This is going to be one of those topics that you’ll either roll your eyes at or you’ll really appreciate the advice on. When it comes to anything remotely mental health related, we’re all different. And we’re all affected by completely different things. Going to the cinema alone for you might be a walk in the park – something that you don’t even have to think about. For others, that might not be the case.
A bit of background on why this is important to me and important for me to share my advice and tips on. Back in 2011, I started experiencing severe generalized anxiety. You can read more of the specifics in this post: Mental Health Awareness: My Story but long story short…
this anxiety disorder turned my entire world upside down.
A previously outgoing girl, with not a care in the world, could no longer leave her own bedroom, let alone her house. I was terrified of myself. I was terrified of the outside world. Everything was a threat. And I, very quickly, lost my independence. And I didn’t go anywhere by myself for around 7 years.
In July 2019, I had a bit of a breakthrough with my anxiety, since I started Citalopram and since then, I’ve been learning to experience the world by myself again and also spend time alone, which I’m absolutely loving. I had two main goals when I started this journey, which were:
- Going on holiday alone (I went on my first solo spa break in 2021)
- And go to the cinema alone which I managed to do in February 2020
I tweeted about it at the time and I was overwhelmed with the response. Aside from the support from my followers on Twitter, most responses fell into 2 categories:
- That’s amazing! I love going to the cinema on my own!
- Oh my God, I’d love to go to the cinema on my own but I don’t think I could!
Why are we so afraid of going to the cinema alone?
For me, my reasoning for being worried was because of my anxiety. It wasn’t just the cinema – it was most places. But the whole taboo around going out by yourself, either, to the cinema, out for a meal or going on holiday alone, I’ve never really understood.
I understand we all have different wants and needs. Some people thrive on more social interaction than others. Some of us are introverts or extroverts which may have various mental or physical issues that makes going out alone either easier or harder. Of course all this needs to be taken into consideration.
But for the most part, I think there’s something really special about going to the cinema alone. Or going and enjoying anything alone for that matter! Spending that quality time with yourself is just as important as spending quality time with your loved ones.
And obviously nerves is a big thing when it comes to doing things alone, especially if it’s not something you’re used to. Some common questions I see being asked are:
Is it sad to go to the cinema alone?
Absolutely NOT! Although some people *might* consider it sad, it doesn’t matter. That’s their problem, not yours. I don’t personally think doing anything alone is sad. I think it’s empowering that you’re not relying on other people to do the things you enjoy.
Is it scary to go to the cinema alone?
It very much depends on who you are and whilst yes, it can be a little nerve-wracking at first, especially if if your first ever solo cinema trip, once you get used to it, it’s not scary at all. It’s just like going for a walk alone or going to grab a coffee alone.
So you want to go to the cinema alone but something is stopping you. Here are some of my top tips for going to the cinema alone:
Choose a time to go when it’s quiet
I.e not during the school holidays or of a Saturday evening. I think the idea, for me at least, of going to the cinema alone was to spend some quiet, quality time with myself. So you don’t want to be surrounded by screaming children or chatting teenagers whilst you’re trying to do that. Plus, more people can make you more anxious.
Go and see something you’re really excited about
I mean, this is a pretty obvious point but what I mean is, don’t just go for the sake of ticking that thing of your list. Don’t go and see any ol’ thing just so you can SAY you’ve done it. Wait until there’s a film out you’re really excited about. Perhaps it’s something your partner doesn’t want to see.
Treat it as a self care date with yourself
Spending time alone is really important for everyone. We all need that space and time to think, wind down, reflect and just BE with ourselves without the external noise of our lives around us. A cinema can be a great place to do that because it’s just you and the film. You go on dates with your boyfriend, why not take yourself on a date too?
Make sure you’re able to hear the movie properly, as you are alone there’s no one beside you to ask “what did they say?”. Ear irrigation before the day may be a good idea if you struggle with your hearing.
