Relationships

Do You Take Yourself on Dates?

When I moved to New York, I went on lots of dates alone…

At first, I didn’t know many people in the city, and had to go it alone most of the time. It was lonely in the beginning, but it helped me to cultivate a love of my neighborhood and develop other favorite parts of town. The more I did it, the easier it was to do fun things alone. Not unlike dating another person, it’s a great way to get know yourself better and even learn about interests you didn’t know you had. Here are just a few of my go-tos:

The Broadway show
At the beginning of the year, I made a New Year’s Resolution to take myself to a Broadway show once a month. A dear friend had spontaneously gifted me a ticket to see Slave Play and another friend Venmoed me money to buy a cocktail at intermission. It was something I probably wouldn’t have done for myself, but after that experience, I will definitely do it again. It was wonderful to take in the show and afterward, silently mull it over on the train home. Plus, the audience that night was an historical all-black audience. By the end of the night, everyone was buddies with everyone else in their row. I enter the ticket lottery every week, crossing my fingers for my next show — up next: the new West Side Story and Moulin Rouge!

The rooftop picnic
When I moved into my current apartment, I went up to the rooftop and nearly cried. The view of the skyline was so beautiful that I started going up every night to watch the sunset. One evening, I decided to bring my salmon dinner upstairs with a glass of wine. Listening to the city quiet down and all the Mr. Softee trucks lazily roll down my street became the perfect soundtrack to my regular old weekday dinner. Dining alone will always make me think of this scene!

The cocktail and a book
I’ve always admired people who sat at bars solo with a book and their drink of choice. It made me think, “Why haven’t I ever done this?” So, one day after work, I went next door to one of my favorite neighborhood bars, and settled in at a candle-lit community table with a new read and a gin and tonic. It’s easily the best decision I’ve made in a long time. Why do I need another person to enjoy a drink at my favorite bar? Myself and my new novel were plenty company!

The day-saver
A couple summers ago, I experienced an apartment fiasco and had to get an Airbnb for the foreseeable future. A couple days later, after shoving all my belongings into my temporary room, I sat on the bed, defeated. I needed a break from logistics and figuring out the next step. Then suddenly I had a thought. “I’M GOING TO A MUSEUM”, I announced to the empty apartment. I went to MoMA and shut my planning brain off. Allowing myself that afternoon to relax and gaze at Picasso and Cézanne was the perfect remedy.

Where do you like to go on dates alone? I’d love to hear!

P.S. Do or don’t: dining solo and do you have a personal ritual?

(Photo of Frédérique Harrel.)

  1. I love to take myself on dates! I agree that it totally lets you explore your new city, and find things that really make you content- a great form of self care :) It is also fun to have these favorite places that you can take new friends to, or visiting family/friends. I think it is important for one’s mental health to do this!! I have for sure taken myself to a Broadway show, and really want to try your book and a bar date. Sounds perfect!

    xx Libby
    https://premedwearspearls.blogspot.com/

  2. When our first baby had severe colic I would go for a pint of cider at the bar on the corner and take my crossword book. I’d check in with my husband between pints and see if I had to go back yet :) After a long day with baby that screamed through most of it, I desperately needed that break and not having to make conversation with anyone was the best part!

  3. kiki says...

    yes!! I make it a point to take a PTO day from work once every three months or so to go to a movie matinee. I always order a glass of red wine, a small popcorn, and a caesar salad. I usually follow this with a bit of tipsy shopping in the neighborhood…and then I’m home in time for dinner with the family!

  4. Tierney says...

    I travel for work each week and often do solo outings in the cities I’m visiting. But when one of my favorite bands, the Lumineers, came to play on a work night in a new city, I almost passed up the concert because I didn’t want to go by myself– it seemed too much of a stretch. I finally talked myself into it and went– and ended up being “adopted” by a sweet group of teenagers sitting next to me, going down to the concert floor with them and dancing, and having the lead singer come out into the crowd and give me his guitar pick at the end of the concert. Better than any couples concert date I’ve been on!

