Anatomy of this Outfit: Top – Topshop | Pants – Yesstyle | Sandals – Aldo Shoes


I remember watching Andrea Dorfman’s how to be alone on youtube around the time that my last relationship was falling apart. I had been spending more and more time alone, and thus felt well, really fucking alone. And, eventually, I was in the very literal sense of the meaning. I had my friends but that daily companionship that I craved was missing. Still, you don’t have to be single or anti-social to be alone. Some of us feel the most alone when we are surrounded by people, be them strangers or our 20 closest friends. And sometimes that feeling of isolation is all the more magnified by the smiling faces surrounding us, that seem to tell us that despite our best efforts to fill the emptiness that being alone can bring with company and conversation, we are very…much…alone.


Being alone is a very scary concept for most people – both the feeling of loneliness AND the actual physical act of just being by oneself. So it’s kind of a two-part fear. So let’s go ahead and address the physical act of being alone first. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone needs alone-time, but when it’s chosen, that’s something different. When we choose to be physically alone and in the company of none other than ourselves, we don’t feel alone, because we are content. (Of course I am strictly speaking about the times we choose to be by ourselves for positive reasons.) That empty feeling doesn’t accompany alone time, because we are doing things we love, or just giving ourselves a moment of rest from the act of being social. But even when we choose our alone time, it’s generally done in the comfort of our home, or in socially-acceptable situations, like sitting in a cafe and reading a book.

Being alone at a dinner table, going to the movies alone, or going out to a club are things that most people would not be so comfortable doing. Somehow we associate it with being something really fucking depressing. Maybe because the only times we can recall being alone is after being dumped by that douchebag boyfriend or dropped by a catty group of girlfriends. I know I have caught myself thinking just that, when eating dinner with friends, and glancing over at the table to my right, of a singular man at a table for two quietly eating his dinner – thinking how sad it must that he did not have someone to have a conversation with him, sitting across from him, sharing the same experience with him. Because I suppose I looked at the situation and thought, sharing is what brings joy to people’s lives. Company is what makes us happy. And if we are eating dinner alone, it’s because we weren’t able to share. Because how could eating dinner alone be a choice? It’s funny because eating lunch alone never evoked the same response from me, because eating lunch alone seemed like a choice, but eating dinner alone seemed like sitting in the cafeteria all alone because you had no one to share your company with. Because you didn’t have a choice.


So I guess that social stigma that comes with being alone in situations most perceive as social is the fact the we all assume it was against one’s will, because we in fact, cannot imagine ourselves ever choosing to put ourselves in that situation. Being alone is just for social outcasts, we think. That poor guy, too bad he has to spend the evening alone!, we think to ourselves. And the same sort of goes for the emotional feeling of being alone. It is something we feel against our will. Something we wish wasn’t the case. We want to feel alive and included. Not alive and forcibly alone. So I suppose being alone doesn’t really suffice in it’s explanation. It’s being alone (physically or emotionally) against one’s will that we all fear. Because we don’t like not being in control of our lives, of ourselves, or our emotions. We don’t like when being alone is not a choice.

Being alone forces us to be with the exact person that can be the hardest to be around – ourselves (as paradoxical as it sounds). Being alone means not only overcoming that feeling of emptiness, but overcoming all of the parts of yourself you try to run away from. Because when it’s only you and yourself in a room, you can’t look the other way. But we can work on getting better at it. We can even work on learning to enjoy being alone when it is not a choice.

It takes three things – being able to ignore the social stigma that comes with being alone, self-love, and the ability to be okay with not being in control. The social stigma thing can be overcome by just giving a good ole’ fashioned fuck-you to anyone who judges you. Letting go of control comes with practice, but the self-love is the hardest in my opinion.

Choosing to be alone and learning to enjoy it can help with these things though. And maybe what even helps is making a list of all the positive aspects of choosing aloneness …and an additional list of all the things we can do while alone that we might not otherwise be able to do with others. Oh, and lastly, a list of all the things we have been too scared to do alone but should. The last two lists could then be combined and executed – sort of like a being-alone bucket list or some fancy meaningful shit like that.

If you are at first lonely, be patient. If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren’t okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find it’s fine to be alone, once you embrace it.”