Be prepared in case you get anxious
I don’t know about anyone else but I take certain things with me everywhere I go which act as a sort of comfort blanket in case my anxiety starts flaring up. A bottle of water and a snack most notably. If you have a few items that ease your anxiety (including medication) make sure you have them in your bag when you go – just in case!
Get there early
Getting to places early always eases my anxiety because then I know I haven’t got to rush. Which goes the same for going to the cinema alone. Getting there early will allow you to get everything you need to get within enough time, pop to the loo and find a suitable seat.
Remember that nobody is judging you
Until you start going to the cinema alone, you don’t notice that actually, a lot of other people are there alone too. It’s definitely a daunting prospect at first but once you’re confident with spending time with yourself, you’ll realise that literally nobody else there gives a sh*t who you’re with or not with.
My experience of my first solo cinema trip:
When I went to the cinema alone, I went to see Dolittle. Which arguably, not the best film that’s been released in the last few years but it was a fun watch nonetheless. A good film to have gone to see alone. I went during the week – I work from home and I’m self employed, so I’m lucky to have the luxury to do this. And I went to the first morning showing, which was around 10am. So there was only around 10 people maximum in the theater.
I bought myself some popcorn and a Tango Ice Blast and chose a seat at the side of the theater. In the particular theater I was in, there were some seats of 2, so I chose one of them so I had my own little bit to myself. These seats also reclined! So I got myself comfy in my reclined seat, my huge tub of popcorn and enjoyed the film.
Honestly, I think I actually prefer going to the cinema alone. It was so chill. And so relaxing. It was nice to not have to talk to anyone or have someone asking you questions throughout the movie. It was nice to have all the popcorn to myself too! I really can’t wait to go again.
There are so many different things you can do by yourself. Cinema, a solo coffee date, heading to a casino to use your casino bonuses, a trip to the theatre – whatever your vibe is, it’s not as scary as you might think!
Still not convinced? Here are 7 reasons to go to the cinema alone:
- It’s empowering: It’s wonderful to just get up and do something becauase YOU want to, instead of waiting on and relying on other people to do it with you.
- It’s a form of self care: And doing something that you want to do IS a form of self care.
- It’s relaxing: You don’t have to talk to anyone or keep saying, “what?” when they’re asking you questions throughout the movie – bliss!
- The snacks are all yours: Need I say more?
- Doing things alone is NORMAL: And needs to be even more normalized.
- You never have to see a movie you don’t want to see: The choice is ALL YOURS baby.
- You don’t have to dress up (unless you want to) because you’re by yourself: Comfort is keyyy.
Last year, I never thought I’d be able to do this. But since I started really stepping out of my comfort zone, I feel like my world is opening up more and more. If you’re torn about going to the cinema alone, I hope this post provides some sort of encouragement!
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I love going to the cinema alone, best thing ever! 🤗🎦 I generally don’t like people so having to sit in the dark & not talk is perfect for me!
Thnx for this post though, always good to have a point of reference should I ever feel anxious about it for any reason 💛
I need to make another solo cinema trip soon – I love being in the dark and not having to talk to anyone haha!!
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The last point there– no one is judging you. Go and have fun! I do this all the time, especially for midday or morning matinees. Sometimes I’ll get an entire theater to myself.
Yes! I love it when the theatre is mega empty. Feels like they’re showing the film just for you!
I’m definitely one of those people who would be terrified of doing this but the more I think about it, the more I want to do it! I really wanted to see 1917 in the cinema and then my husband watched it online and I didn’t even consider going without him. But why shouldn’t I go on my own if I really want to enjoy an experience?! When it’s safe, I’m definitely going to do this! Two hours chilling by myself sounds fab right now!
EXACTLY! Sod the husband haha! And absolutely. I hope you get to do it soon!
I know so many people who go to the cinema alone, but I have never. I would love to though, I guess it is about building up the courage. Also ike you said, noone is judging you, and if they are, then who cares what they think!
