Sometimes, It’s Better To Attend Social Events By Yourself
Don’t be afraid of doing things solo dolo.
I took a mini trip to southern Taiwan over the week; Tainan to be specific. While the city was absolutely beautiful, I had a specific reason for going there.
About two months ago, I was informed that Jamaican singer, Sister Nancy, will perform in Tainan on the first Saturday of December. Sister Nancy is a legend in dancehall history. She paved the way for other female artists in the drama. Her hit single Bam Bam is one of the most sampled and remixed songs in the music world. Even though all of her songs were made before I was born, I grew up listening to her music via my parents and older relatives. Without giving much thought, it was already set in my mind that I was going. It’s not often that you will see a dancehall legend coming to the Far East. Shoot, Caribbean themed parties and events aren’t big in Asia period.
I informed a few people who would be interested in the event, but they ended up having other plans, or they weren’t interested in going altogether. Instead of throwing in the towel, I decided to buy a concert ticket, and book transportation and accomadation to Tainan. I wasn’t going to miss on this opportunity because my go-to travel buddies didn’t want to go. Time waits for nobody. Plus the tickets were only 20 US dollars! No way, my frugal self would skip out on this.
Even though I moved abroad by myself, I still had a sense of security. I was going to spend my first weeks two weeks in the country going through orientation for the job along with 50 other people who did the same thing as me. So I wasn’t really alone. Plus, many of us were already active in the Facebook group that was created prior to coming to Taiwan. I entered my first day of training seeing a lot of familiar faces.
But this trip to Tainan was different…
I’ve done a couple day trips by myself, where I explore different areas (or neighboring) provinces, but that wasn’t a big deal. I did that a lot back in the United States. This was the first time I planned and acted upon my own mini getaway. This time I was truly traveling alone because I didn’t know anyone who would be at this event.
After a day of sight-seeing different attractions in Tainan, which is a pretty awesome city by the way, it was time to get ready for the concert. I had a bit of nerves at first because it is a bit awkward going social event by yourself, especially something that is party related. I did have a few doubts in my head.
“The doors open at 9, and Sister Nancy is scheduled to go on stage at midnight. What time should I leave my hostel? 9? 10? 11?”
“I don’t drink alcohol. What will I do to make the time go faster during the awkward ‘down time’ before everybody becomes pumped for the show?”
I don’t know why I was having doubts. This isn’t the first time I attended a concert solo. I went to one two years ago in Philadelphia and the only thing that crossed my mind was making sure that I don’t get lost getting to the venue.
Despite the mini social anxiety, I ignored my negative thoughts and kept moving.
Those doubts? They were the least of my problems. To be honest I had zero problems. The concert was a blast. Sister Nancy’s set was a-freaking-mazing; I even got a picture with her!
My “I hate people” introvert shell took a break for the night, and I made some new friends (including people who live in the same city as me!), and I even found others who came to the concert solo dolo. We all danced the night away…..literally. The party ended nearly THREE HOURS after Sister Nancy performed. I didn’t return to my hostel until after 5 in the morning.
When I was on the train ride home earlier, as always, I took the time to reflect on my previous day. I asked myself:
“Would I have been this outgoing, if I came to the concert with people I was close with?”
While it is true that you can still make new friends at social outings while hanging out with your core group (I have many times, especially when I was in college), but it’s not always likely that you’ll be as outgoing. I also understand that on the flipside that if I person is going somewhere solo and is sitting back and not making an effort to engage with anyone, they’ll leave the night with zero new friends as well.
I still stick with my stance that going to outings by yourself, forces you out of your comfort zone by engaging with strangers in order to have a good time and when forming new acquaintences and friendships. In a way attending social outings with others serves as a cushion and a mask because you can hide your insecurities easily as opposed to one who sticks out more when standing by themselves awkwardly, especially for women because it’s not a norm for us to do things like this by ourselves. Some people were so surprised when I told them I came all the way down to Tainan by myself for this concert. I just shrugged it off said, I wanted to see Sister Nancy by any means necessary.
My motto is: even if my friends aren’t present, the show must go on. Time waits for no one. Don’t miss out on things you want because you don’t have anyone to go with. Just go. Put yourself out there and make new connections with strangers who may have the very same interests as you.