Five Ways to Have Fun Without a Squad

Alison Syrett | January 8, 2016

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#SquadGoals. I said it, read it and rolled my eyes at it on Instagram throughout 2015. I also allowed its Sierra-filtered expectations to permeate deep within the nether of my psyche: Am I having enough fun with my friends? Why don’t we ever make plans at well-lit matcha bars and photograph the evidence of said fun?

But sometimes, all I really want to do is wander Whole Foods alone while eating dried mulberries from the bulk section and leisurely decide between Fuji and Honeycrisp apples. Is that so lame?

No. That, in the spirit of gold fish resolutions and productive goals in general, is the answer I’m sticking with in the new year. I love being alone. Diane von Furstenberg once said, “The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself.” I think she told Whitney Port that.

With her advice in mind, allow me to propose my own idea for 2016: Skip the squad and make a date with yourself. Do this at least once a week. Buy chocolates! Bring flowers! Then put on your special occasion pants and enjoy any of the following scenarios:

1. Go to the Movies Hans Solo

I’m starting my list with this simple task because it seems to scare the most people. But why should it scare you? It’s a lightless room with a giant distraction screen. Not only are the chances of having a conversation in this scenario zilch, but you’ll get screamed at if you try. The whole point is to score the best seat in the house (super easy when you’re alone), stare straight ahead and try not to crinkle the Pirate’s Booty bag you snuck in too loudly. If that’s not a one-woman job then I don’t know what is.

2. Read and Chill

Okay, obviously, yes, the literal act of reading is not a group activity. That said, it far too often becomes this filler thing that happens in-between the main events of your days —half an article on your iPhone while waiting in the grocery store line, five or six pages of a novel on the way to work — rather than a savored treat.

Instead, channel the elusive CCSG, or Cool Coffee Shop Girl. You know her. She’s the one you spot enviously during your 3 p.m. caffeine run, staked out in the corner armchair with a 16oz. something in one hand and a Kindle in the other. Stop wanting to be her and make it happen.

3. Shop in Peace

Want to spend an hour on the shoe floor trying on Prada loafers? (Are you sure those aren’t actually oxfords?) Go for it. Want to spritz every perfume sample until you smell like freshly-mown sugar musk? Why not? Without stressing over a second party getting bored, you can take your sweet ass time trying on every single color cross-body in the handbag department and leave without buying a thing. That is luxury.

4. Your Favorite Restaurant, Table for One

Making this reservation will be easy. Here’s the tough part: treat it like you would any other longstanding appointment with someone you care about. That means fully relishing every bite of your meal — totally fine if that means bringing along a good book, but don’t you dare check your email. Or order dessert to go. Eat it there! Sit back, relax and get in those 20 chews per bite you hear about but never knew existed.

5. Give Yourself a Polished High Five 

AKA, get manicure. And a pedicure. Hello, why not throw one of those 10 minutes shoulder massages in there, too? This is a prime opportunity to completely and utterly let your your brain melt into a mushy puddle of contentment without trying to be a good listener or coming up with witty retorts. Oh, and you’ll get to read all of this month’s magazines for free.

Now it’s your turn: what are your #sologoals?

Photograph by Toiletpaper Magazine for Kenzine Spring 2014. Narcissus by Javier Jaén. Collaged by Krista Anna Lewis.

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  • http://www.looking-glass.ca/ Maria

    Love this! I’ve never been to the movies alone but I actually prefer shopping alone for all the reasons you listed, and eating alone isn’t that bad either.
    I’d also add going for walks alone, either in the city or somewhere in nature.

  • Chantel

    Nice article.

  • Elizabeth Tamkin

    I hate being embarrassed or judged for ordering in (via my homies at Seamless) alone and being alone (by the way, never alone because I have a boyfriend AKA dog). I think yes, being alone all the time and isolating yourself can be bad, even if it is what you’re default preference is. However, being alone is a time to really focus on your self and regroup as one. Ommmmmm.

    • Aydan

      FOR SURE!! There is seriously nothing more centering than going about town on your own. I’m a social creature who also loves my alone time, balance is key!!

      • Alison Syrett

        If comments had emojis, I would use alllll the hands right now! I feel like the best way to be a good friend and family member is to take enough time for myself. That way I can actually focus on our conversations—instead of secretly wondering how long until I can make a polite excuse to go home and make oatmeal in my sweatpants.

  • http://jiji-b.blogspot.pt Joana Sousa

    I’m kind of a loner who is never alone, so this post speaks to my heart. Thank you! Anda I’ve never been to the movies alone…but I must try it. Even if my boyfriend thinks it’s weird. Let’s do it. And shopping alone is THE BEST THING ever!

    Jiji

  • EmilyWilson

    Museums! Anybody else I drag along gets bored too quickly. I like to read every word of every sign. Sometimes, I even like to sit down and write. (A long time ago, I wrote a blog post about museum journaling. It never caught on.) Seriously, with all the art to keep you company and provide inspiration, who needs a squad???

    • Alison Syrett

      I totally agree with you, Emily! I’ve always found museums stressful with other people around because what if I want to stare at the same picture for 10 minutes? Or move up really close and step back, and do it like five times in a row?

    • http://www.adriannagrezak.com Adrianna

      Same here. The Met is open longer on Fridays and I recently went after work and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. There were significantly less tourists and I noticed a lot of people were there by themselves. It’s a specific activity to do on a Friday night so it seemed like the people that were there were there by choice

    • http://cityhabit.wordpress.com Modupe Oloruntoba

      headed to London with my whole family in July, and I’m already planning my solo museum day. I’m going to lose myself in the V&A’s costume department. Can’t wait!

