‘I LOOKED like that sad guy you see sitting himself at the pictures,’ my pal said to me after he got stood up for a Tinder date.

I laughed but inside I was dying, for I am That Sad Guy You See Sitting Himself At The Pictures.

I only went myself for the first time last year after a good couple of years of saying to myself I should do it but for some reason there’s a stigma attached to it.

I always though nah, you can’t go yourself, that’s weird. Sitting alone in the dark amidst a sea of happy couples and old pals.

Silently munching your individual sized box of popcorn and drinking your wee juice, nobody to turn to at the funny bits to see if they’re laughing as well.

Nobody to say to at the end of the film, ‘That was magic. Then skulking quickly out and hoping no one saw you.

I mind once being out for something to eat with my pal and a guy came in and asked for a table for one and was sat next to us.

I was in awe at the confidence of the guy. Coming into a restaurant on his own, taking himself out for a wee date.

He sat and had a three course dinner while he scrolled through his phone, read a few pages of a book and had a couple of pints as well.

He looked like he was having a smashing time. There was a few odd looks from his fellow diners around him.

A lot of folk giving it the ‘don’t look now but there’s a guy sitting himself behind you’.

Taking yourself out for dinner seems like the next level up from going to the pictures yourself.

But going to see a film on your own shouldn’t be as weird as some people seem think it is. I do most of my work at night so during the day, in the middle of the week, there’s not many people about to do something with.

My pals, family and girlfriend are all at work, being proper functioning members of society compared to me.

So last year I just went for it. Gave myself a shake, stopped worrying what other people would think and went to the pictures myself.

And let me tell you this, it was class.

There’s a bit of magic in going to the pictures and to this day, the buzz of going is still the same as when I was a wee guy.

Although the first time I ever went was with my maw and granda to see Toy Story and when it got the bit with the doll’s head on a sort of mechanical spider’s body in Sid’s room I freaked out so much we had to leave midway through the film.

I remember my granda taking me a few years later to see the Pokemon film and him coming out in a daze, saying he felt like he’d been brainwashed.

I only realised after it that no one actually cares that you’re in the pictures yourself.

Nobody in the place will bat an eyelid at you. I also realised after it that, for me, going alone wasn’t the point, it was simply going at all.

I wasn’t doing it because I had no one to go with, or even that there was a film I was so desperate to see, it was that I was struggling with stress and pressure from work, deadlines and that I hadn’t actually left the house in the a days.

I needed out.

I was stuck on a play I was writing and behind with some corporate work I’d picked up. When you’ve no reason to leave the house, you’ll just sit and stare at the work piling up, lose motivation and fall further behind with it all.

What I hadn’t realised was getting out and going to do something for the first time felt like an achievement and made me feel back in control.

On the walk to the train station then about city centre, I worked out all the stuff I had to do when I got back, organised it all in my head and made a plan.

I went to see the film then headed home and it was like my brain had been reset. Seeing a story on the big screen gave me the motivation to finish my project.

I’d did something I’d always wanted to, seen a smashing film and felt ready to just get home, stop messing about and get back on top of everything.

Sometimes when you’re not quite feeling yourself, think about something you’ve wanted to do or go and see for ages and just do it, take an afternoon to yourself.

Spoil yourself. Learn to enjoy your own company. A lot of the time, you won’t realise until after just how much you needed it.