  5. Alexis W. says...

    Reading this article made me realize I have been dating myself since college. I have less time for it now that I am a wife and mom but over the last three years, I have had to go to Manhattan from N.J. to see doctors fairly regularly. I always try to turn the doctor appt days into days where I get to do what I want in my favorite city. I’ve explored new museums, eating burgers alone at my favorite bar and taken long walks in Central Park. It always turns appointments I’m nervous about into days I look forward to!

  6. Brooke says...

    I lived in NYC one summer in college and felt super lonely most of the time. But one of my favorite memories was on a SUPER hot day, I went to see a matinee showing of Bridesmaids and laughed and ate candy by myself and felt so happy after. Since then, I’ve felt so comforted by seeing solo movies and prefer it to going with people!

  7. kellygabrielle says...

    I very solidly enjoy experiencing life solo and appreciate how I can observe the world — and its sights, smells, tastes, and sounds — in a way I’m unable to when accompanied by another person. I’m single, and 75% of my dates are ones I take myself on. Twenty-five percent are with friends or romantic interests (and this increases to only 50-60% when I’m in a relationship). In our extroverted society, this often feels fringe… but I’m glad to see from these comments there exists a thriving number of individuals who enjoy their own company.

  8. Amber says...

    I am rarely proud of myself but this is one thing that does make me proud and that is that I often go out on solo dates and have been doing so since my early twenties. I refuse to sit around waiting for a friend to be free to join me. If I feel like watching a movie I will take myself to the cinema. If I feel like eating out, I will do it. I always have a book in my bag! I have wandered through parks and museums alone and vacationed alone. Yes, it can be lonely sometimes but I think it’s important to enjoy spending time with yourself. In my case, I don’t seem to find it easy to make friends so developing my friendship with me has been important and, often, necessary.

  9. Amy says...

    I’m such a big fan of solo movie dates, especially the first screening of the day, if you can swing it. There’s usually very few people, mostly thriving retirees who also discovered the magic of the daytime pre-noon matinee. Often, you’ll be joining other solo movie goers, making the experience more enjoyable, like you’re all in it together. Most theaters will also have a discount prices for pre-noon screenings, which makes me feel less guilty about going by myself. Sometimes, I sneak in coffee and a pastry, which makes the whole experience all the more dangerous and exciting!

  10. Ramya says...

    I have always, always liked doing things alone – meals, drinks at the bar, museums, movies, exercise, you name it. After marriage and kiddo, I sort of lost the habit but have recently reclaimed it in full force. Now on the regular, I have a pre-school pickup margarita or two, book a babysitter for a solo fancy dinner and recently did a solo week by myself in Costa Rica. I can’t wait for my next solo adventure!

  11. Lara says...

    I once confessed to a guy that I would love to travel somewhere, but had no company, to which he replied that he once had a similar mindset, but then realised he would wait forever for everything to align with his friends and just went alone. And ever since then his words are what I would remember when feeling reserved about doing something alone. I used to be afraid to do anything without friends, fearing other people judgement mostly, and my first experiences travelling solo were rather miserable, constantly missing someone to share the experience with. But somehow with time I adjusted and started to cherish these solo experiences and even took them as sort of a challenge of how far I could push my boundaries. These days I am perfectly happy to go to movies, exhibitions, concerts, etc alone, even if dining solo is somehow still a bit intimidating at times. In fact, now it is sometimes even harder to have a date/meeting with someone else, as it then feels that the other person’s experiences take over mine, emotionally. Yet I look forward to explore and push the boundaries of these feelings too, hopefully with someone special, somewhen soon :)
    Thank you for sharing your experiences so openly, Kim! I really enjoy reading your perspective here on COJ.

  12. Emilia says...

    My recent self-dates have included the ballet, a Christmas concert, and exploring a different neighborhood in my city. The thing I love most about them is there’s no compromising – I’m free to do exactly what I want to do!

