Have you ever gone on a date with yourself?

Spending time alone can be scary – but if you get good at it, you’ll start to notice many benefits.

When you spend time alone, you don’t have to make conversation or worry about your partner’s feelings. After you get used to this alone time thing, you can spend time with your own thoughts. And you may soon realize that it’s been way too long since you’ve done this.

Our days are too often spent focused on the things other people want us to do. Unless you work for yourself, none of your time at your job is really your own. And when you’re with your partner or a friend, you’re creating a shared experience where you should both be happy with the result. This often comes with some compromise.

When you spend alone time, there are no compromises. In these moments, you are entirely free. And that’s a fantastic feeling.

Why is spending time alone so scary?

If you’re not used to spending alone time, the first time you go out by yourself might feel awkward.

This is primarily because we’re all worried about what other people think. You don’t feel awkward sitting alone in your living room, do you?

But as soon as you sit down at a restaurant table by yourself, you notice every glance that comes your way. You think they must be judging you. Or worse, pitying you.

In reality, you may get just as many glances when you’re out with someone else. You’re just preoccupied and maybe less self-conscious.

Even if you’re someone who doesn’t put a lot of weight into other people’s opinions, you’re probably going to grapple with it on your first solo date.

But here’s the deal…

You’ve got to get over it. Spending time with yourself is natural. And you should never let anyone else make you feel bad about it. Because in reality, most of your fears aren’t grounded in reality.

Someone at the next table probably isn’t spending their entire meal wondering why you’re alone. They’re probably not wasting a ton of mental energy feeling sorry for you. They may even envy you a little, but they likely won’t spend much time on that emotion either.

We’ve all got our own lives to live. And other people aren’t as concerned with yours as you might think.

How to spend alone time

So we’ve talked about why you shouldn’t fear alone time. But talking isn’t going to solve this problem instantly. You need to take action.

Depending on how you feel about alone time, you may need to take baby steps.

For example, if you have trouble sitting on your couch without turning on the television, start there. Try spending an afternoon reading a good book.

Once you’ve mastered that, sit at a coffee shop by yourself. Put your phone away and just enjoy your coffee. If you feel like you need to do something, take out your journal or finish that book.

For the next step, sit on a park bench by yourself. Just sit there and enjoy the world around you.

What you may find is that you eventually become more social. People are more likely to talk to you when you’re alone. If this sounds terrifying, just pop in some earbuds. For the most part, no one will bother you if they think you’re listening to something else.

The important part isn’t that you engage with strangers. It’s that you engage with yourself. And with practice, you’ll soon start feeling more comfortable on your alone time.

Ideas for dating yourself

Now that we’ve gotten past the awkward stage, it’s time to kick things up a notch.

Think about things you might enjoy experiencing solo. If you haven’t been on a solo road trip yet, that might be a good place to start. Travel by car to your favorite day trip destination, and you’ll get to see it from a new perspective.

Here are some other ideas for spending some alone time:

  • Movie theater
  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Paint night
  • Sporting event

When you get really comfortable with spending alone time, maybe you can turn that day trip into a solo vacation.

It’s easy to lose track of your own likes and dislikes when you’re always worried about other people’s needs. So spend some time alone and reconnect with yourself every once in a while.

Trevor McDonald

Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic who's been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.