Why going to the cinema alone is the best

It's traditionally a group activity, but here's why you should try watching a new release alone.

man sitting in a cinema alone

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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    COMMENTS

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    rtrish
    29th Jun 2020
    5:14pm
    I love going to the cinema by myself (I can hardly wait for the COVIF-19 return). I enjoy time by myself. I choose the movie I want, go when I want. I even pre-book seats so I can choose where to sit. I’ve been doing this for 20 years. My favorite form of entertainment.
    ceejay
    29th Jun 2020
    5:26pm
    Yes I did feel awkward the first time I went to the cinema myself. If your friends or family aren't available or just don't want to see the movie you're looking forward to seeing, go for it. Otherwise, you may miss out on a real treat and some valuable 'me' time.
    Ellie
    30th Jun 2020
    10:02am
    I agree, you definitely forget about the awkwardness by the time the movie starts!
    Jenny
    29th Jun 2020
    5:34pm
    Yes, I've been on my own, and perfectly comfortable with this. Something that annoys me greatly though is the rustling of bags as the movie is beginning. Why must people but their treats in these noisy containers?
    Jenny
    29th Jun 2020
    5:35pm
    Buy is the word thanks! Predictive text strikes again!
    Ellie
    30th Jun 2020
    10:03am
    I know! At least open the bags before the movie starts to limit the rustling!
    Trimcat
    29th Jun 2020
    6:23pm
    Quite like it. No more “what did she say?”, rustling lolly bag in your ear, no other distractions from friends or family. Just lovely me time to relax and enjoy a good movie.
    Ellie
    30th Jun 2020
    10:13am
    Or a friend trying to dissect the movie or guess the ending halfway through!
    It is the perfect excuse to switch off from day to day thoughts and relax :)
    sunny
    29th Jun 2020
    6:48pm
    I ended my overseas holidays with a night at the playhouse. I've seen Warhorse and cried along with others. We will rock you, that was amazing, and sang along with the audience with no inhibitions. On a cruise I saw Freddie Mercury, the biopic, again sang and cried along with unknown people and all in all, it was me having my time. woohoo!!!
    Ellie
    30th Jun 2020
    10:07am
    Oh wow! That sounds amazing, thanks for sharing. I didn't buy a ticket to a concert in April as I didn't have anybody to go with. It ended up being cancelled due to covid but when he comes back I'm definitely getting a ticket and going!
    el
    29th Jun 2020
    10:15pm
    Going alone is something I started doing years ago - worked out if I waited for an invitation from others I would never go. It is to be recommended too for a teacher wanting to check whether a movie is suitable for a class (particularly one with emotionally vulnerable members) or for grandchildren. But you will get strange looks occasionally when going into a kids movie on your own - develop a slightly thicker skin, put on a smile and enjoy ... explain if you feel you have to. You will soon be a regular. After all, the kids have some of the best movies!
    Ellie
    30th Jun 2020
    10:10am
    Very true, they do have some of the best movies! And it's a great idea to screen them beforehand, some can be quite emotionally heavy.
    Rosret
    30th Jun 2020
    8:32am
    As a child the cinemas were clean, affordable and magically romantic. Now they are dirty, too loud, you stand in long queues to buy a ticket(and pay more than if you pay online) and too expensive. Why would you want to go? Horrible places. - I guess I am just too old.
    Marigold
    1st Jul 2020
    11:50am
    The first time I went to a cinema by myself was because I badly needed a break from my two teenagers - they were safe and fed at the time and not overly interested in my company - and I noticed the Johnny Cash film was still on at my local cinema. This was a film I really wanted to see but one they flatly refused to go to with me. We always chose movies we all liked so this was a biggish decision. It was an odd experience and I missed them being there and all the discussing and food sharing but it was also oddly liberating.


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