  13. Sarah says...

    This post and the comments are so inspiring. I’m terrible at dating myself. I get super anxious and self-conscious. I think it goes back to younger days when I felt like a target for unwanted advances by strange men. This year, I’ve made it a personal goal to see a movie alone – something I’ve never done in 41 years. I’ll be adding many of these ideas to my list as well!

  14. K says...

    I love doing a lot of things by myself – watching movies in theatres, eating out, shopping, crafting, etc. Especially being a mom of a young one and an introvert, time alone is so precious! People often offer to go with me and I actually prefer to just go alone! I need my Me time!

  15. When I went to NYC in October I got off the train from DC at 6:15, dropped my things at my hotel at 6:30 and then looked at my phone to see what was happening in Times Square (hah!). I saw ‘Hamilton’ and decided to walk over and see if they sold tickets at the window for no-shows (ya never know!). Well, I don’t think they do that, but they do sell standing room only seats and for $40 (I was 5th or 6th in line), I got a standing room ticket that I turned into a seated one ~15 minutes into the show when there were actual no shows and a few empty seats right in front of where I was standing. If I could do this for Hamilton, they’ve got to offer it for other places, right??

  16. lk says...

    oh the knitting store is a dreamy place to date alone- so many colors to see and textures to explore- dreaming about making so many things…. learning new stitches, chatting if I want with a likeminded yarn lover- the mind is active and at rest with creativity….. and no one waiting or rushing you …. It is my idea of the very best way to be one with yourself

    • Tiffani says...

      My daughter’s father and I split when she was 3 and I was intentionally single for the next six years. During that time, I got very comfortable doing things by myself. I went to movies in my own, took myself out to dinner, wandered book and craft stores alone and learned to turn going to the coffee shop into a lengthy, decadent occasion. It’s something I still do even though I have a wonderful partner now. As a matter of fact, I’m about to go to the coffee shop now to enjoy an hour or so of reading my book and not being asked for food.

  17. Elaine says...

    This article is very timely! I just moved to Singapore on my own, and have been planning out solo weekend lunches at fancy restaurants (and am about to head out to one in the next hour).

    While I am happy/content spending time on my own, I did get the side eye from my coworkers when I mentioned my weekend plans. Am happy to see that while they may think that I’m a billy-no-mates, there are a lot of us who enjoy solo dates!

    • Arlin says...

      Hi Elaine,

      I lived in Singapore for 5 years. I missed the food most especially. But it’s one of the places that’s totally explorable by foot. Happy to share some places if you’re up for it. :D

  18. Laura G. says...

    i think doing things by yourself is both such a wonderful treat and a wonderful skill to have! also, what thoughtful and generous friends to give you the theater ticket and the cocktail!

  19. cherise says...

    When I’m overwhelmed I’ll go see a movie at the local art house theater. I’m working up the courage to go to a local A+ restaurant bar with a book. I just don’t want to deal with some man coming up and bothering me but hopefully the bartender will have my back.

  20. Lara says...

    I’ve been noticing- when I was living by myself I used to go out on solo dates all the time. Multiple times per week I’d go read in a coffee shop or bar or park. Now that I’m living with my boyfriend though, my solo dates are always at home! If he’s gone or even just in the family room, I’ll hide away in the bedroom to read or watch a TV show or movie and it’s magical. I guess when it was just me I wanted to be alone with other people and now I want to be alone by myself!

  21. Joanne says...

    When I was about 12 I would go to the library and check out teenbeat magazine and go to a diner after order a plate of fries and a coke. Reading about hot boys over a plate of fries was so decadently wonderful. I still do this, but it is nowhere near as cool, reading home decor.

    • michelle says...

      OMG! This is so cute!

    • Emma says...

      You’ll have to start reading romance novels over a plate of fries. Hot fries and hot guys!

