COLLEGE PARK, Md., June 8, 2020 / PRNewswire / – Humans are social creatures, so for many, spending all that alone time induced by the coronavirus pandemic can be overwhelming. Rebecca ratner, professor of marketing at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, has spent years researching the act of doing it alone, and she says there’s the good news: You can get more out of it than you think.
Ratner’s early research on the subject, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, has shown that people are likely to skip fun activities when they have no one to accompany them. Most worry about how others will perceive them. “No one wants to be seen as a loser,” she said. But, according to his findings, when people indulge in activities they enjoy on their own, they can have a great time. “An even better time, in fact, than they would have had with anyone else.” (She explains these findings in more detail in this “Inhibited about Bowling Alone” hand drawn video.)
Through all of her research, she says, one thing stands out. “When people do things on their own, they have more fun than they expected,” says Ratner. “People overestimate the benefits of being with someone else.”
Today, lockdown restrictions are easing in various places. But with COVID-19 remaining a threat to personal and public health, there’s a good chance your social schedule doesn’t seem as busy as it used to be. And that’s a good thing, at least from Ratner’s point of view. Here’s how to make the most of that time: Explore what you love. Take this time to immerse yourself in activities that you enjoy, virtually, she says. As summer approaches, going outdoors to hike, bike, or just take a walk on your own is rejuvenating. For readers, Washington DCthe web-based prose and politics-based bookstore book talks with the authors. Do you like art? “Stroll” the Metropolitan Museum of Art or consult the Collection of Egyptian antiques in the Louvre.
At Ratner’s recent research paper, she and her co-authors find that you get more from these kinds of leisure experiences when you’re alone, rather than with someone else. In their studies, they found that people retained more information about the art they saw when they visited a gallery solo. “We find that in a lot of cases a mate is distracting, which makes you worry more about whether that other person is having a good time than the experience itself,” she says.
Project it solo. In a research article, Ratner and his coauthors find that people think they will have more physical and emotional interactions and benefit more from an experience with someone else than they actually do. Like going to the movies, for example. In Ratner’s original research, less than 30% of people said they would see a movie on their own in a theater. That thinking has probably kept some from seeing this year’s Oscar winners on the big screen, but there’s no time like the present for disseminate them. You want to binge on all of them apocalypse themed movies? Go ahead! Or maybe rom-coms are more your speed. “The advantage of looking alone: no need to compromise,” says Ratner.
Treat yourself. Like many people, you may have been reluctant to dine alone in a restaurant before the pandemic, says Ratner. So here’s his advice now: Treat yourself to a fine dining experience for one, at home. Take the time to prepare a good meal, an entree salad and all, and even – gasp! – take out your good meals and your real linen, pour a glass of wine and savor the experience of a dinner alone. “You are a great company.”
Publish your triumphs. Don’t be embarrassed by your solo efforts – and feel free to talk about it on social media, says Ratner. One of his studies finds that when people see others doing activities on their own, they perceive them to have more expertise or interest in those activities. “So if you post a photo on Instagram of the gorgeous loaf of bread you baked, your friends will be more impressed than if you had done it with other people,” she says.
Make a route. Over the past several months and for the foreseeable future, keeping your social distance means having that time at home with no opportunity or pressure to go out and meet other people. “Use it however you like, doing the things that make you happy,” says Ratner. “Create a to-do list to prioritize the activities that bring you joy, the things you really want to do during this pandemic time of stay at home.”
But, she says, feel free to interact with others, as social connections with friends and loved ones remain essential during this time. She says she continues to plan for ways to interact with others, beyond work activities – FaceTime calls, Zoom happy hours, virtual game nights.
“But also kissing this time. We might never have that kind of time alone again.”
Find out more: In May 2020, Ratner hosted a webinar titled “Covid and social distancing, in which she discussed her research in more detail.
Visit Smith Brain Trust for related content on http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/faculty-research/smithbraintrust and follow on Twitter @SmithBrainTrust.
About the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, Smith School offers an undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialized masters, doctoral and executive training programs, as well as outreach services. to the business community. The school offers its degree, personalized and certification programs in places of learning in North America and Asia.
Contact: Greg Muraski at [email protected]
SOURCE University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business