Why is it that we so often get caught up in scrolling for our next match on dating apps, spicing up our romantic relationships, or maintaining our friendships that we forget the most important person through it all: ourselves? Ask yourself this: how many times this year have you actually thought about some solo date ideas? No, I’m not talking about a Trader Joe’s run (although it can be quite the self-care), but a real moment of dating yourself.
To some, this may sound absolutely outside of the box. How does a date work if it doesn’t have at least two people? This isn’t some ploy to force you to be anti-social, I promise. It’s a push to take better care of yourself, find your love language, and treat yourself accordingly. If that doesn’t convince you, remember this: If you spend your entire life waiting on other people, you’ll be waiting forever.
You know that cute cafe you’ve been eying for months now? Grab your laptop and just go. That trip to the West Indies you’ve been pasting on your mood board for the past three years? Buy that ticket and make sure you get a window seat. Although the journey may be terrifying—introverts, I’m talking to you—there is something absolutely magical in doing things alone. All it takes is a little push and a long bucket list.
Here are six solo date ideas that’ll have you clearing your calendar for the rest of the year.
1. Go to a Museum or Art Gallery
Connecting with history and art is as therapeutic as it gets. Head to your local museum or art gallery and lose yourself in it all. When you’re alone, you can stare at a piece or dawdle in an exhibit for as long as you want. Nobody is there to rush or ask for your commentary.
Use that time to think introspectively. How does the art relate to a similar experience you’ve had? Do you feel inclined to do more at-home research on a specific culture you came across? How do the brush strokes of a particular painting make you feel? Kudos if you head to a different city or state for this one.
2. Book a Yoga or Fitness Class
Working out with friends can be fun, but pushing yourself to do it alone can be extremely rewarding. Have you always wanted to try Pilates? Maybe hot yoga? Head to your nearest studio and start sweating!
Without being swayed by the commitment of others, you’ll be able to focus on your own goals and stay consistent, and you’ll be able to mold your regimen around your own schedule, too. Besides maximizing your flexibility, the intrinsic gratification you’ll experience will be much better than hearing a compliment from anyone else. And if you’re still wanting an accountability buddy, make friends at your gym or studio.
3. Have a Mini-Photoshoot
Ready to start your trek to 1M followers? Even if you’re not eying being the next big-time influencer, grabbing your camera and taking pictures of yourself is sure to be a confidence booster. How many times did you find the perfect background on a girls’ trip, but the pictures just weren’t turning out how you wanted? Take this time to figure out new poses, your best angles, and some of the most unbelievable locations.
4. Take a Cooking Class
We can all admit that ordering out always beats cooking in, but it doesn’t hurt to sharpen your skills. If you’re exhausted with your current rotation of meals, find a local (or online) class that caters to the cuisine you’re obsessed with or want to know more about. Besides being a great way to connect with family and loved ones, it’s an amazing way to constantly treat yourself. There’s no better feeling than knowing your recipe tastes just as good (if not better) than it does at your favorite restaurant.
If you’re out of luck with chefs that inspire you, Pinterest is always a faithful option. Here are some of my favorites that I’m sure you’ll fall in love with:
- Vegan Sloppy Joe Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Lemon Garlic Scallop Pasta
- Braised Short Rib Tacos (with Red Cabbage Slaw)
- Honey Garlic Shrimp
5. Get Dinner and See a Movie
Going back to the basics is always a great idea. Although there won’t be any moves by your date getting pulled on you (bummer?), it’s a great way to show yourself that these places aren’t only reserved for twos. For dinner, proudly request your table for one and bring along your laptop or journal if you feel uncomfortable. It’ll become easier the more you go.
If you’re an avid moviegoer or just an occasional one, challenge yourself to see a movie you haven’t heard of. The thrill just might be the beginning of your love for a new series, actor, or director. And who knows, you might even be pulling moves on yourself by the end of the night.
6. Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
For many of us, home is our happy place. The idea of going outside might seem unappetizing, but I challenge you to throw on your favorite outfit, put your phone on DND, and treat your city like foreign territory. Check out all of the hidden gems, try new restaurants, and support some small businesses. You never know what you’ll find.
If you’re really feeling up for it, walk, roller skate, or bike ride throughout your city instead of driving. Too many times we use our cars as shields to not have to really be within the city we reside in. Take a new path and put yourself completely out there. It’ll be worth it.