“Want to sit together?”

I can remember the exact day that I uttered the question, “Want to sit together?” for the first time. My elementary school typically had assigned seats for lunch. We hated those assigned seats because the teachers would ensure that you weren’t sitting next to BFFs lest the lunchroom get too noisy. One day the assigned seat curse was lifted! You couldn’t have made a group of eight year olds more excited if you tried. And then this domino effect started where everyone started pairing off to make sure they would be sitting with the “best” group. As I saw the groups in the beginning stages of forming, I turned to my best friend and said, “Want to sit together??” It was a desperate plea to not be alone. Even at the worst table, we would still be together; I’d still have a buddy, someone to talk to.
Once that ball got rolling, it didn’t stop. Bus rides on field trips, at the movies in middle school, the first day of classes, after school meetings. Luckily I had a best friend and it was always a given that we would sit next to each other, but that didn’t stop us from verbally confirming each time an open-ended seat question was raised. We got so good at confirming each other’s company that we could easily scan the room, find each other, make eye contact, and know that we would “sit together.”
I look back at this desperate need to be by someone I knew and think about all the people that I didn’t get to know in the process. The girls at the lunch table we didn’t know. The other section of our geography class during that field trip. Another school at the competition. 
I am one of those people who experience social anxiety. Even in adulthood, I’ve carried this with me. I will confirm ten times with one person to make sure they’re also going to an event. I’d prefer to meet a friend outside the event at a separate location so we can “walk in together.”
This social crutch has probably (er, definitely, if we’re being honest) held me back quite a bit.
When I think about my recent trip to Caneel Bay, I think about how I don’t think I would have gone five years ago. Not knowing anyone would have been enough for me to throw in the towel before even giving it a shot. I can’t believe that there was a chance I could have missed such an amazing trip, and moreover, missed meeting such awesome people. The whole group had so much fun! I learned about some incredible businesswomen, exchanged stories, and felt inspired by those around me the entire time. We all had different backgrounds and passions, yet brought something unique and interesting to the table.
I was reading through my emails today and thinking heavily about the “want to sit together?” issue. There are plenty events that I go to where I don’t know anyone, and while I still deep down wish I could go with a friend, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it ends up being just fine. Forcing myself to let go of that social anxiety doesn’t mean that the anxiety isn’t there, I just have been choosing to release myself from it and embrace the situation for what it is. The word “open minded” pops into my head.
85% of the time (my unscientific guess) you can get along with anyone just by being open minded. Maybe you won’t become besties for life, but you can at the very least carry on a nice conversation for a few minutes at an event. It’s so, so worth being open minded enough to meet new people… you never know who you’ll really click with! 

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I am 100% the same way as you, especially when going to new places. I have to make sure someone is going in with me as to not be that awkward girl. Lately, I've realized how little good that does me in a college setting and have started expanding my horizons. I still prefer my best friends, but I'm also much more comfortable on my own than I was even a year ago. Case in point, I'm leaving for France for six months to study and don't know a single soul on the trip. It should be interesting, but I'm ready! As always, loved this post and the one on your trip to Caneel Bay!

Jordan Price

I am definitely the same way. Going places alone is not something I look forward to. I would much rather have a friend with me…or better yet, not go to a place that's going to have large groups of people I don't know in the first place! It's something I've tried to work on – little by very little – over the years. I'm improving in baby steps – I went to a couple of local concerts in November (with a friend, but at least I went out at all – I almost didn't simply because of the thought of being around so many people I didn't know), and even though I was pretty uncomfortable at times, I had such a good time overall that I'm really glad I went to both. It's made me a little more determined to take full advantage of every opportunity I'm given!


Southwestern Prepster

I am typically a more outgoing person, but when I know that I don't know a single person, any event seems infinitely more daunting! Even now I'm still learning how to find the balance of being with my best friends (one of them is at the same university as I) with making new friends. Glad you had a lot of fun on your trip and had the opportunity to meet more people!
xx, Mikkaela


I used to be like that a lot until I got to the end of my sophomore year of high school. I just realized that, although I will always need someone, I don't need to have someone with me all the time. Sometimes it is good to do things on your own and I agree that most of the time if you are open-minded, you can make friends anywhere you go!

Prep on a Budget

Caitlin Brosnihan

I've definitely been trying to improve upon being able to take on things by myself. In college I feel like I especially used the "social crutch" I could never eat lunch by myself, and would try and avoid walking alone to class when possible. Since I've graduated college I had to step into the real world by myself and start a job at a company I knew only one person at. These past six months have definitely allowed me to build more confidence and realize I don't always need a best friend by my side at all times.

