Spend some time with yourself by setting up solo dates.
A couple of years ago I wrote a post on falling in love with yourself, and it got a lot of positive feedback. I think it’s an important topic because when you love yourself you do all of the following:
- You respect yourself.
- You honor your commitments to yourself.
- You show yourself self-compassion.
- You’re kind to yourself.
- You honor your own worth.
- You rely on yourself.
- You believe in yourself and what you’re capable of.
- You have less self-doubt.
- You don’t allow others to disrespect you or treat you poorly.
- You’re a better friend.
- You’re a better significant other.
One of the ways you can start loving yourself more is by taking yourself out on dates–solo dates, if you will. I’m going to help you with that by giving you 12 ideas for self or solo dates you can go on. But before getting to those date ideas, I’m going to do the following:
- Share with you the best date I’ve ever taken myself on;
- Set forth the requirements of a good solo date; and
- Point out when you should go on a solo date.
Let’s get on with it.
A Solo Date to Verona
I don’t know if I’ve shared this with you before, but I finished college in three years instead of four, so I took a year off before gong to law school to travel. Specifically, I spent a year living and studying in Florence, Italy.
One day while in Florence I saw that the opera Aida was going to be playing in the Arena di Verona—a Roman amphitheater in the city of Verona. Verona, of course, is the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It’s also just an hour-and-a-half away from Florence by train.
I decided then and there that I was going to take myself to see Aida in Verona. On the day the opera would be playing I did the following:
- I walked to Santa Maria Novella—Florence’s train station—and took a train to Verona.
- I arrived about an hour before the opera’s starting time and had a quick bite to eat at a café (coffee and panino).
- Then, I walked to the amphitheater, bought a ticket, and watched Aida.
- When the opera was over I followed the crowd back to the train station and returned to Florence.
Wasn’t that a fantastic date?! I think so. Of course, solo dates don’t need to be as glamorous as this one. I’ve taken myself on lots of simple, but great nonetheless, solo dates.
Requirements for a Good Solo Date
A good solo date has to meet at least one of the following requirements:
- It has to be fun—do something that feels like play and makes you laugh.
- It has to be relaxing.
- It has to be interesting—you have to learn something new.
- It has to push you outside of your comfort zone.
- It has to give you an adrenaline rush.
Other than that, the conditions for a solo date are very flexible:
- You can plan it ahead of time, or it can be a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing.
- You can dress up, or you can choose to go casual.
- It can be a stay-at-home solo date, or you can choose to go out.
- Your solo date can be during the day, or at night.
- It can last an hour, a day, a weekend. . . .you decide.
Lastly, look at the following:
- Be fully present. If you’re out on a date with someone else, you don’t space out or stare at your phone all throughout date. You pay attention to the person you’re with. Show yourself the same courtesy: when you’re on a solo date give yourself and what you’re doing your full attention.
- Don’t be self-conscious—if you choose to go out on your solo date and feel that other people are looking down at you because you’re alone, just ignore them. Whoever judges you for being alone is probably just not comfortable being by themselves, and that’s too bad for them.
- Don’t overspend – stay within your budget.
- If you’re not enjoying yourself, go do something else. When you’re on a date with someone else and things aren’t going well, it can be tricky to put an end to the date. However, if you’re on a solo date and you find that you’re not having a good time, you can just go home without having to come up with a semi-plausible excuse for ending the date. Nice!
Reasons to Go on A Solo-Date
Right now you may be thinking: “Wait. Doesn’t ‘date’ imply at least two people?” “Why would you want to go on a date alone?”
I’m certainly not advocating that you become anti-social and stop dating other people (or going out with your friends). I’m just saying that there are times when self-dates are the way to go. So, why would you want to go on a solo date?
First, there are times when you don’t have a significant other and your group of friends is busy with work, family, and so on. During those times you should still allow yourself to have fun, go out, and try new things. After all, your happiness shouldn’t depend on others.
Second, even if you are in a relationship, or if your friends are available, there may be things you want to try that they’re not interested in. When that’s the case, there’s always the option of doing it by yourself. It’s not a good idea to allow others to dictate the experiences you get to have.
Third, sometimes a person just wants some alone time. Compromising is generally a good thing, but there are times when you don’t want to compromise. Also, other people can be exhausting (wonderful, but exhausting), and sometimes you just need a break from everyone you know.
Finally, alone time gives you the opportunity to reflect, re-center, recharge, and show yourself some love. You can reconnect with yourself, remind yourself of how great you are, and just care for yourself.
If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, it’s time for you to go on a solo date. And in case you’re wondering what you should do on your solo date, below I’ll share with you 12 ideas for solo dates.
12 Solo Date Ideas
If you’ve decided to give self-dates a try, here are 12 ideas for solo dates:
1. Coffee And a Book
There’s nothing better than walking at a leisurely pace around a bookstore, leafing through books that catch your eye, and then sitting down in a comfortable leather chair to read a few pages of those books that look promising.
If the bookstore has a café attached, that’s even better. Once you’ve selected the book you want, you can make your purchase and head on over to the café.
After ordering the warm beverage of your choice, you get to lose yourself in the book’s pages and spend an hour or two fighting racial injustice with Atticus Finch, walking the streets of 1960s Paris with Horacio Oliveira, or falling down a rabbit hole with Alice in Wonderland. Bliss!
Another idea is to set up a standing book-and-a-coffee date with yourself by getting a Book Subscription Box. You can choose to receive a classic once a month, a mystery novel, a dystopian novel, or any genre you enjoy reading. Then, each month when you receive your subscription box, grab the goodies inside, sit in your reading nook (which I assume you have), and read away.
2. Take A Cooking Class
Recently I came across a site called Master Class. It’s an online platform that offers courses on various topics, but with a twist: the classes are taught by the best in the world. Here are some examples:
- Take a photography class with Annie Leibovitz.
