Some people date for the hope of long-term partnership. Some date for company. Some folks date for sport. Others date for sex. Some are a hybrid of these and more. Whichever bucket you may fall in, dating is pretty fun. There is something so great about that nervous first-date energy. Getting to know each other and exchanging flirty glances. Figuring out where you’re going to go and what you’re going to do. Being on good behavior and the prospect of those good kisses.
Yes, easy, breezy casual dating can be awesome. However, the best date of all is the one you have with yourself.
Dating yourself is a great expression of self-love. Here are a few benefits:
You learn to love your own company.
You’re probably pretty amazing, flaws and all. Being alone with your thoughts and nothing but your own company helps strengthen unconditional love of self and teaches us how to be more self-reliant for our joy. Ultimately when we love ourselves well, we are better able to love others (and know when others are not best suited for us).
You get to do whatever you want to do.
No compromising, no sharing, no trying to please anyone but yourself. This is when you get to try new things you’ve been interested in or go full steam on things you know you like. Indulge. Self-care isn’t selfish.
You will learn that your happiness begins with you.
Don’t have a date for that wedding? No big whoop. No date for Valentine’s Day? That’s OK too. You’ll have greater confidence to do solo things and feel less pressure about having a boo.
You get to learn more about yourself.
When you don’t have other energy in the mix, you get to learn what truly makes you tick...what your passions are...what you like and dislike. Your solo date will be about things that solely bring you joy. Figure out what that is.
You get to treat yo’ self.
There is something very powerful and sexy about a person who learns to experience joy on their own terms. Solo dates can lead to you becoming more in tune with your wants and needs. And after you better understand - and indulge them - individually, you will likely be better able to express them to others.
Build your stamina, because it gets easier each time you do it. Let’s talk about how to do it:
Plan it out.
I hate going back and forth with someone about what to eat. Don’t be that person to yourself. Think about the mood you want to set and what you want to do. Put it on the calendar, make a reservation, if necessary. Planning it out gives you something to look forward to, makes it real and lessens your chance of canceling.
Plan for awkwardness.
No lie, like most first dates, your first solo date might feel weird at first. When I first started doing this, I’d bring a notebook or book with me. This way if things got strange, I could occupy myself. I don’t find the need to do this anymore but there is nothing at all wrong with it. Make your comfort your priority. Over time, you’ll build your stamina and you may not need accompaniments.
Remember that no one is watching as much as you think they are.
So just take a deep breath, relax and enjoy yourself. I’ve met some interesting people while solo dating and other times I tune out and have myself all to myself. You’ll gauge your mood when you are in the moment but either way, know that folks are paying less attention than you think. And even if they are looking, let them go ahead. Be so caught up in your date that you don’t care.
Pay attention to how you feel.
The place, the food, the environment, your spirit. Then adjust for the next time, if necessary. Your date is not going to ghost you or not call you the next day. You like your date and can do this again and again and again.
Plan the next one.
Don’t you love when you’ve had a great date and the next one is planned before the first is even over? Recreate that feeling for yourself.
Whether you’re newly single, just single (period) or even boo’d up, dating yourself is something to add to your must-dos. Cuddling yourself at the end of the night might be a little challenging but actively choosing to live your best life independent of a partner helps create the best version of YOU. Become your own partner and love yourself hard.