Mental Health

Going To the Cinema Alone: 6 Tips To Help You (& My Own Experience!)

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.

going to the cinema alone

Photo by David Hurley on Unsplash

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 generalised 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 I’ve been slowly experiencing the world on my own again and the two things I really wanted to experience on my own were:

  • Going on holiday alone (which I was going to do in April until the Coronavirus ruined our lives)
  • And go to the cinema alone which, luckily, I managed to do in February this year!

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:

  1. That’s amazing! I love going to the cinema on my own!
  2. 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.

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?

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 going to the cinema alone:

When I went to the cinema alone, I went to see Dolittle. Which arguably, not the best film that’s been released this year 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 work for myself 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.

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! Do you enjoy going to the cinema alone?

102 Comments

  1. Kim says:

    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.

    1. Oh for sure, its not surprising that covid has made everything harder. Hopefully by the end of the year you’ll be able to!

  2. Daisy says:

    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.

    Daisy xoxo | According To Daisy

    1. Sorry to hear it makes you anxious now!

  3. 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!

    1. Awh yay! Hope you get to go soon!

  4. 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!

    1. Yeah, no-one gives a crap, honestly haha! I see loads of people there on their own 🙂

  5. 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!
    Eve x

    1. I’d love to go to a restaurant on my own!

  6. 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🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰🥰

    1. You can totally enjoy your own company!

  7. 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.

    1. Thank you 🙂

  8. 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

    1. You can totally do it! Thank you 🙂

  9. I love this! Amazing! Well done

    1. Thank you 🙂

  10. 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 😊😊

    1. Awh that sounds lovely! I’m so glad you’ve learned to properly enjoy your own company!

  11. 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!!!

    1. Thank you 🙂 one day!

  12. jennavon says:

    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

    1. You’ll be able to do it one day!

  13. Great post! Thank you for sharing! I’ve been the the cinema alone before once!

    1. Thank you 🙂

  14. 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.

    1. If I can do it, anyone can!

  15. Sarah says:

    I don’t like going to the cinema as hate sitting still for a whole film haha xx

    1. Fair enough haha

  16. 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

    1. Sometimes it’s so nice to spend that time with yourself.

  17. Krutika says:

    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.. 👏

    1. Thank you 🙂

  18. 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.

    1. Awh that sounds absolutely lovely!

  19. Chloe Chats says:

    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!

    Chloe xx

    1. You definitely should! Evenings might be okay if it’s during the week!

  20. I love going to the cinema alone. It’s fun. But most old people think it is dangerous.

    1. It really is! I wouldn’t say it’s dangerous though?

  21. Travel around spain says:

    Really good write up, enjoying my own company is something i have often done, however having kids has changed that haha

    1. Thank you 🙂

  22. I’m fairly happy in my own company, but the thought of going to the cinema on my own terrifies me for some reason.

    1. Oh no, why? It’s honestly the nicest thing.

      1. I honestly don’t know

  23. 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

    1. Oh wow I’d definitely love to go to the theatre alone too! Well done!

  24. 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

    1. Awh Claire thank you so much!!! <3

  25. 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!

    1. Yes! That’s how I feel as well – I don’t want to deprive myself of anything, even if it means doing it alone!

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