-xo Cait

Sarah Murphy


I'm so similar. I'm more of an introvert and am always guilty of making sure someone I know is going to an event before I go. I hate the idea of walking into an event alone where other people might have already formed groups and know each other… and I'm 26! It's definitely something I need to get over… every time I do I meet someone I never would have had I not gone alone!



I am 100% the same way. I've always been very shy and timid. I've certainly grown thanks to college and just years of experience, but my natural shyness comes through in certain social situations. Especially if I feel like everyone else at the event knows each other and I'm the only "outsider." But I need to try to work past those fears because that's the only way I'll start making some new friends in my new city (I just moved a few months ago). Good luck to both of us at overcoming our fears!

– Kelsey

Brooke Searcy

This post came at the perfect time! I am attending an event tonight by myself for my blog. Normally I drag someone along unless I know another friend is coming. I have always been nervous about going somewhere I don't know people but I am putting on my big girl panties and going after a week of going back and forth.

I love how you can share this with all of us.




Such a great post Carly! I feel like this a lot and it seems like a lot of other people do too based on the comments. I'm trying to be better about it though and go to places by myself especially if its something I really want to go to. Glad to know I'm not alone in this


It's so interesting to read the comments and see that so many of us feel the same way! That gives me a bit more confidence to go up to other people when I am at an event alone. Knowing the other person probably feels the same way a little bit is so helpful! Thank you for posting!

I also have to say that I got a little excited when I saw that your Caneel Bay trip included Heather Clawson from Habitually Chic. I love her blog as well! It looked like a wonderful trip all around!

Surf & Hydrangeas


I've always experienced anxiety but it wasn't until recently that I realized I had severe social anxiety. Just like you, I always hate going places alone but started going to conferences and networking events by myself and it's totally fine. There is always someone else there who is alone and needs someone to sit with. I love this post…it's so nice to know I'm not alone in my struggle.

Thank you 🙂


Maria Fernanda

great post! This resonated with me a lot, since I tend to do the same thing. You have inspired me to be more open minded.
P.S. It's 84 degrees in Puerto Rico 😉


Love this post! This past summer I went on a 6 week language exchange to Québec not knowing a soul and not speaking fluent French. To say I was scared was an understatement, haha. However, I made SUCH good friends and had such an amazing time it's hard to look back and see myself not stepping out of my comfort zone and taking that opportunity. Isn't it just the best feeling to get rid of those "social crutches" you thought you needed?

alaina shea

I really needed this – I'm having trouble making new friends at school (a few moved away, and some stopped being friends) so it's nice to know I'm not the only one who has trouble branching out. Hopefully things will look up for me soon!

A Peachy Sonder

Thank you for being so candid in this post! It is nice to know that other people have carried this into adulthood as well- even into work environments! It is definitely hard to branch out but totally do-able when we become more open-minded. Thanks for the reminder 🙂


I love this post! I have finally been able to admit that I have social anxiety and trying to make new friends scare the crap out of me. Admitting it has allowed me to explore ways to help, which is nice. It's hard being in college and having 0 friends because talking to people scares me, but it's getting easier.

Jenn Cramer

I was seriously just thinking about this the other day. I have such a problem with it, I will even check out who is in my college classes and find someone in the class that I know that I can sit by.

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Chloe Logan

This really speaks to me, I'm the same way! I ALWAYS need to "walk in" with someone! Though I do applaud how you go to the movies alone–that's on my 101 in 1001 list, I'm so scared! I really had to branch out when I spent a semester in D.C. Toward the end, it was difficult to coordinate museum trips with friends, and I knew my semester was ending…and one of the scariest things was that first museum trip alone. And now I LOVE going to museums alone, I even prefer it that way! And then I took a day trip to Annapolis alone…then in France I did castle day trips alone…and I'm hoping to do my first REAL trip alone! (I live in France now, so travel is easy and luckily often.) Thanks for this post, Carly. It's always nice to hear that you're not alone!

Chloe | Wanderlust in the Midwest


It is so crazy that so many people feel the same way… I've learned that a lot of social anxiety comes out from the fear of not meeting other people's expectations of who you should be. Once you can learn to be confident in yourself and your abilities, doing things and going places by yourself won't be a daunting as it used to be. But of course that takes time! Thanks for being real and sharing.

xo, chekara |