views and thoughts on topics, especially ones pertaining to christianity – with an emphasis on how most christians either ignore or discriminate against unmarried christians – and how christians have turned marriage and parenting into IDOLS and how there is no true support for sexual purity, virginity, or celibacy among christians – this is a blog for me to vent; I seldom permit dissenting views. I don't debate dissenters ————-
We chronically overestimate how much others notice our social faux pas, and underestimate how much fun we’ll have alone
One of the signature pleasures of life in New York City is the freedom to drink alone at a bar or eat alone in a restaurant without needing to worry that anyone’s judging you harshly, because everyone does it.
(I realize it’s harder for women than men to drink solo at bars unbothered – but my female friends agree that it’s easier here than elsewhere, at any rate.)
Yet my tolerance for public solitude has limits: I’d never take a book to the pub on Saturday night, and wouldn’t eat alone in a Michelin-starred restaurant even if I could afford to. I’ve often gone to films alone, but (Link): “taking myself on a date” to a concert or play is inconceivable: that, for some reason, would make me feel like a loser.
I’m not sure there’s much logic behind these subtle distinctions – but, thanks to (Link): a forthcoming study in the Journal of Consumer Research, at least I know I’m not alone in my hang-ups about going out alone.
The research, conducted by Rebecca Ratner and Rebecca Hamilton of the universities of Maryland and Georgetown – which I found via (Link): Science of Us – shows that we’re vastly more comfortable being seen alone doing “utilitarian” things (activities with some clear purpose) than “hedonic” ones (done for sheer pleasure).
Perhaps, for instance, you actively love shopping for shoes, but since there’s another reason to do it – to obtain a pair of shoes – you’re unlikely to fear being observed doing it without others. Whereas when it comes to hedonic pursuits, the researchers note, people “anticipate negative inferences from others about their social connectedness”: they worry that people will assume they could find no friends to accompany them.
… Ratner and Hamilton’s research also shows that we’re bad at predicting how much we’ll enjoy pursuing hedonic activities alone.
In a small experiment, they arranged for students to be interrupted as they walked across campus, alone or with friends, and invited to visit a special art exhibit in the nearby student union. (To encourage participation, everyone was given the chance of winning $250.)
Those stopped alone showed less interest, and predicted they’d enjoy it less.
But once they’d been, they were no less likely to report having enjoyed the experience. If you refrain from fun things because you’re worried they’ll be no fun without friends, the researchers conclude, there’s a good chance you’re justdenying yourself pleasure.
…. The real reason that you shouldn’t refrain from eating or drinking or movie-going or gig-attending alone, then, apart from the fact that you’re more likely to enjoy it than you think, is this: nobody is paying attention.
I could feed you all sorts of peppy, confidence-boosting nonsense about how, in heading out solo, you’re coming across to others as self-assured and psychologically secure, and how they envy you your composure.
But the truth is that they’re too mesmerized by their own thoughts to think much about you either way. That guy two seats away is worrying about his hair. The woman at the corner table is wondering why she ever got married to the man at the corner table. Those three friends over there are each trying to look interested in the others’ anecdotes, while they wait to unleash their own.