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Ash. Spiritual. Happy in my own way. Writes Random Stuff. Ice Cream. Night owl. Ice Cream, again.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Are we truly Independent?


If you were alone and did not have any company, would you hesitate to do any one of the following?

  • Going outside to eat
  • Shopping
  • Going for a leisurely walk
  • Watching a movie
  • Visiting a park/beach/museum

If your answers to all the above questions are similar to ‘Of course not, I wouldn’t hesitate to carry on. It’s no big deal’, I’m happy that I have company.

If your answers to the above questions are similar to ‘Perhaps I would hesitate. But if it was absolutely necessary I would go’, this post would make more sense to you.

Image Courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos


Man is a social animal. He longs for company though he may not express it openly.  There is nothing wrong with that. It always feels nice if you have someone to talk to, if you have someone to eat with and hang around and if you are surrounded by people. Usually when people are in big group, there tends to be a free flow of positivity and laughter, which will definitely improve our mood and make us feel lighter and happier. That’s why they say, when you share your happiness with others it tends to multiply, but when you share your problem with others, they seem to diminish. I would say, having people for company is not a necessity but an affordable luxury.

All of us have different sets of friends. We have school friends, college friends, friends from work and so on. Just as we segregate our friends based on the manner of acquaintance, we also have friends’ gang for certain activities. For example I know people who have a certain set of friends with whom they watch movies, a certain set for eating out and trying various restaurants and a certain set of friends who suddenly decided to meet up and head to the beach to just hang out.

This being said, I would also like to make it clear that I don’t completely rely on my friends (family and other acquaintances) to always accompany me for all my outings. There have been many times when I’ve gone shopping alone and I’ve not regretted that even once. I definitely like company, but not to the extent of changing my plans just because of the reason that I don’t have company.

I recently came across a situation where one acquaintance refused to eat lunch and decided to starve just because the said person did not have company.

I usually go for lunch at work with a specific group of friends, most of the times, unless I need to meet someone else or vice versa. We ensure that we head out for lunch at a standard time since it would be easy for people from different projects to coordinate and manage their work.  But yes, on many days we don’t get to meet on the set time, thanks to our various demanding schedules. One such day I had to get a quick lunch since I had a meeting scheduled at a certain time. I informed my acquaintance and headed for lunch.  

The next day, I was told that the person had skipped lunch because apparently the others who usually accompany us for lunch were held up with work and couldn’t make it. So this person, instead of heading out to the cafeteria all by herself, chose to skip the meal instead. On being asked why she did that, she said ‘How do you expect me to eat all by myself?’. Somehow better sense prevailed and I kept my mouth shut realizing that it would make things worse if I started arguing.

I let this incident pass and I almost forgot about that, until recently I came across another person, in an entirely different scenario who had to go shopping for something that was important but refused to do so because there was no one for company. ‘How do you expect me to go to EA all by myself’ would have been the response, if I had asked. I was sure about that.

I understand that it would be different if we went alone, but does it really matter that much? To the extent of changing your plans just because others aren’t there, even though they aren’t required? Are we so dependent on people that we change our schedules as per others’ convenience?  Or is it just because of the fear of being ridiculed by others when they get to know that you went out alone? Haven’t we grown up or are we still trying to live our life wondering what others would probably be thinking or probably be speaking?

I honestly feel that these are trivial things and they shouldn’t actually be given the importance they are being treated with. I understand that certain things aren't fun unless you have company. I completely agree with that. But for certain insignificant stuff, just a  split-second decision of whether to go or not to go becomes unnecessarily complicated by taking into account certain external factors that are nowhere in the picture, in the first place.

So, what do you think?



40 comments:

  1. Your point is very valid Ashwini. If it were a picnic I would understand. If all others cancel the plan it may not make sense to go alone as the whole purpose is a get together rather than visiting a place. But lunch I am sorry. That's something our body necessitates and it's not a good idea to skip it in the name of company. I am a person who in fact enjoys shopping alone because one can explore to ones hearts content . No obligations about where to go , what to skip etc . :)

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    1. That's actually right jaish_vats, because sometimes its important you spend time with yourself. Its a different feeling altogether. It actually gives you a moment to introspect and understand life in a much better manner! Saying all this...its good to have a company when you are in a pub, hanging out with a beer! ;)
      Amazing post @Ashwini C N :)

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    2. Jaish : I enjoy shopping alone too :-). And yes, if it is a group activity, it is understandable, but you should hear some excuses people make!

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    3. Ashish: Spending time with oneself is so under-rated. Well said :-)

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  2. Experiencing this right now! New city, No company. Does that mean I stay put in my room, continuing to do the boring things that boring me does every boring day? There are SO many places to see, and SO many things to do in this maximum city. Besides, I never know if or when I'll ever get a chance to come here again. So, utilising this opportunity to the maximum.
    I always believed that if you can't stand your own company, you can never stand anybody else. The one who enjoys one's own company, doing things alone, going places alone, is the one who can enjoy pretty much any company. And THAT! is a life skill to possess.

