Nov 10th, 2021, 12:47 PM

My journey through solo dating

By Sofia Quintero
Unsplash via The BlackRabbit
How taking myself on dates brought me independence, productivity, and confidence

When I first moved to Paris, I feared being on my own. Grocery shopping on my own or being free on a Friday night terrified me. I always had to be doing something with someone. I would ask my friends to come with me whenever I had to buy food and always found someone to have lunch with. I would go out on the weekends because I felt like I had to make sure I was with people and not alone in my apartment watching Netflix. The pandemic taught me that learning to enjoy our own company and have fun by ourselves is one of the greatest skills and important lessons life has to offer.

When I first began my hanging-out-by-myself journey, there were a couple of factors that were making me hesitate. I felt pretty confident going out to eat alone, but could I handle going to the movies alone? Thinking of this made me anxious. Would people think I’m lonely and sad? Evidently, I wouldn’t know if I never tried it.

Image Credit: Zalfa Imani/Unsplash

After the first lockdown, I went out on my first solo date when restaurants reopened, and summer was starting. At first, I felt the constant need to look at my phone, or look down at the menu. I felt funny sitting alone at a table for two. As time passed, I slowly started to use my phone less and less and found other ways to entertain myself as I waited for my food to arrive. I would people watch or look at the cars passing down the street and learn to be mindful and enjoy time with myself. There was something therapeutic about not using my phone, even just for 45-minutes, and it made my overall day much more enjoyable.

Having lunch on my own became one of my favorite ways to hang out alone whenever I had free time, and I will always thank Paris for that. Learning how to eat out by myself took me to try all the different sorts of activities I would usually do with someone else. Going to museum exhibits, gym classes, grocery shopping, and having an afternoon cocktail alone took me out of my comfort zone and made me enjoy the simplicity of being by myself. They gave me a sense of freedom and independence I had never felt before.

Image Credit: Ivars Krutainis/Unsplash

I got more excited about solo dates and wanted to try it out more. I learned that spending time alone increased my creativity, I found myself feeling more motivated and inspired with both my schoolwork and in my personal life. When we don’t have the need to interact with all the people all the time, we can ignore all the outside influences and focus inwards. Being alone with our thoughts gives our brains a chance to explore and flourish.

Another benefit I noticed was the recharge that being alone gave me. Research says that the peace and quiet of being unaccompanied can help us recover from daily stresses and worries. I find this to be completely true. Being with others can be exhausting and tiresome. When we have time for ourselves, we don’t have to impress others, act a certain way, or engage with anyone else at all.

Learning how to be on my own a couple of times a week taught me so much about myself and is something I would recommend to everyone. I am more independent, productive, and feel more confident in myself. Spending time alone also made me appreciate and thrive in social settings more. As the saying says, absence makes the heart grow fonder. All in all, I saw a positive impact on my mental health as I reduced the time spent on my phone and grew comfortable with my own company.