  • Abby

    shopping alone is The Shit

    • Tania

      amen

  • http://madisonmonteze.com/ Madison Hardt

    #sologoals for the win! Going to the movies alone for the first time changed the game. Great article!

  • http://youngsophisticate.com Bee

    I’m definitely this girl. I do all of these alone on a fairly regular basis, particularly the movies. Honestly, I kind of dislike going to the movies NOT alone!

    Briana
    http://youngsophisticate.com

  • http://www.americanheavyweight.com American Heavyweight

    You just planned out my morning for me.

  • http://Medium.com/@hager_emma Emma Hager

    sweet, sweet solitude.

  • http://www.alliesfashionalley.com Allie

    Love these ideas! Solo shopping is the best.

    I think you’ll love my latest blog post: 10 commandments of shoes:

    https://alliesfashionalley.com/2016/01/allies-10-commandments-of-shoes/

    xo

    Allie

  • Leah

    Cinema alone is good, but museums and art galleries alone are the best.

  • http://www.shoppingandsewing.com Amy

    Yes! Going to the movies alone is one of my favorites. Also, solo travel, but that’s obviously not a once-a-week thing (or is it?) It’s so freeing to go somewhere completely on your own, where no one knows you . . .

    • http://cityhabit.wordpress.com Modupe Oloruntoba

      so ready to do this! after my account recovers from the family holiday I am currently saving for 🙂

  • http://theinnerlining.com/ Maia Wilson

    I happen to be a person who really enjoys being alone. Not that I don’t love hanging out with others, but I seem to find a certain rejuvenation when I am by myself. My #Sologoals include:
    1. Going to art museums alone
    2. Roaming the city and stopping at a fun dessert place
    3. Going thrift store shopping or just shopping in general.
    All of these activities you could do with another person, but it’s so much more fun by yourself…TRUST MEEE
    theinnerlining.com

  • dk

    This sentiment is so true. We have to be A O.K. with being alone.
    I don’t mind going to the movies alone. It’s great. Just think of all the movies you could see, but wouldn’t because you’re sans friend.
    Every Sunday I put on a podcast and go for a long walk. Do people stare? Yes. Do I care? Sometimes, to be honest, but f*ck’em.
    But I am so scared of sitting down alone somewhere (that isn’t an airport restaurant) and enjoyng time by myself. I’d like to push myself this year and try it.

  • Minimalistmuso

    Reading and chillin’ = da dream

    Call me nerdy but I’m looking to join a chess club this year as well as try rowing. I live in England so rowing is a pretty posh thing to do and I’m a bit scared that i might not be posh enough to do it but it looks so fun! Those are things that involve other people but not things I’d do on my own without friends so hope they count as #sologoals

    • http://cityhabit.wordpress.com Modupe Oloruntoba

      You are posh enough – row your heart out. 🙂

      • Minimalistmuso

        Thank you

  • Lenka

    I used to go to movies by myself when I lived in a city. I now live in a small town (le sigh), and for some reason it seems like a bigger deal to do anything alone. However, I choose to stay home often on weekend nights. Last night I watched Ex machina and today rewatched The Departed, and those were very good times indeed. The books are next.

  • Cassandra Fisher

    Love this…I often feel like a ‘loser’ when I chose a cup of tea in my apartment over a night out. But what’s the harm in a little me time? I’ve honestly never been to a restaurant by myself…maybe someday I’ll gain the courage 😉 http://www.chicforgood.com

    • http://cityhabit.wordpress.com Modupe Oloruntoba

      it’s a habit forming thing. first one probably won’t be fun, but the second or third solo trip to a restaurant can be really nice. Also good to find a spot you like to go to regularly – you feel less out of place.

  • Claudia Tetreault-Percy

    CCSG was one of the winning elements of my 2015 – coffee and books and/or blog reading is da jamzzzz

  • elpug

    Was actually just talking about this – to myself – the other day. I walked past a restaurant I’ve wanted to try for a while and wondered if I would feel weird going in and getting something to eat by myself amongst all the pairs in the small booths. Then I thought I should “do me” more often and not wait for other people to go to things with. I was thinking of planning one new place alone every couple weeks because as a college kid every week is not feasible though it is mighty tempting.

  • l:ly

    bless up! YES

    • http://cityhabit.wordpress.com Modupe Oloruntoba

      lol, so happy to see a ‘Khaledism’ out here 😀

  • kevynryan

    You just described my life. And I live with my boyfriend. We’re like two happy loners, so happy. Plus we live in Austin with the Whole Foods flagship. So many bulk items.

    • http://cityhabit.wordpress.com Modupe Oloruntoba

      you and your boyfriend are goals! Lord, bless me with a cute, sweet, loner to be alone next to. 🙂

  • pterridactyl

    As a student solo cinema visits were my favourite way to spend a free period. Any person who thinks oh my god I could never do that is missing out big time.

  • http://cityhabit.wordpress.com Modupe Oloruntoba

    I love going to the movies by myself! It can take some getting used to, as we are so used to sharing our reactions to what’s going on (well, I am), but it can be really satisfying. I usually go with my sister, but our tastes are starting to drift apart and I go alone a little more now. Might head out and see one tonight!

  • Bonnie

    Ooh, a walk though Chelsea or LES for a little gallery hopping!