the kitchen is empty to have lunch. Somehow this has changed in my current job, where I enjoy the whole communal breakfast scene at 10:00. Still i like my personal space, having my own office, working outside on the besnch in front of the office when things inside get too active… Alone time is sanity time. But I guess you are right, Lebanese are more into spending time in packs and feel that alone time is suicide, still i think going alone is more adventurous and interesting and allows you to enjoy some experiences more.

    • yess! wow, finally someone who gets me..I have to keep checking back about five times a day until the kitchen is free.. !! It’s not so much that I’m anti social as I like to enjoy my meal in peace..especially after a busy day at work, you know?/ Obviously you do!

  8. Liliane

    yeah in Lebanon we have this misconception that when someone is alone it’s the end of the world, I eat alone a lot, my colleagues would always tell me they prefer not to eat at all then to eat alone. suckers 😛 my tummy comes first haha

    yep sick country we live in 😛 I love being alone. People mistake being alone to loneliness, they donno the difference. not sure, but maybe this has to do with the culture we have here, the family and all, and maybe the war affected us in some way.

  9. KM

    I really like going to the supermarket alone & getting groceries, I also enjoy watching dvds alone in my house. do they count?

  10. I’m at the campus library right now. After taking a look around, EVERYONE is studying with SOMEONE. I don’t know how they can concentrate and get anything done. I avoid study groups as much as I can.
    Yes I also like to chill out by myself from time to time, hate those weird looks when I’m sitting alone in some restaurant. I guess hanging out with more friends = more prestige to some people here.

  11. Quark

    One’s desire and willingness to do and experience things alone is a sign of strength, depth of character and personality, and not vice-versa. These days, with the advent of social media as well as the ease, incessant, and instant nature of communication, many have gotten to used to having endless validation through dispersal of their thoughts and actions, as if, if these were not recorded and heard, that means they did not happen. Having the fortitude to embark on an adventure (and I use that word generously) without comfortable companionship is healthy, and experiencing something for one’s own sake, without requiring others to validate the experience, can allow one to gain more purity and insight from the situation, as well as the clarity of mind for more objective and careful analysis.

    ‘Only in quiet waters do thing mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world. ‘ [Hans Margolius]

    There’s nothing wrong with getting away from the ‘noise’ of familiar companionship, and doing something for the sake of doing it, appreciating it for yourself, and thus growing from it. Everyone loves company, but REQUIRING company for all things, and always expecting it, often prevents you from experiencing and enjoying things you otherwise would have, and creates a crippling dependency that has a negative effect on your own development.

    ‘When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death – ourselves’. [Eda LeShan]

  12. When I moved to Texas, I didn’t know anyone and resisted the temptation to look for the Lebanese students at my university (per my mother’s advice). A friend who also made the trip to TX later complained to me about how she couldn’t do a single thing by herself without her Lebanese posse always being involved or asking questions. I may have missed (and still do) the Lebanese connection but got all the independence and autonomy I wanted. Whenever I feel sad or homesick, I walk into the Lebanese produce store and listening to the shop owner ask and nag about when I’ll have children cures me instantly!!

  13. Your post reminded me of a blog post i recently read about a photoshoot involving bloggers, photographed in the dark with nothing but their screens lighting their faces. It says something about the paradox of how lonely blogging is and yet how much it connects people.. pity I can’t seem to find that post again.

    Back to your post, I love that feeling when I close the door to my apartment and it seems as if the world outside has just disappeared. I’m left alone to my thoughts and the humming oh my laptop 🙂
    And I agree there is a misconception in Lebanon that to do something alone, one must be a freak with no friends…

  14. It depends on what it is that Im doing, whether I want to do it alone or not.
    During the week Im with so many different people at uni that weekends are usually ME TIME =) I like doing my nails alone and watching movies alone =)
    Sometimes the lebanesey niceness is a good thing and sometimes it might get a little annoying =p
    Great post danielle!!!!

  15. I love alone time. I thought everyone does 😛 …

    It’s good to know before I go what people accept and don’t. Just so I’m not shocked.

  16. Oh believe me, I absolutely love doing things alone. Your friend is exaggerating, one hour is nothing! Come on. By the time he leaves class and talks to a few people outside and go to his next class it’ll have passed.

    That said though, I’ve been doing A LOT by myself lately. It can be exhausting. 😛

  17. ZouZeta

    I guess it is the best thing… being able to spend time with yourself is great…
    my best ideas come when i am having dinner alone in a restaurant or a coffee somewhere… and i always encounter something new because i have the time to look around and think…

  18. I thought I was the only weird one out there :)Shopping and lunch alone are among my favorite things. I don’t admit that I prefer doing things alone because if I do I get that ” haram antisocial” look, or some might understand it as I would rather go alone than be with them. So I try to squeeze in this time without telling anybody. Imagine how much more difficult it gets when u r married, and working together with your spouse, you can kiss your alone time goodbye!


    yeah ppl tend to forget an individual whos by their selfs are secure and confident to be alone with his or herself…
    if a boy said he couldnt be a lone to be for an hour
    i dont know how id tfeel about that.. then again… whenever i tell my friends i am going out .. on my own.. its like dis belief and they guilt me to an extent that i end up not going out or doing anything a lone…

    anyways .. keep it up..

    (from LA to Beirut)

  20. rain

    it depends on wether the person is introverted or extroverted. usually extroverted people need other people around while introverted rather have a me-time all alone to recharge.
    i like to go out alone, to go to movies alone, to do things alone, to walk alone, eat alone and whatnot =)
    there is nothing wrong with that at all.

  21. Dunia

    I love spending time alone…I even go to some restaurants alone but I think it has alot to do with the fact that I have a loud fun loving family to see every night, if I lived alone I think I would constantly be looking for company during the day 🙂 but its a shame cos when I imagine living in Beirut I imagine wondering its beautiful streets alone, like el hamra on a sunday so peaceful!!

  22. life

    I’m a well educated woman who just got out of a long relationship and i cant help it! im alone and i don’t know what to do or where to go if im alone in beirut, plz advice girls

  23. sara

    Nice article. I agree alone time is great if you’re sick of crowded company all the time. . Etc, but what if your life is made up of being alone? It’s not enjoyable any more then. Also. .. wish you can convince me that it’s ok for a lady to go out alone at night and have people believe she really isn’t going out to be picked up. . Just wants great music and seeing people. Do women go out alone at night? Where is it perfectly Ok?

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