- Steve Martin teaches a comedy course.
- You can improve your writing with Margaret Atwood (I love her).
I’ve been toying with the idea of signing up, but haven’t taken the plunge yet. One of the classes that I’m really interested in is a cooking class with British cook Gordon Ramsay. In the class, Ramsay teaches you how to make several of the dishes he’s famous for, and one of those is lobster ravioli.
Just think about it: you serve yourself a glass of your favorite wine, and then you spend the evening learning how to make lobster ravioli. The coup de grace is getting to eat the meal you’ve prepared.
Of course, you don’t have to sign up for a Master Class to have a cooking solo date. You can get yourself a good cook book, find a recipe online that looks delicious, or ask a friend who knows their way around the kitchen to share a good recipe with you.
3. Go On An Active Date
I’ve written before on this blog about the importance of moving—movement is good for your mental, emotional, and physical health. A great idea for a date with someone else is to play a sport together, such as golf or tennis. You’re bonding and moving at the same time.
An active date is also a good idea for a solo date. One of the best activities you can do on your own is going for a bike ride. Go online and find a nice bike trail near your home, put on some comfortable workout clothes, grab your bike, head out to the great outdoors, and start pedaling.
4. Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
I spent a few years living in Costa Rica when I was growing up, and I remember that my mother had a close friend there who was going through a difficult divorce. Her kids were teenagers and on weekends they would go out and do their own thing, so she would often be left alone.
Instead of sitting around the house wallowing in self-pity, about once a month she would go to a tour operator and spend the day exploring a new part of the country. Riding around in a tour bus, or taking a walking tour of a section of your city that you’ve never been to before, is a great self-date.
5. Go to A Museum
Hanging out in an art museum for a couple of hours is an emotionally satisfying experience. Before going to the museum, visit their website and choose the area of the museum that interests you the most. Once you’re there, get an audio tour. With your headphones on it will be just you and the art work.
When you’re done contemplating the works of art, have lunch at the museum café. I always feel so chic when I sit at a museum café alone (I don’t know why).
Then, when you’re done having lunch, browse through the museum gift shop. Going home with a souvenir is optional, but highly recommended (even if it’s just a postcard of your favorite painting).
6. Go Street Combing
Street combing is a creativity technique that Dutch innovation consultant Richard Stomp came up with. It involves choosing an interesting street in your city and walking down that street with a camera taking photos of anything that catches your interest.
When you get home, look through the photographs and ask yourself questions like the following:
- What is the concept behind this picture?
- Why did I take it?
- What makes it interesting?
Take any ideas that you come up with after asking yourself these questions and apply them to solve any problems you may be having.
7. Go On An Artist Date
Lots of people are familiar with the term “artist date”. It’s a term coined by Julia Cameron in her book, “The Artist’s Way”. An artist date consists of a block of time set aside once a week which is devoted to nurturing your creative consciousness.
Here are some ideas for artists dates:
- Go to an art supply store and see what catches your fancy.
- Get yourself a recorder and learn to play a simple song (there are lots of tutorials on YouTube).
- Go to a flea market and see what treasures you can find.
- Grab a sketchbook and head on over to the park.
- Plant a container garden.
8. Go On A “Getting to Know You Date”
Just as one of the main purposes of going on a date with someone else is to get to know them better, you can use a solo date to get to know yourself better.
You can take personality tests, or you can ask yourself questions. Take out your journal and answer questions like the following:
- What do you believe is possible for you?
- What are your core values?
- Who is the most important person in your life?
- If you were told you will die in a week, what would you most regret not having done?
- What would a “perfect day” look like?
- What lies do you tell yourself?
- What do you need to feel safe?
- How happy are you, really?
- How do you think other people perceive you?
- What do you need to let go of?
9. Go On a Bucket List Solo Date
Here’s what you’ll be doing on this solo date:
- Take out your bucket list.
- If you don’t have a bucket list, make one.
- Pick an item from your bucket list.
- Go do it (because, YOLO).
10. Have a Hygge Solo Date
I’ve already written about hygge on this blog before. Hygge basically means to live cozily. A hygge solo date would consist of something like the following:
- Make some comfort food for yourself.
- Choose a film you really want to watch.
- Light some candles.
- Make your sofa as comfortable as you can: think cushions and soft blankets.
- Slip into the most comfy loungewear you own.
Now turn on the film, eat your meal, and just sink into the sofa and relax.
11. Have a Game Night
I love board games and puzzles of all types. Games area a lot of fun to play in groups, with another person, or alone. Here are some ideas for your solo game night:
- Get a jigsaw puzzle –choose a subject that you like (dogs, boats, castles, dragons, flowers, llamas. . .) and a level of difficulty that will be challenging but not overwhelming.
- Get a book of sudokus or KenKen.
- Get a book of chess puzzles, set out your chess board, and play the evening away.
12. Have a “My Favorite Things” Solo Date
What do you love to eat? What do you love to do? Have a solo date that involves devoting a whole day to eating your favorite foods and doing some of your favorite things. Look at the following:
- Are tacos at the very top of your favorite foods list? Have tacos for lunch.
- Do you consider eating ice cream to be heaven on earth? Stop by the ice cream parlor after lunch and get a cone of your favorite ice cream flavor.
- Is visiting the zoo one of your favorite things to do? Go!
- Catch a play, if that’s something you truly enjoy.
- Do you love sangria? Go home, whip up a batch of sangria, and serve yourself a glass. Cheers!
Who else, but you, would be willing to devote a whole day to doing your favorite things? What a great date you are!
So, where are you taking yourself on your next solo date? You can start small, if you’d like, and take yourself on more elaborate solo dates as you get the handg of it. Live your best life by taking yourself on solo dates.