Monday, August 6, 2018

How to be alone without feeling lonely

I’m one of those people who cherishes the quiet valleys in a hectic day. It’s great to hang out with a group of friends – share some laughs, a few drinks, bounce off one another’s energy – but sometimes it’s nice to just be alone, and that shouldn’t be a crime.

Sometimes I come home, head still buzzing with who said this and who did that, and I’m relieved to come back to quiet where I can put my mind to rest. Is that sad? Maybe. But it shouldn’t be. It’s time to stop hearing the word ‘alone’ and automatically thinking of grey skies and Adele songs, because the physical state of being alone doesn’t have to mean lonely. It's not just about accepting the time that we spend with ourselves, but celebrating it. 


We’re often thrown into a state of mild panic when faced with being alone, whether it’s as severe as a break-up, or simply a free period where all of our friends are in classes. Whatever it is, it sets us slightly off balance, but why should it? The reality is that most people are too focused on what they’re doing themselves to pay any thought to the fact that you don’t have someone sat across from you at the table. Next time you’re in public – in a library, a coffee shop, on university campus – take a look around and I guarantee that there will be plenty of other people on their own. It really isn’t such a big deal or something to feel ashamed of, and the sooner you see that, the sooner you will feel comfortable with being by yourself.

be productive

Being alone is the perfect time to get things done, because you are less likely to get distracted. And I don’t just mean organising your desk or working on a dissertation, (although those are viable options), but maybe it’s just doing something for you. Starting a book that you’ve been meaning to read, listening to your favourite album on repeat, painting, writing a poem – whatever it is, being alone is the perfect time to pour your heart into something that you’re passionate about.


This probably sounds silly. If anyone knows your mind then it’s going to be you, right? But you’d be surprised. Whether it’s conscious or not, people around us often influence how we act. Maybe we don’t always speak our mind for fear of being controversial, subconsciously rephrasing and editing. And even if we aren’t then our thoughts are still triggered in the first place by whoever we’re with. It’s great to embrace who we are with our friends but it’s also important to know who we are when we’re not. Being alone gives opportunity for our thoughts to wander freely and bloom of their own accord – not because they were prompted by somebody else.


There are a multitude of posts out there listing ways to handle long-distance and keep in touch with loved ones, but this isn’t about being stranded from home comfort. It’s about the quiet moments in between where we have our own space. It’s about taking advantage of our time alone to actually be alone. When we’re being a keyboard warrior in the group-chat or scrolling through an endless stream of status and story updates, our thoughts are just as busy as they would be if we were surrounded by people. Sometimes it’s nice to take a deep breath and sink into the rare moment where we can focus our energy purely on our own thoughts, our own feelings, and our own actions. Enjoy the quiet. Something great might come of it – like this little guy who came over to say hello!

📷 - Simon Roberts

If I’ve come to any realisations over the past few years, it’s that feeling lonely is reflective of the quality of the company that you are in – not the quantity. If you’re in a crowded room full of people who aren’t showing you much kindness then that feeling of isolation can still creep up on you, and the same goes for if you create a mopey atmosphere when you’re by yourself.

It’s just as important – if not more important to be happy on your own as it is to be happy around friends and family. Loved ones are a blessing, but when it’s all said and done, you are your own most reliable comfort. It’s great to be a good friend to the people around you, but try being a good friend to yourself too. Sometimes you need to pick yourself up after a fall, and sometimes you need to give yourself a shoulder to cry on, or a pat on the back.

That’s what friends are for.



  1. Charlotte, you have such wise words for young shoulders! Thank you, you are truly inspirational, so keep up the hard work! You're right, being alone can be a time for reflection and creativity, not negative at all x

    1. Sorry that I have only just seen this comment - thank you so much for your kind words! It really is important to spend time with ourselves and reflect x

  2. Really good read, both inspirational and heartwarming x


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