Everyone needs alone time now and then, even if they’re in a relationship. Not only is it impossible to be by somebody’s side 24/7, but it’s also unhealthy. And if you’re single already, dating yourself is a given — among other things, it’s healthy, and helps you get back in touch with yourself. But, all that said, there are certain dates that are better to do alone versus with somebody else.
“Self-care is really important, whether you are in a relationship or not,” Tyler Turk, Founder, Crated With Love, a monthly date night subscription box, tells Bustle. “My wife and I have been together for nearly 10 years, and I still make sure I go on frequent ‘self-dates.’ I find that having the opportunity to be alone allows me to unwind, clear my mind, and take care of myself.”
He also says that solo dates helps him work through thoughts and issues. “This can help me better understand my feelings and emotions, which is great for building self-awareness. It’s also amazing to see how much clearer the world is and how many small things you notice around you when you take some time to be by yourself.”
Of course, although many dates you go on with others can be turned into dates you go on yourself, some are definitely more suited for one person versus two. Here are some dates that are better to do alone.
- Take Yourself Out for TeaWhile tea parties with friends can be great, there’s also something great about going out for tea alone, especially if you discover a tea house that just opened or treat yourself to a fancy one in an elite hotel downtown. After all, you may not take yourself out on dates every day, so why not splurge now and then?
- Go for a WalkAfter my best friend/grandma, died, taking nightly walks helped me grieve, and I continue to do them now. They’re a great time to reflect — plus, the fewer people who are out, the more serene it is, making it the perfect setting to contemplate everything from interpersonal relationships to life goals.“I’ve been to sporting events, movies, and even treat myself to a sit-down lunch from time to time, but my favorite self-date is simply a walk around the block,” Turk says. “I do this about once a week, and having an hour or so to clear my head and escape whatever stressors are affecting me at the moment is very freeing. I always come back super motivated.”
- Head to the Planetarium or StargazeWhen’s the last time you visited the planetarium? If the answer is while on a field trip when you were in elementary school, that’s too long. The planetarium is the perfect place to zone out from the world and spend time with the person who matters most: You. If the weather is nice, you may want to head away from city lights and go stargaze outside, instead.
- Meditate or Do YogaA wonderful way to unwind is by meditating or doing yoga, and doing so alone is often more soothing. Yes, there may be fellow people in your meditation or yoga class, but you’re the only one responsible for the poses you do and the calm you feel as a result, which makes this an ideal date to do solo.
- See a MovieSitting in the dark alone is not only a great way to get away from the outside world, but also very meditative. And, since you cannot talk during the movie anyway, it makes for a perfect solo date. Jill Sherer Murray, an award-winning writer, TEDx speaker, and founder of LetGoForIt.com, a brand designed to help people let go for a better life, is also a fan of the seeing-a-movie-alone date. “I can see whatever movie I want, and without anybody else weighing in or their judgment,” she tells Bustle.
- Go ShoppingIsn’t it the worst when you and a friend or date go shopping, only to discover you had different shopping goals? Perhaps they just wanted to spend time together, but you’re on a mission to find a dress for your cousin’s wedding. So instead of having the one-on-one time they wanted, you’re spending more time in dressing rooms than by their side. That’s why shopping is better to do on a date with yourself, with no external pressure to make you rush through stores or conflicts over being in one store more than another.“It’s not necessarily about spending money, but about having the time to be mindful and to escape whatever else is going on in your life,” Sherer Murray says. “When I shop alone, it can be a nice afternoon in the city, where I’m browsing boutiques and little shops, and then stopping for a latte. Or, it can be a morning spent just looking at things, imagining how they are a reflection of either who I am, where I’m at in life, or who I’d like to be.”
- Get a Manicure and/or PedicureAlthough you may be used to going to your favorite nail salon with your friends, it’s a whole new experience to go alone. Whether you talk to new people sitting around you or catch up on a book you’ve been meaning to read, you’ll find it’s soothing to go get a manicure and/or pedicure solo. To switch things up even more, you can go to a place you’ve never been to before. If you want to combine your salon experience with meditation, there are also meditation-focused nail salons you can try, like the Namaste Nail Sanctuary in Studio City, CA or Chillhouse in NYC.
- Go to a BookstoreWhether you like name brand bookstores or used ones, they’re the perfect escape when you need some alone time. Plus, they’re the perfect solo date place. Not only can you browse titles for hours, but you can also read for hours, too. On top of which, many bookstores hold events, too, from cooking demonstrations to live music, so your solo date can be elevated to a whole new level.
- Have a Writing DateEveryone has thoughts swirling around their heads, and sometimes they need somewhere to go, like into that journal your friend gave you for your birthday that’s just sitting on your bookshelf. Though you can easily type into your laptop, I feel that writing dates are the most freeing when you write by hand, but you’ll have to see for yourself. You can write in a journal, write old school pen-on-paper letters to people, write gratitude lists, write down weekly, monthly, and yearly goals, you name it. The best part? You don’t have to be a writer to take yourself on a writing date.“I love to go to a coffee shop with my computer and write,” Sherer Murray says. “If you’re someone who has a hobby that can be done in a coffee shop — like writing, drawing, journaling, watching a movie, reading a book, working on music — spending time in a coffee shop can be very inspiring. I don’t know what it is about the music in the background, the hustle and bustle of people meeting and greeting, or just doing what you’re doing. It’s a great way to spend any time of day.”
- Have a Spa DayWhether you go to a spa or create a spa ambience at your house, having a spa day will not only help you de-stress, but it will also help you get more in tune with your thoughts and feelings. After all, what’s *not* relaxing about a hot shower or bath, soothing music, candles, the scent of lavender in the air, drinking water infused with fruit, and so on?“While it’s fun to visit the spa with friends, doing so by yourself can allow you to clear your mind, go inward, and foster creativity,” Antonia Hall, psychologist, relationship expert, and author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life, tells Bustle. “It will be a far more nurturing experience than if you had been making conversation with others all day.”
- Take a TripPersonally, as much as I adore my friends, I *love* traveling alone — I feel you discover yourself a lot more when you do so. Plus, when you think about it, you’re never truly alone since you’re bound to run into people along the way. For self-date purposes, if you cannot get away for days on end, you can always take a mini road trip to a neighboring city, even just for part of a day.“Traveling solo is a wonderful experience, which everyone should experience,” Hall says. “You’ll find that you meet people more easily, and more synchronicities can occur when you travel by yourself. It also allows you to set your own pace and your own agenda.”
Although you can do all of the above with a significant other or friend, I think they are dates that are better to do alone versus with somebody else. But, there’s only one way for you to find out — to try them for yourself.
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Jill Sherer Murray is an award-winning writer and speaker who studies relationships and self-growth. She is also the founder of Let Go For It®, a lifestyle brand dedicated to helping individuals let go for a better life. Jill’s TEDx talk as well as her advice column, Big Wild Love: Let Go For It® were created in service to her loyal and growing fan base, who seek support in the act and the art of letting go for the love they desire and deserve. Follow Jill @letgoforit on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.