There’s something about riding a ride alone that makes riding a thrill ride a thousand times more terrifying. When you think about it, even when you’re riding with a friend, you’re still technically alone. The comforting hand of a loved one makes us feel secure and much less afraid. The thought of being alone and something bad happening is one thing that humans fear the most. This fear does not just apply to rides; it applies to life in general.
Autophobia- the fear of being alone. When you break it down, auto can stand for the human autonomic response to loneliness. No matter who you are, no matter how self-confident you say or think you are, at our core, we are all afraid of being alone. However, the higher your self –esteem, the less likely you are to fear isolation. As human beings, we are social creatures that thrive on human contact. Without it we literally go insane. That being said, we rely on other people to make us feel secure.
Take my story for example. When I was a child, I used to tell my mother that I would ride any roller coaster, no matter how tall, as long as it didn’t go upside-down. Doing something that I hated at the time but I now thank her for, she forced me to go on the Mindbender at Six Flags Over Georgia. My mother used to hold me in on every single ride we went on. Even though I was terrified of the loops, I felt better knowing that I had someone to hold me in. I will never forget the first time I rode a coaster without her. It was the Great American Scream Machine, and I was so proud of myself because I put my hands up. I had grown up and become confident enough to not feel the need to have a person hold me in.
Most recently, I conquered my own fear of riding alone. In the past I had always felt safer knowing that I had someone I knew sitting next to me. I understand why now, and I am no longer held back by my fear. Because of this, I no longer have to get angry at friends for not riding with me. I am able to go on (basically) any ride I want without needing a partner. All I require is someone to stand in line with me to keep me company.
So next time you want to ride that 300 foot roller coaster and your friend is too afraid to ride it with you, go anyway. Don’t let your autophobia hold you back. Chances are, there will be someone riding next to you that is just as nervous as you are. You might even make a friend.