Last August, buried deep in dread for the new school year, I was mindlessly browsing YouTube. I happened to click on a video put out by vlogger Dustin Vuong called “i took myself on a date since no one else would.” Dustin’s not the first to release a video like this — several other creators have uploaded clips of “self-dates” where they go out to restaurants, visit movies or watch sunsets completely solo. In my 11 p.m. slump, watching someone so at peace in their own company was my lightbulb moment.
So, the following morning, while most of my friends were still fast asleep, I was en route to my favorite coffee shop. I spent the morning with nothing but my favorite drink and a notebook.
Even as a hopeless romantic who feels insecure in the absence of others, I was content. Now I wonder: doesn’t everyone need a morning like this?
You deserve a self-date.
To me, a self-date is doing activities you love and visiting places of interest to you, alone. You don’t have to wait for a significant other to stargaze or visit the art museum. The idea is to build up comfort in your own company.
Self-dates aren’t complex, nor do they take much effort. Your relationship status doesn’t matter either — in fact, whenever I’ve fallen in the “taken” category, making sure I take myself out becomes even more important. Think about it this way: the relationship you have with yourself will exist your whole life. Why not prioritize that every once in a while?
Here’s some advice if you’re looking to go on a date with yourself:
Carve out enough time.
Realize that sometimes it’s okay to say no when friends are making plans. Clear a couple of hours to avoid winding up in an unpleasant hurry. After all, this should be relaxing.
Just because you’ll be alone doesn’t mean you should stay in sweatpants. Impress yourself — this is a look good, feel good situation. The more confidence you have in how you look, the better you’ll feel when you go out.
Leave the house.
This is what makes a “self-date” different from “self-care time.” There are endless coffee shops, museums and parks to visit. Yes, it will probably feel awkward at first to wander out in public on your own, but having the confidence to do so is rewarding. Maybe try a stroll in the Botanical Gardens, a quick stop at Kaldis, or a trip to your local thrift store.
Put down the phone.
This isn’t a time to be scrolling through social media or absorbing other online content. Would you be on your phone on a date with someone else? Hopefully not. If you’re wishing to busy yourself, I recommend writing. You’ve devoted this time to being alone, so let your inner dialogue and conversations rest on paper.
Keep your expectations reasonable.
Self-dates aren’t magic, and they take some getting used to. Maybe it helps to start small, whether that means catching the sunset for 15 minutes or even buying yourself some flowers. Keep searching for those rewarding solo adventures.
As Valentine’s Day wraps up, the self-love is only beginning. The next time a spare morning or afternoon rolls around, consider trying your own version of a self-date. Maybe you’ll find that the regular practice of doing small acts like this will help you fall deeper in love…with you.