It’s 9 p.m. on a Friday night and I’m scrolling endlessly through every possible app on my phone. I’m flipping back and forth to see every other teenager posting about what a fun night they are having. It’s a rarity for me to experience the typical Friday night outing. It’s not because I don’t have friends or that I hate the outside world, but because I like to take time for myself.
This reality has followed me throughout my life. Even when I was younger, an insecure 11 year old, to be exact, I would always sit at home instead of going to the mall or the park with my friends. I was constantly being asked, “Why won’t you come with us?” or the infamous “Do you just not like us?” But at that age, trying to explain that I just wanted to be alone was nearly impossible. So instead, I became skilled at using the “I have a lot of homework” line, or “My parents won’t let me.” I even went as far as telling my parents to say no so I wouldn’t feel as bad lying to my friends. Because, hey, they did technically say no.
Spending time alone has garnered a negative connotation that I’ve never quite understood. Society has taught us that you have to be out doing something of importance or something that can get you to hit the 100 "like" mark on Instagram. This tends to haunt most teenagers, but I try to not let it bother me. I’m constantly trying to stay home on Friday nights or any other day of the week because, to be honest, socializing can be exhausting. I’m not saying that socializing is poisonous and you should never engage in it, but sometimes spending time alone can be just as satisfying.
In fact, being alone has helped me discover more about myself. I’m able to think everything through without the pressure of my friends, and I can unwind and let myself catch up on everything that’s going on around me.
What I’ve realized is that there should be a balance between socializing and spending time alone. One isn’t better than the other and you shouldn’t feel wrong for your choice. It’s all about what feels right to you.
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