Everyone plans to have an epic summer with friends filled with island getaways, day parties and excursions for the best ice cream shops. But this doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes your friends simply do not want to go out or have other plans. Luckily, we do not have to solely rely on friends for a good time – we have ourselves.
The first time I went on a selfie date was out of sheer frustration of my friends flopping the Saturday night prior. I was tired of spending weekends dependent on my friends and their schedule, so I decided to take myself for Sunday lunch.
I carefully researched restaurants that were low key and where I wouldn’t run into anyone I knew, and settled on a quaint Thai restaurant. Initially I was skeptical of being viewed as weird or crazy for solo dining. I spent the first twenty minutes surfing Instagram and realized that I wasn’t really enjoying myself. I put my phone down, ordered a glass of wine and began to people watch. Eventually I got comfortable and let my mind go into deep thought. I was literally having a conversation with myself and enjoying it.
Several solo dates later, I can conclude that there’s so much peace and even perks to hanging out alone. We can all benefit from spending time alone, and in fact it’s imperative that we do. A study from Rebecca Ratner of Robert H. Smith School of Business shows that we can actually have more fun spending time alone than with people.
Here are some benefits to solo dating:
You Get to Discover New Hobbies
We’re similar to our friends, but we’re not spitting images of our friends. And while we share hobbies, it’s important that we have our personal hobbies too. Just think, what’s that thing you’ve told your friend you wanted to do but they declined the idea? What have you always wanted to do? Do that, and discover what truly makes you happy.
Getting lost in your thoughts is actually ok. Spend time in deep reflection and ask yourself questions only a therapist or life coach would dare to. Am I happy with where I am? If not, what would make me happy? How can I improve my daily activities to lift my load? How am I engaging with others around me? In the hustle and bustle of life, slowing down to really assess where we are and how we’re doing is necessary, and doing so while selfie dating makes the experience feel less like stress and more like me time.
It Strengthens Your Independence
While the first solo date may feel awkward, overtime your confidence will build and you won’t care about being out alone. You learn to trust yourself and your thoughts so that the next time your friend doesn’t want to go somewhere you want to, you’ll be ok with going alone. That feeling of being independent and making satisfying decisions for yourself is priceless.
There’s No Compromising
No waiting for your friends to get ready while you’re fully clothed with a beat face. No ending the night early because your girls had one too many. And no contemplating what movie is out. You call all the shots, so there’s no need to people please. For those of us who struggle with decision making, this forces us to be assertive and following our own opinions and decisions. What a step in self growth!
Are you new to solo dating and need help on where to start? Here’s a few ideas on how:
Test Out Restaurants
Have you always wanted to try Mediterranean food but your friends weren’t feeling it? Expand your taste buds and try a new cuisine.
Eating alone can feel weird at first, so if you’re intimidated by crowds, it’s a good idea to research restaurants before you go to get an idea of what the setup is like. What are the peak times where it’s the most busy? Did you want a crowd that allows for open conversation and new potential buddies or a low key and intimate dining experience? You make the call!
Take a Dance Class
You don’t have to be an expert level dancer, or a dancer of any sorts even. But something about loosening your body to the beat of a song is freeing. Get lost in yourself and finding your rhythm. Many dance studios offer drop in beginner classes for under $25. If dance just really isn’t for you, then try a Zumba fitness class. Just remember, stay at a rhythm that works for you.
Chef It Up at Home
Aren’t you tired of the same seasoned chicken and rice? Mix up your meal prep routine and plan the ultimate stay in dinner date with yourself. Research recipes on Pinterest and make something that you’ve always wanted to. Grab a bottle of wine and turn up the music. Cooking can be a fun experience if you let it. And just think, the next time there’s a potluck or you have company over, you’ll have a dish that will knock them off their feet.
Go to an Open Mic Night
Get lost in some poetry and spoken word. It’s intriguing to watch people be so open, honest and raw with a crowd of strangers. Their vulnerability can bring ease to your solo night out. You might even be inspired to write or journal some things of your own.
Just remember, don’t flake on yourself. You deserve me time, so just go for it!