  22. Ken Carlton says...

    Nothing like an artsy foreign film to wrap up an intense work day. Great to escape for those 97 minutes or so and my wife is not always in the mood for an intense journey to Paris or Berlin or Tel Aviv (on screen) on a Friday night. The Quad, IFC, the Angelika and Film at Lincoln Center are particular favorites. Pairs well with a $2 bag of warm NYC street vendor honey-roasted peanuts. In fact, tonight feels like…

  23. B says...

    I lived in New York in my early twenties and made approximately $1250 per month. After paying $825 for rent and ~$200 for groceries, there wasn’t much left for extras. I worked in a bookstore and had Thursdays off. Those days became my “movie & a walk” days – I took myself to matinee showings and walked when I could (to save on subway fare and to explore new neighborhoods). Watching a movie in the middle of a work day always felt like luxury, even when I had very little. I look back now and am proud – in enacting that small ritual it seems to me that I was saying, “yes, I do matter” even during a time in my life when I often felt very small.

  24. 5339kln says...

    I’m happily married but I do this all the time and so does my husband. We even take trips this way – I alone on a city getaway, he alone on an outdoors adventure. This makes sense for us because of our differing schedules and interests. We then return home refreshed and inspired, appreciative of a spouse who makes allowance this way.

  25. Rachel Adrianna says...

    Even if I don’t go OUT on a date with myself, I have been putting in an effort on the days I either work from home or have to stay home on a weekend because of weather/ chores/ etc to put on an outfit I love, do my hair and makeup a bit, and look nice JUST FOR ME. Always a mood booster :)

  26. Angela says...

    What a beautiful post. This me makes me long for my childless and husbandless days…just kidding…not really…

    • susanna says...

      You need to call a babysitter and take yourself out! No need to be left out of all the fun!

  27. Dana says...

    When I was single, I loved football but didn’t have a TV or friends that were into football. I found a great neighborhood bar that wasn’t too rowdy and it became my “spot” on Sundays. I got to know the bartenders and often struck up a conversation with the person next to me. I look back on that time with such joy – I truly loved dating myself. :) Now that I have a baby and a 2 year old, I need to start doing solo dates again.

  28. J says...

    I take myself out alone a lot, which started similar to your story in that I moved to a new city and knew no one! I’m engaged now and while my fiance has a very active social life I’m still having kind of a hard time finding my own circle so I do a lot on my own. One of my favorite things to do is go sit at a bar on a slower weeknight with whatever book I’m reading and get glass of wine and french fries. :)

  29. Alexis says...

    This is such a great post! I also have many a solo adventure. I miss my solo dinners in NYC particularly because it does seem to be more a “thing” or at least there are more little corner restaurants with many an empty bar seat. I live in DC now and find it harder to find a restaurant with the right mood, or even an empty seat, or a clientele that will let me read and eat in peace (must be everyone’s love of networking here).

    One thing I also love doing by myself is going to concerts alone. This also started in NYC but I think is easy to do anywhere. Once I let go of the societal pressure to go “with” people to concerts, I realized I could sing along, shimmy, or simply stand there in peace without having to wonder if my companion was also enjoying themselves. You also become much more aware of the audience and you’ll be surprised at how many other folks are also by themselves! Hot tip – make sure your phone has a book on it while you’re waiting for the band to come on! Much easier to read on a phone in a dark venue. (is it clear how much I like reading yet?)

    Thanks for such a lovely post.

    • H says...

      I have started going to concerts alone since getting divorced and I LOVE it.

  30. allison says...

    i love this and am so happy to know other people do too <3

    my fiance will be out of town for work next week which also happens to be my 30th birthday. i decided i didn't want to get together with friends in his abscence and instead am weirdly excited to be alone for this big-feeling-birthday. i plan to treat myself to a nice meal at a new restaurant i've been wanting to try and celebrate all that got me here and all that's yet to be.

    • M says...

      Happy birthday Allison!

    • LK says...