Andrea Dorfman

After viewing “How to be alone” all those years ago, I took myself out to the movies. And you know what? I actually really enjoyed it. Granted it was chosen alone time in a sea of forced alone time, but I think that is also okay. It’s taking a time in one’s life where we do not want to be alone, and making it ok. And maybe that’s also the key. So if you haven’t braved the movie theater alone and the pitying look from the ticket guy that you are convinced you will get after asking for “just one ticket, please” has got you terrified, I say, fuck it and just do it. Or take yourself out to dinner. Because being alone amongst strangers is a different kind of being alone in your room or in your favourite field with just trees as company for miles.

There are also two kinds of “self-imposed being alone time” that we all should practice. There is the kind of being alone where our time is occupied by our phone READ: the internetz, or a hobby, like painting, reading, playing piano, etc. And this is being alone (ok well the internetz is sort of cheating and so is reading because you are sort of transported into other people’s lives) but being alone while occupied with other things. The other kind of being alone is being with yourself, your thoughts, your fears, disappointments, but also your accomplishments, dreams, and pride. It’s a moment to step away from everything and just focus on yourself and take in the world around you. A moment to either write in a journal, or just people watch, or hop a train and just observe what happens right outside the window as you pass the world by as it passes you by. Learning to love alone time, is learning to love yourself. And you should love yourself. Because other people can love you too, but if you don’t love yourself, you ain’t got nothin’ darling.

Photography: Dean

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Stay conscious, Rae


Rae Tilly

Rae the EIC of LFB and YEOJA Magazine. She is also a photographer and social media influencer.


  • I really really do love this post. I am a very social and talkative person but am stuck abroad in a master’s program where I dislike most of people who keep me company – this first “forced” loneliness really taught me how to be alone and at the point where I chose to not be with the others but just by myself it all went better and I am very content with my alone time now. (Okay, I also made friends, outside if the program which helped.) Before I was always just waiting for other people to come but I am at a point now where I can really appreciate my alone time so thank you for this post, I could see myself in there :)
    Love, Sam.

    • rae

      Hi Sam! I am really glad that you enjoyed this read. I am really glad you have learned to enjoy your own company and appreciate time alone!

  • Stephanie Louise

    This post speaks so much truth. Like I always tell my friends who are obsessed with being in a relationship and finding boyfriends, “If you can’t learn to love yourself first, no one will.” I think we have to face ourselves, and love ourselves, and being alone is the only way to do this. We need to learn our strength and weaknesses, and being surrounded by people all the time can take away from the peace and quiet needed. I don’t mind shopping and eating alone, and sometimes when I tell people that they are surprised and say they could never do that. What is wrong with a relaxing alone time?

    • rae

      Hi Stephanie. I am really glad that you enjoyed this post. I think everything you said is so true. One thing I really do love to do alone is shopping actually!

  • Sandeep Kaur Sandhu

    you look like a doll.

    Love it
    New Giveaway:
    Sandy Sandhu

    Kim Kardashian Look: Sandy

  • Cute look and I definitely get what you’re saying. I feel a lot less alone now than I did at the during end of my last relationship even though I do a lot more things alone now. I’m more comfortable in myself. I hate it when friends of mine try to take pity on me or feel sorry for me just because I’m not in a relationship, I’m happy and that;s what matters. Right now I quite like being alone (but not lonely) and if I find someone else soon then that’s fine but not necessary for my happiness <3

    The Quirky Queer

    • rae

      I think that you definitely have a healthy mindset. I am still not very good at being by myself, but it doesn’t really have to do with being in a relationship or not – even when I am happy and single if I spend too much time away from friends and family I start to get really antsy. It’s something I am trying to work on and really would love to just take a week holiday alone and just explore what it is like to just have to rely on yourself – in a positive way though, not a “i am a rock, i am an island” sort of way.

  • Being alone isn’t easy, but I think everyone should experience it sometimes. My bf and I often travel for our occupations so it was difficult at first not seeing each other everyday. But, we both understand, that sometimes it’s good to be alone … reflect on life, enjoy things that you’ve not done before, because you were pre-occupied or wrapped up in a relationship. I painted more when I was by myself. You learn a lot about yourself when you are alone, which applies to everyday situations, not just the relationship part. Love your photos Rae.