Absolutely! Hope you get to do it one day!
I’ve never been to the cinema on my own but the cinema isn’t really my thing anyway! I’d much rather go for lunch or a walk by myself!
I definitely want to go to the cinema alone one day so this is going to be very useful! I always try to make sure I arrive early before a film anyway but I think I’d be extra organised if I was going by myself! Having to rush is something that instantly gets me worked up. Great tips Jenny xx
Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk
Oh same. Rushing and being late automatically makes me anxious. I hope you get to go soon! xxx
Great tips – I’ve never really thought about going on a solo cinema trip. I wouldn’t say I was nervous, but I like the experience with someone else and I am one of those people who likes to make jokes through the film! Thanks for sharing – maybe i’ll do this sometime soon
Fair enough! It’s definitely a different type of experience 😌
Excellent tips – I think there’s nothing better than some alone time every now and again, whether in public or at home
This is such a great post! I have only even been to the cinema alone once and it was too see a film I really wanted too but no one else wanted to see it. I went during the afternoon on a weekday so it was quite quiet and when I actually got in there most of the people were by themselves which made me feel a lot better.
Lots of people go alone, it’s actually quite nice!
Love these tips! It’s definitely something I’d feel anxious doing, but it is on my list! Need to have some confidence and give it a go. Both to combat the anxiety attached to it and also to learn to enjoy my own company more!
It’s a really great experience. Hope you can manage to do it soon!
Great post Jenny! It’s so freeing once you learn to be comfortable with your own company, it completely opens up the world and means you can do whatever you want on your own schedule xx
These are some great tips! I’d love to because I’m tired of going to the movies with my kids – that causes me much more anxiety than going by myself.
Oh god haha! Well when you get a chance, definitely do!
It was very hard for me to do things alone as well – but not because of my anxiety. It was because I was so used to having my boys with me. Now, I crave alone time. I’m so glad you had a great experience and a good time!
Ah glad you’ve found the value of alone time too!
I cant remember the last time I went to the cinema, maybe when I was 21…x
Oh my god that was ages ago
I would prefer to watch Netflix rather than going to the cinema alone. But can’t compromise on watching movies. 😉
I just prefer to get out the house!
I would loooove to go to the cinema on my own.. right now I get no time to myself and I love the thought of having to speak to no one hahah!
Oh my god literally same!!!
I have never been to the cinema on my own before – but don’t know why ever not? Your post is really helpful; and it’s a lovely way to take yourself on a date.
Paige // Paige Eades
It really is! Hope you get to do it one day!
I would honestly love to go to the cinema myself but it’s not something I’ve ever had the courage to do. Mostly because I’m scared of others will think (I know. I really shouldn’t be). Thank you so much for sharing your experience!
Honestly, nobody gives a sh*t xD
I love wandering round places by myself and the same can be said for the cinema. In fact I enjoy it more. When I lived in France, the local cinemas had spells of showing classic Disney films and even though I’d be the only adult there without a child, I didn’t care because it was fun and a nice treat after a long week of teaching or writing uni essays.
Oh my God, showing Disney classics is an amazing idea!
This is such a great post. I love how you mentioned to treat it as a self care date with yourself! All of our cinemas are still closed here so unfortunately I cannot go anytime soon! But I would love to!
Maybe when they re-open 🙂
I have always said I want to do this as a challenge myself but I haven’t yet found myself in the situation of wanting to see something and not having anyone to go with, definitely something I want to do later this year though, and some really great tips here! x
Hope you manage to do it eventually!
I’ve never been to the cinema by myself but I would in the future. I love going on solo coffee dates xx
Oh me too, it’s so relaxing!
I like these tips, there are tips I hadn’t thought of! I agree when you talk about treating it like a self care date, self-care is so important and treating going to the cinema as that does help with reducing the nerves!
