I don’t go to movies or concerts very often, and when I do go, I normally go by myself. This is partially a reflection of my personality and partially a result of the stage of life that I’m in at the moment, in that most of my friends simply don’t have the time or ability to get out much these days. I don’t mind going to a movie by myself, and in one sense it’s nice because I don’t have to talk about the movie until I’m ready to do so. But sometimes I do wonder if I’m missing something. Is there something inherently better about sharing that sort of experience with another person?
Back in January I read a short writing piece by a guy who contemplated the same question. He is a guitar enthusiast and had gone to see a performance by a world famous fingerstyle guitarist. However, none of his guitar-appreciating friends were able to attend, so he went by himself. He didn’t have any friends to laugh with, discuss the artist’s selection of music, or commiserate about how hard it is to get a right hand thumb to function independently from the right hand fingers to properly play a song. He missed the enjoyment of his friend’s enjoyment of music, and the conclusion he came to was that friends are needed to really appreciate excellence (emphasis his).
For that guy, the answer the question of whether going to a performance with friends is better than going alone is a resounding yes. For me, I’m not so sure. When I go see a movie I am focused on the movie and I don’t normally interact with others in the theater, and that might be why it seems to feel the same whether I go with friends or not. I guess for me the answer to the question is no, but still, I wonder.