      Happy birthday! xo

  31. Nina says...

    I’ve been going out a lot by myself recently, not really by choice but due to health problems and not being able to plan ahead well. I try to go places I don’t know well, just to see something different. What I like is that:
    – You can do exactly what you want, which feels luxurious.
    – You notice more than if you were with someone.
    – Seeing different surroundings can lead to great ideas, even epiphanies.
    – You can then report about what you discover back to others, making for interesting conversations.
    – Side benefit: Knowing your area comes in really handy when making smalltalk.

  32. Audrey says...

    I’ve been taking myself to the movies since college, and it’s my favorite thing to do alone. I don’t have to negotiate on what I want to see or share my snacks :) I also love sitting a bar alone with a nice glass of wine, a snack, and a book. I’m an introvert, but my husband and 4-year old are very extroverted. I really value time alone to recharge.

    thanks for sharing!

  33. Kelly says...

    I love taking myself out on dates – nobody else is going to do it right now. ? I also finally got to a point where I didn’t want to have to wait for someone to go with me (most of my friends are married with kids) and I was tired of missing out on things I wanted to do. I’ve seen Broadway shows, gone to museums, movie theaters, and I even went to a round of the PGA tour two years ago (I don’t even really like golf, but my dad had a free ticket he couldn’t use and I figured, why not? I ended up really enjoying it!). I haven’t conquered going to a sit-down restaurant by myself yet…maybe soon. ?

  34. Nicole says...

    YES!!! I love this. I dated myself for a year a number of years ago. It was wonderful. ;) I spent my 20’s living in NYC and learned to love dining solo and being with myself. (Tip: always have a Kindle, iPad or book with you.) Now in LA in my mid-40’s (and a husband and a teenager), I still cherish my solitude.

  35. Annie says...

    My husband and I have young twins (constant work) and try to give each other alone time whenever possible, but it often turns into doing things for the family – running errands, grocery shopping, etc. Once, though, my husband insisted that I take a day to myself while on vacation, to do whatever I wanted. It was amazing – there was nothing to do but enjoy myself and no one else to please! It’s something we do on all trips now, for both of us. In Europe I’ve taken trains to nearby cities, in New York I took myself shopping and out to lunch, and I try to always get to a museum or gallery. With small children it’s so easy to get caught up and forget who you are, and those small moments alone, with no one to please but yourself, make all the difference.

  36. Tricia says...

    On crazy work days I sometimes take a lunch alone to a quiet Mexican restaurant and enjoy chips and guac and a giant margarita mid-day. It’s relaxing and like a secret way to “party” when the world is harsh and too serious.
    Kim, could you share your roasted salmon/sweet potato/brussels sprouts recipe sometime? :) thank you!!

    • freya says...

      THAT is awesome.

    • Grace says...

      This sounds delightful. I need to implement this into my life.

  37. alexis says...

    I took a night off by myself to sit at a bar and read a book. I ordered a whiskey cocktail and the perfect cheeseburger and didn’t have to share my fries with anyone, and there were two other solo ladies at the bar near me, also enjoying their books (and one of them ordered the same cocktail I did). It was such a sanity-saving, luxurious evening and even just remembering it makes me feel less stressed. Must do it again soon!

  38. Claire says...

    I love going on self dates to botanical gardens, conservatories and nurseries! I can geek out over the plants as long as I want and not worry I am boring my companion. They typically have nice cafes with good coffee or even wine, gardening related books and very unlikely you will run into weird dudes who want to hit on you. All wins in my book.

    • Kathryn says...

      Dream day!

    • Love this!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      love this!

  39. Emilie says...

    I really enjoy going to the movies by myself. There’s a little one-screen independent theater right near my house and I’ll often go to see whatever’s playing while my husband is home with our toddler at night. Immersing myself in another world (with popcorn!) totally refreshes me for my regular work plus childcare life! It feels luxurious.

    • megs283 says...