These are some great tips and I’m glad you felt able to go by yourself. That is my goal at some point in the future.
i really enjoy going to the movies alone, i used to do it at least once a month
i love going to the cinema on my own, i used to do it at least once a month before it was kind of like a me day, i enjoy it and never felt like it was weird or something but many people has asked me why going alone. like it is a bad thing
It’s definitely not a bad thing!
Our theatre got reclining chairs right before the pandemic hit and when I finally went to try them out I was thrilled by how much I loved not having to look up too much at the screen. I love a good pack of Twizzlers to nibble on and, of course, water. Sometimes sitting quietly over a good film is just what we need. 🙂
Absolutely! Ours has reclining chairs too – love them!
This has really inspired me to go on my own! I don’t know why I never have before.. I have a feeling it’s a fear of being judged but it’s reassuring to know other people go on their own and no one really cares! I think I’ll add this to my list of things to do! Thanks for sharing x
Literally no-one gives a crap haha!
I haven’t been on a solo trip to the cinema in ages! I used to do it a lot to review films, but I think I used the notepad as a way to look as if I was supposed to be there alone, if that makes sense? I don’t think I would have gone alone otherwise, but if love to do so now for a bit of self care.
Yeah that makes total sense!
I love this! As you know I’ve wanted to do this for so long and this will definitely help. Even reading it inspired and filled me with confidence. Now we just need to get COVID out of way, as that’s another trigger for my agoraphobia at the moment! But one I’m there, in my seat, I’m sure I’ll love it. Going to the cinema was always one of my favourite past times before my anxiety hit.
Oh for sure, its not surprising that covid has made everything harder. Hopefully by the end of the year you’ll be able to!
I used to love going to the cinema since I could see what I wanted and no-one to worry about. Now the idea of going makes me anxious. I’ll take your tips into consideration, especially the one about watching something I’m excited about.
Sorry to hear it makes you anxious now!
I love going to the movies alone, because it feels so empowering. It’s been a very, very, very long time since I’ve been able to do so (between the pandemic, saving money to buy a house, and scheduling issues), but I’m looking forward to my next opportunity. Thank you for sharing!
Awh yay! Hope you get to go soon!
Seriously, thank you for this. This is one of those things I’ve been trying to brave doing for a while, but my social anxiety puts up a tough battle against me. I really just need to understand that most (if not all) people there really don’t care what you’re doing and it won’t be so bad. Thanks for sharing!
Yeah, no-one gives a crap, honestly haha! I see loads of people there on their own 🙂
I’ve never actually been to the cinema alone, I’ve only recently been to a restaurant on my own. I always worry about being judged (which I know I won’t be deep down). I am very comfortable in my own company at my house but not anywhere else. I’ll definitely use your tips!
I’d love to go to a restaurant on my own!
This is so inspiring. I never thought about going to the movies alone, but maybe I’ll try it now. I currently live in a country that is not my home country, so I don’t have anyone to go to the movies with. Now you have given me the idea and example that I can be my own company🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰
You can totally enjoy your own company!
Good for you. I’m glad that you are able to do things you enjoy which you couldn’t before. Life is meant to be enjoyed. You have inspired many with your post. Thank you for sharing. Stay safe.
Thank you 🙂
I loved reading this Jenny, it’s so inspirational to those who wan to go to the cinema alone but are not able to because of anxiety (like myself) x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
You can totally do it! Thank you 🙂
I love this! Amazing! Well done
Thank you 🙂
Hey Jen! Thanks for sharing your experience: I think it’s important for other people with anxiety and it will definitely help them take this little steps to feel a bit better!
When I was a teenager and had lots of friends, we used to go to the cinema every second week. But my brother has always been more independent and he didn’t understand why I needed to wait for my friends wanting to watch a movie if I really wanted to go myself any time. I couldn’t understand how he could enjoy going to the cinema by himself. Or do anything himself really!