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    1. Well said. If we can't stand our own company, we can never get along with others. Using this 'being alone' as an excuse and missing up on things do it is just plainly stupid. Glad that you are enjoying in your new city :-)

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  3. When you go to Nallis or Pothys in company of friends,do you buy a sari or salwar suit that you like or what your friends suggest?Or if you go to a restaurent do you eat what you want or what your friends suggest?The company of friends is only a setting or an ambience where you relax in the comfort of known people but in no way determines your choices unless you are an undecided and a weak person.But it is different if it is an adda for gossip and tea.

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    1. Yes, our choices can be based on collective suggestion, but the final call has to be taken by an individual decision. It's just a small way of saying I would like to control my life than make others control it.

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  4. Hi Ashwini,i am coming here after a long time,sorry.
    I do love company but i also like to be alone sometimes.Shopping alone is no problem,dining alone makes one feel lonely.But i would not go to the extent of remaining hungry because there was no company.

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    1. Hi Indu :-) Long time!

      Yes, I would enjoy if there was company, but it's not like I wouldnt do a thing just because I dont have company.

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  5. Having company while shopping is fine, but it's a bad idea to have company while eating - the priority then shifts (a little bit) from eating, to talking and other such unnecessary stuff. I too have noticed some people who don't like to go anywhere alone - I don't have a positive opinion about them.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. If I remember, I read about having minimal distractions when having food so that the concentration does not decrease.

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  6. Having a company certainly does matter and without it one tends to feel a bit disconnected but certainly is no reason to alter plans or just dropping them all together...

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    1. Yes it does, but when it comes to priorities one should know better :-)

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  7. It's good if you have company but you came alone (unless you have a twin) and you will die alone. :P

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  8. I find it silly that something important is not done because you don't have company. Though, I do find it awkward eating alone in a restaurant but I've done it on multiple occasions when I didn't have company. I can't skip a meal for that reason.

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    1. Tell me about it Rachna. It would be awkward, yes, but I would bear that when I think of having to not do something just because there's no company!

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  9. Self help is the best help they say ! Being comfortable in your own company is very important i think..

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    1. Very important. As someone here said, if we cant stand our company, we can never get along well with others.

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  10. Doing these things alone might term you as a loner. See, that's another stigma people have to battle with. People shall judge you either way.

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    1. You are right. People are often weighed down by wondering what others would think of them rather than just taking their own decisions. But people are coming out of such stereotypes these days!

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  11. I sincerely wont hesitate to do any of those you had mentioned...

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  12. I know I would think twice before going out for a movie alone. I don't mind eating out by myself but it's funny the way the waiter keeps asking you time and again if you are expecting company!

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    1. Lol. Yes, the consequences are many, but would you skip a meal and remain hungry just because the waiter keeps asking? ;-)

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  13. Man is a social animal. .... that explains the crave for FB by many :-)
    On the flip side at times I like to do things myself. I remember the day when I went and saw 3 movies in a day - all by myself and that too in the theatre.

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    1. Yes, some things are best done by ourselves. And some things can be done without fuss all by ourselves.

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  14. I go everywhere alone only, and I prefer that. I somehow don't enjoy eating with lots of friends and relatives, although I would have what I like only. Same thing with shopping too, I really enjoy shopping by myself, it is very relaxing. only thing i have not done till now is to go to the theatre and watch a movie by myself, for til now the need to do had never occurred.
    Occasionally , I do enjoy company, but mostly I prefer my own company. I hate to travel with friends to see different places, especially if it is out of town. However, nobody really knows that I don't enjoy such outings, for they keep calling me, telling me how much they enjoyed travelling with me.
    It is really stressful to go out with others and also make them feel that I enjoyed it.

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    1. Yes, that's another side of these things. Sometimes I feel like cutting away from everyone and being in peace with myself in some far place. Though I would want to get back, I would not be helpless when alone. Sometimes even I prefer to be all by myself as you said :-)

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  15. A thouhtful post Ashwini but if safety was an issue the reason for companionship is very relevant but for pressing things where this is not the case than company can wait:)

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    1. Yes Rahul Sir, this was not about safety. Just the normal human instinct :-)

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  16. U know sometimes I too ask thos question from myself... nd u know v are still slave :(

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    1. It's all in the mind. It is up to us to break free and walk away with a smile :-)

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  17. Indeed man is a gregarious creature. Man is a social animal bla bla all is fine.
    However that , if it leads to a perpetual dependence on another a company for our happiness and comfort- goodness me I feel worried.
    As you mentioned it is not good to be bothered about always, what others feel and so on.
    There is a bliss in solitude, in being alone, in confining and I relish that , would not hesitate to be out in a quite restaurant alone, even by the sea.
    Too much of dependency on the proximity and company of another is not good for us .Certainly what others may think, feel or talk about us. Those things done behind us welll why worry? This is my take.

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    1. I liked the way you said there is bliss in solitude. I've experienced that and it feels really enriching and refreshing :-)

      And you are so right. People always have something to say, we cant try to keep pleasing everyone!

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  18. Well said, Ashwini. Even when alone, we do have a company - of ourselves. And that I believe is the best company. :)

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  19. During our visits to Chennai, we always noticed girls/women eating alone in restaurants during breakfast/lunch/dinner. We were pleasantly surprised. Why we were surprised? In USA, girls/women will not dine alone in a restaurant. If they don't have company, they will order food "to go" or be delivered. If they stay in a hotel, they will order room service.

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    1. See how Independent we Indian Women are :-)

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