An Unexpected Truth: Going to Concerts by Yourself is Actually the Best

published Oct 7, 2016
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(Image credit: AstroStar)

Concerts and movies are great group activities, sure, but they don’t have to be group outings. It seems like most people wouldn’t (or at least, haven’t) gone to to a concert or to see a movie by themselves—and if you haven’t, you’re missing out. It may sound weird, but giving myself permission to go to things like that alone was one of the best things I could have ever done for myself.

When I stopped waiting around for other people to want to go to concerts with me, a few things happened: First, I was able to go to way more shows than ever before. Second, I allowed myself to be open to experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise. And third, I learned a lot about myself and what matters to me. Going to concerts with friends is still fun for me, but here’s why I honestly prefer to go it alone—and why you just might want try it.

You don’t have to coordinate with anyone.

Think back to the last time you went to a concert with your friends. How difficult was it for you to make sure everyone could go, choose a section to sit or stand in, pay for the tickets, and figure out the transportation to get there? And then there’s the issue of dealing with selling the tickets in case someone in your group can no longer make it. If you found it stressful at all (I know I definitely did) then good news: You don’t have to put up with it.

One of the most freeing things is deciding you want to go to something, and just, well… going. You don’t have to email or text anyone to make it happen and you don’t have to figure out any plans other than what you want to do that night. I used to think I had to have someone with me every time I went to a concert, and I missed out on a lot of amazing shows because I either didn’t have friends who wanted to go, or friends who did, but couldn’t make the date. Now, looking back, I regret feeling that way—all that time, I could’ve been going to shows on my own, experiencing great performances and making cool memories.

You’re free to be emotional.

Okay, so here’s my hot take: Going to concerts with other people is only fun if the people you’re with care about the performers as much as you do. If you recruit friends to go with you to see your favorite band, and they seem like they’re not having a great time (while you’re singing along at the top of your lungs) it’s only going to put a damper on the entire show for you.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a concert crier—when I see a band or a singer I have a strong attachment to, it’s hard for me not to get emotional. There’s nothing better than feeling that strong connection to an artist at their show and knowing your best friend is there beside you feeling the same way, but if you look over at your friends and they’re just standing there, bored? It’s not really worth it. If you go alone, you can avoid all of that weirdness—and cry your happy tears in peace.

You might meet awesome new people.

In all the times I’ve gone to concerts by myself, I’ve never felt truly alone. I’ve made friends with people while waiting in line to get into venues, bonded with the people around me over our favorite songs, and talked to some really interesting people before and after shows. Some of them I keep in touch with, others I didn’t see again after the show was over, but the experience of talking to people who also care just as much as I do about a particular performer? Priceless.

When you go to a concert with a group of friends, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in your own conversations and experiences that you don’t really look around you and see who else is there. Of course, being alone means you have to be aware of your surroundings, but if you’re open to it, it also means you could make some new friends and experience things you might not otherwise get to do if you’re surrounded by people you already know.

Sometimes it’s about self-care.

For me, going to concerts alone is also helpful for my mental health. I have anxiety attacks, and one of the biggest things that tends to trigger panicked feelings is crowds. Unless I’m in an outdoor venue, you’ll never see me front and center—I prefer to stand off to the side so that I can exit more easily if I’m feeling overwhelmed. Music is really important to me, and I love seeing my favorite bands live—who doesn’t?—but I’m also very aware that my mental health comes first.

That sudden feeling of having to leave doesn’t happen to me very often, but going to concerts with other people puts a lot of pressure on me to stay even if I’m no longer feeling up to it. Asking to leave makes me feel guilty for potentially ruining someone else’s good time, and in those instances I’ve stuck it out, I always feel not-so-great afterwards. Going alone takes that pressure off of me, which makes it so much easier to sing along and enjoy the show. It’s important to note that what works for me may not work for others, though. I have friends who also deal with anxiety, and I know going alone makes them feel worse. It’s all about what makes sense for you.

Do you ever go to concerts—or movies, or dinner, or trips—on your own?