One of the more difficult parts of Single life for me is arriving somewhere alone.
I hate it.
There’s something quite terrifying about those first few moments when I don’t yet know where I am going to connect or fit in. Arriving alone is a vulnerable, breath-holding experience.
There was one time when I arrived at an event that was already underway. I walked around the room and there were multiple conversations happening and none of them broke from their interactions to connect with me. So I just walked back out again! It was an intensely dramatic and reactive thing to do. But I just didn’t feel emotionally strong enough to take any further ‘rejection’, so I bravely ran away.
Arriving alone makes me feel very exposed. Even as a socially competent person, I feel a little adrift without the ‘fallback’ of a partner to talk to when other options aren’t available – or even to stand awkwardly beside while they are in a conversation.
I don’t remember feeling this way when I had a partner and attended events on my own. I suspect that was because it wasn’t an always thing and I was less self-protective or sensitive. Or perhaps now the contrast of the two experiences (arriving together or alone) makes the alone feelings more pronounced, I’m not sure.
Arriving with others sets up a different posture of expectation and confidence that changes events markedly. The prospect of a party, a church service, a family gathering and all manner of events or get-togethers, is dramatically altered by the knowledge that those awkward arrival moments will be somewhat alleviated by the company.
An invitation to drive together, meet out the front or save a seat for someone arriving alone can go a long way.
It may seem like a trivial thing, but I often think that if I – in my extroverted, outgoing-ness – can feel this so acutely that I’ve elected to stay home or arrive extra late … I can’t imagine how others might deal with these feelings.
What about you? Or what about the Singles in your world? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
9 thoughts on “arriving alone ”
So I’m not single, I’m married, but I can strongly relate to this. I go to church and my husband doesn’t. I remember the fear and anxiety of going to my last church the first time, and oh man was I a wreck when I went to the house church alone on Wednesday.
I don’t do much outside of church so those are really my only experiences of it. Now I’m currently living in a new state and have had to plunge into that insanely hard time of getting use to another church.
It’s as if they don’t know what to do with me. I don’t fit in the married category because I’m always without my husband, but I’m not single either. It’s as if I’m stuck in the middle and neither side fully wants me.
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I find that the common perception of people is that we all should be married. So if you are single then there is obviously something wrong with you and therefore it will be too hard to talk to you because I do not have time for you problems. I was free from craving a partner when I read Corinthians through the lenses of “It is ok to be single”. I also find it difficult after church and when I attend functions so I walk in as if I own the place and as if I have done it a million times before. I am over feeling guilty, its not my problem.
I love the issues you raise Kim for two reasons. Firstly you show us that we are not the only ones who feel this way and secondly, I hope it touches the heart of couples to understand what is is to be single.
I’m a person who usually arrives early, so grab my seat, find someone to talk to until church starts. But often still end up sitting alone because no-one chooses the seats beside me.
I love being on my own. I am not afraid of silence and so do not need to be included in people’s conversations; most people are talking just to fill in the gaps; I love the gaps!!
Ha! That’s an interesting perspective. Do you find that eliminates social fear or do you have other challenges instead?
I am an older single person, never married and I identify with this very strongly. I often will any way of not going to some events rather than walk in alone. It is very hard.
Thanks for sharing that Ann. The boldness required to step into those situations can sometimes be hard to come by, can’t it?