Why solo cinema outings are the best

Going to the cinema is traditionally a group activity, where you and your friends can see the latest film while sharing some overpriced popcorn.

But have you ever tried it on your own, for an experience unsullied by your distracting (but lovely) companions? Society seems to have deemed solitude a bad thing, so it’s not surprising if you haven’t, but it’s something you should try – and here’s why.

You get to watch exactly what you want
This one is obvious. Instead of trying to work out a compromise or using the ‘you pick this time, my choice next time’ strategy, why not just see exactly what you want to see, when you want to?

Sometimes you want to catch a new release to dissect and discuss it to death afterwards. Other times you want to spend two hours in the dark being transported to another world. The beauty of the cinema is that it can be enjoyed alone and with others, which is something we should be celebrating, not scoffing at.

It’s not as scary as you might think.
Maybe actually watching the movie by yourself isn’t the anxiety-provoking part, maybe it’s buying the ticket alone or walking to your seat on your own. In public, we feel like others are constantly watching us and making inferences about our social connectedness. But typically, people are too concerned with what they’re doing to pay much attention to you. I did feel a little awkward the first time I went to the cinema alone, but I’d forgotten all the imaginary stares and judgements by the time I’d settled into my seat.

You don’t have to share your snacks
Again, this one’s obvious. But who wants to share M&Ms when you can have a bag to yourself?

It’s the ultimate ‘me time’
Self-care seems to be the buzz word of 2020; it’s defined as ‘any activity that we deliberately do in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health’. It’s a simple concept but it’s often overlooked, and a solo cinema trip is a full two hours of self-care. It gives you the opportunity to switch off from the outside world and the perfect excuse to turn off your phone.

You’ll feel strong and independent
Research has shown that, on average, we require two hours alone per day. Many of us require alone time to improve our mental health and wellbeing. So why does society tell us that, while practical activities such as picking up the dry-cleaning are fine to do alone, fun activities should be shared with friends? Go against the grain and take yourself on a date to the cinema.

There are no distractions during the movie
Are my friends comfortable? Are they enjoying the movie? Am I sharing my snacks enough? As much as we all love our friends and family, sometimes it’s hard to completely relax and switch off around them.

And if your pal is a self-described movie critic, you may be forced to dissect the movie in real time. When you’re there alone there is nothing else to do except immerse yourself.

A good seat is usually available, even at peak times
If you want to catch a movie as a group at a peak time, it’s likely you’ll be forced to sit right at the front, trying to ignore your sore neck and enjoy the movie. Your solo self, however, will most likely be able to grab a prime spot.

You’ll discover a bit more about yourself
This one is true for basically all solitary activities. Instead of constantly interacting with other people and worrying about everyone else, you actually get to focus on you. It’s an opportunity to be selfish that rarely comes around, and who knows – you might learn something new about yourself. At the very least, you’ll be proud of yourself for doing something brave, even if it sounds trivial.

You may have a revelation
It’s very freeing realising we have the power to have fun on our own. What’s next? A play? A concert? Anything.

Have you been to the cinema alone? Did you feel awkward at first or perfectly comfortable?

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Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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