Whether we’re cram­ming our diaries with nights out or Tweet­ing the time away, Cosmo in­ves­ti­gates our *Fear of Be­ing Alone.

Cosmopolitan (India) - - YOU, YOU, YOU - By Christina Quaine

When did you last en­joy a few min­utes alone? Or are you con­stantly re­fresh­ing Face­book when­ever your boyfriend goes to the bar, or sulk­ing be­cause your flat­mate’s been out three nights solid? A re­cent re­port on lonely women re­vealed that, while 55% of women our moth­ers’ age are com­fort­able on their own, just 17% of 20-some­things en­joy their own com­pany.

FOBA is cur­rently some­thing Ruby Singh, 26, un­der­stands. “I get bored on my own—i can’t bear it for even five min­utes,” she con­fesses.

It’s a sim­i­lar story for 28-year-old Anisha Khanna. “I run my own PR com­pany, so most nights I’m out so­cial­is­ing,” she says. “Even when I have a night in, I’m con­stantly mes­sag­ing friends on my Black­berry.”

Life coach Shamash Alid­ina be­lieves there’s been a cul­tural shift to­wards fill­ing our time—a woman con­stantly on the go is re­spected, while ‘do­ing noth­ing’ is seen to be lazy. “We’ve be­come ad­dicted to the adren­a­line that comes with achiev­ing things, but this is drain­ing as we’re not al­low­ing our­selves to re­lax,” ex­plains Shamash.

Psy­chol­o­gist Leila Collins agrees: “We all need psy­cho­log­i­cal space to re­cover from our day—whether that’s a work dead­line or a fight with a boyfriend—but few of us are get­ting it.” Ex­perts agree that a part of the rea­son we’re not get­ting this space, is our per­ma­nently plugged-in sta­tus. It’s es­ti­mated that young women spend al­most half their wak­ing day glued to so­cial me­dia. This con­stant need to feel con­nected means we be­lieve we can be val­i­dated only by other peo­ple, ar­gues so­cial psy­chol­o­gist Sherry Turkle in her book Alone To­gether. And weirdly, so­cial me­dia is mak­ing us feel more lonely—re­search shows the un­der-30s are most likely to feel iso­lated.

So how can we mas­ter our col­lec­tive FOBA? “It’s pos­si­ble to be alone with­out feel­ing lonely. Re­mind your­self that your friends and fam­ily are there if you re­ally need them,” says psy­chol­o­gist Pro­fes­sor Robert Edel­mann.

It’s an ap­proach 29-year-old Mansi Sharma has learnt to mas­ter. “I bought my own flat and, af­ter years of hav­ing room­mates, I was scared about liv­ing alone. I filled my diary with nights out, but it soon be­came ex­haust­ing,” she says. “My job as an HR man­ager in­volves talk­ing to peo­ple all day, so now when I get home, I want to shut out the world. My boyfriend lives around the corner, but I only let him come over twice dur­ing the week—he calls my flat ‘the fortress’.” So, re­peat af­ter us: “All by my­self, I wanna be all by myse-e-e-lf...”

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