      I’m considering doing this, tho of course I’m not interested in any movies this weekend! I was single until I was 26, and up until that point I went on solo “dates” All. the. time. Dinner, sitting at a bar! Museums, museums, museums! Strolls along the mall (I lived in DC). Since getting married in 2011, and having kiddos, I rarely get out alone anymore.

      Too pressed for time…but it would still be nice, once in a long while. :-)

    • Lara says...

      I love solo movie dates!

      I also love taking myself to brunch on a weekday morning and coffee shops on weekend mornings. I’m a huge fan of solo traveling too.

  40. c says...

    As an anxious person, I really haven’t pushed myself to do many things alone (though I love the idea). I just marked my calendar for a Friday in March where I will take the day off just to do whatever I feel like doing. So far I’ve just booked a facial, but I also plan to take myself to lunch :)

    • Peony says...

      Have a great time!

  41. Maggie says...

    I much prefer going to museums alone. There are always parts I want to skim over and places I want to linger, and when I’m on my own I can do just what I want. The first time I went to a museum on my own was when I studied abroad in Madrid 15 years ago – my friends had all already been to Reina Sofia so I took myself and spent maybe a half hour just staring at Guernica. I was so happy not to be rushed. As an adult, I have certain holidays as a government employee that my friends and husband don’t get – perfect time for museum trips!

  42. Lorraine says...

    i was reading this last night while sitting alone at an electronic artist show, waiting sleepily for the headliner. as a working mom with two littles, i can’t describe how amazing it felt to reconnect with myself at a show in this way (despite the sleepiness). i often make short stints of alone time at cafes, restaurant countertops. but being in a rarely visited setting reminiscent of my old self, out of the context of the daily grind, was such a reminder that this is still a part of me that needs attention. suffice to say i was fully awake for the beautiful set and it was so worth it, and i’m still buzzing, will be for days. my husband always says – the kids need to see this refreshed joy from mama, it’s good for me and the whole family too.

    i also have to say, this is made even more possible in the age of ride sharing. the venue was on a dark street in brooklyn, and i could not imagine myself schlepping back to NJ pre-rideshare – i probably wouldn’t have gone out.

  43. I take myself on dates all the time! I also sketch wherever I go for work (@ramblingsketcher on instagram if you’re interested) so sometimes a day of work walking around the city and painting can feel a lot like a date with myself! Also do museums, movies, shows, and even travel solo. While it can be nice to have a buddy, it’s also nice to not have to answer to anyone else and to have the opportunity to decide exactly what you want to do at any given moment. It’s an underappreciated luxury.

    • Lindsey says...

      Holy crap! The name ramblingsketcher is so loose and lighthearted that I did not expect to see such a SERIOUS talent! I’m excited to follow your Instagram!

    • Thanks so much! I’m glad you’re enjoying! ?

  44. Katie Loeffler says...

    Just bought myself tickets to two local concerts and I can’t wait!

  45. When my son was around 2-3 years old and we lived in New Jersey (transplants from California), for about a year, once a month, I would take him into NYC, drop him off at my husband’s office and pick a neighborhood to explore alone for most of the day. Wandering, window-shopping, lunch, afternoon tea, museums, Central Park – it was the best ever. I got some much needed time to nurture the non-mom part of myself. And my son got to spend an afternoon at Daddy’s work. He played under the desk, watched cartoons, and was doted on by the assistant.

  46. Kate says...

    I recently tagged along with my husband on a business trip to Savannah, GA. While he was in meetings all day and night, I explored the city by myself. I made dinner reservations for one and had the salad, entree, AND dessert. I ate lunch at communal tables with retired couples from upstate New York who invited me to get midday drinks with them afterwards. I toured historic homes and perused old book stores. I read two books in four days. I returned home to my two-year-old feeling refreshed, grounded, and much more aware of my own needs. It’s one of the best vacations I have ever taken.

    • Alina says...

      Once a year my husband attends a specialty conference held in a different city every year and I try to tag along. I love the days exploring the cities by myself. Museums, bookstores, lunches and yoga classes. And then in the evenings we go out together. Such fun trips! :)

    • Joy says...