A few years ago, tho, I found myself in Scotland with a cinema card, no friends and very bored. I started doing this kind of things: going to the cinema by myself, eating out by myself, going shopping by myself… And truth be told, I love it sooooo much! I usually go to the cinema on a date with myself, as you said: I go to a restaurant, I watch a movie my boyfriend won’t like and I will love… I usually bring a notebook with me to write while I have a tea waiting for the movie to start. To me it’s a whole experience that I love and I can’t believe I was so scared of it before so I’m glad you can enjoy it now too 😊😊
Awh that sounds lovely! I’m so glad you’ve learned to properly enjoy your own company!
That’s so awesome that you set this goal and achieved it! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but have just never got around to doing. One day!!!
Thank you 🙂 one day!
This is such an inspiring post. I’d love to be able to go to the cinema alone well anywhere alone but I have severe social anxiety 😅 maybe one day x
You’ll be able to do it one day!
Great post! Thank you for sharing! I’ve been the the cinema alone before once!
Thank you 🙂
These are really good tips, I’ve never gone to the cinema alone. I also suffer from anxiety and have never been brave enough to go on my own.
If I can do it, anyone can!
I don’t like going to the cinema as hate sitting still for a whole film haha xx
Fair enough haha
I don’t think I’m brave enough to go to the cinema alone. Loads of my friends do it and they say it’s fine but, I guess I just want the company.
Zoey | http://www.zoeyolivia.com
Sometimes it’s so nice to spend that time with yourself.
Actually I never had the experience of going alone to the cinema.. I still hesitate in many things to do alone one of which is cinema. Well done you did it.. 👏
Thank you 🙂
Loved this post and I love going to the cinema alone! I haven’t done it much since leaving Uni though. When I was in my third year I often take myself off early on a morning to the outskirts of the city and treat myself to breakfast and seeing a film as the cinema would have showings from 10am so it was always nice to enjoy a film and bit of me time and it was quiet so I didn’t get overwhelmed.
Awh that sounds absolutely lovely!
I feel like I’m at the stage where I don’t think I could go to the cinema by myself… but I can definitely see how enjoyable and relaxing it is to go by yourself. Maybe I should make it goal to go! Although I’d only really have the chance to go in the evenings or weekends which I worry will be the busier times, although with social distancing at the moment I guess it wouldn’t be so busy. Great post, thank you for sharing these tips! Definitely made me think about doing it!
You definitely should! Evenings might be okay if it’s during the week!
I love going to the cinema alone. It’s fun. But most old people think it is dangerous.
It really is! I wouldn’t say it’s dangerous though?
Really good write up, enjoying my own company is something i have often done, however having kids has changed that haha
Thank you 🙂
I’m fairly happy in my own company, but the thought of going to the cinema on my own terrifies me for some reason.
Oh no, why? It’s honestly the nicest thing.
I honestly don’t know
I think as someone that also suffers with anxiety it is such a proud moment to say “I DID THIS BY MYSELF” well for me it was. I haven’t been to the cinema alone, but a couple of years ago now I went to the theatre to see Dirty Dancing by myself (front row) so that was a huge thing 😂 but after that I have been fine, I have been to two concerts by myself. So I am feeling great about doing things alone 😊 I am so happy you got to experience that too! 🤍 xxx
Oh wow I’d definitely love to go to the theatre alone too! Well done!
I love that you did this, I remember at the time feeling a real sense of pride that you’d done it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Watching you flourish since taking the medication has been amazing.
Great post for anyone who is thinking about taking the leap. I really fancy a cinema trip, but ours has not reopened yet x
Awh Claire thank you so much!!! <3
Growing up my hairdresser used to tell me she loved going to the cinema alone, no expectations, no annoying crunching of popcorn next to you at tense moments and my little anxiety ridden brain couldn’t even imagine it. Now i’m older and having to fend for myself I do so much on my own because I won’t deprive myself of a good experience anymore!
Yes! That’s how I feel as well – I don’t want to deprive myself of anything, even if it means doing it alone!