      That sounds WONDERFUL.

  47. jules says...

    I loove to take myself on dates to the drive in! One year it was a three movie showing of all Will Ferrell comedies so I stopped at the store first to get myself a bag of white cheddar popcorn and family size Rollos. I sat in the front with the seat reclined, speakers in both windows, and laughed at all the inappropriate humor. It was a great night.

  48. Annie says...

    I’m delighted by this post, Kim, and I like your moxie. :) Solo dates are wonderful — dinner at the bar with a New Yorker magazine — and even better when that solitude allows me to look up from what I’m reading to make conversation with strangers. One of life’s joys is walking into a neighborhood restaurant and getting to know the people working there.

  49. Ximena says...

    A while back, when I was single and living in the city, the company I worked for had Friday’s off. Every Friday, after work I had the afternoon to myself and I always made a point to spend it doing something for myself, like having a lovely lunch with a book, going shopping or taking an afternoon yoga class… I miss those Friday afternoons to myself :)

  50. Courtney says...

    I’m a teacher and mom of a two under three. It is so rare that I get a moment alone, but there are like TWO random bank holidays all year where I am off school, but I can send my kids to daycare. THE MINUTE I drop them off, I take myself to a 9 am movie and it’s always the best.

  51. Hayley says...

    Love this so much! New York is the best city for this too. I used to take long, meandering walks for hours after finishing work on the weekends, around 5 or 6 (when I lived there). I’d start in the West Village and wander through SoHo and Tribeca or through Chelsea and into the East Village. It was the best and I got to know my way around the city (without a map) so well. My favorite thing to do was gaze inside all of the beautiful apartment windows!

    I used to have qualms about eating by myself, but discovered the bar at Buvette is actually BEST enjoyed solo, preferably with a glass of rosé and a croque monsieur. Such a great view, wonderful people watching and taking in the buzz and hum of all of the restaurant is fun. :)

  52. CD says...

    Hi Kim,
    Not sure if you like musicals but I recently saw two that were unbelievably great so I thought I’d pass them along…

    Come From Away (a remarkable true story about a small town in Canada whose townspeople rallied to welcome thousands of plane passengers that were rerouted there from around the world when US airspace closed on 9/11)

    Sistas (off-Broadway but in my opinion just as good! the story of African-American women told through snippets of songs BY African-American women, from India Arie to Bessie Smith to Whitney to Beyonce and many many many others….so so good!)

    • Christy says...

      These sound wonderful, CD! Thank you for the tips.

    • Katie says...

      I was also coming here to recommend Come From Away! I used to work in theatre and still see a ton of shows, and it’s my favorite thing on Broadway right now. (Yes, that includes Hamilton. I’ve seen Hamilton twice and Come From Away three times and I only rarely go to see a show a second time). Its amazing, you will have all the emotions. Bring tissues.

    • Lisa says...

      CD, I love your first recommendation. I have not seen it, however, my sister was one of the rerouted passengers on September 11, and I will never, ever stop being grateful to the people of Newfoundland who took her in as if she were their own. At an absolutely horrendous and terrifying time, they were a true light.

    • SARAH says...

      Agreed— Come From Away is such a good story!

  53. Ashley says...

    Rather than think of them as personal dates, I more throw myself a birthday-party-for-one every year on my half-birthday. No one has expectations of doing anything with you on your half birthday, so I take the day off and do exactly what I feel like doing to celebrate and treat myself. Let’s just say it usually includes donuts and massages.

    • liz says...

      I was just about to comment that I love this idea when I realized that TODAY is actually my half birthday! haha — anyway it’s always worth taking a day to chill/have fun if you can

    • Jessica Melindy says...

      As I often take myself out to lunch on my actual birthday, I also love this!

    • Liz says...

      Stealing this idea!!!!

  54. Elizabeth says...

    I used to go see movies by myself all the time when I was in grad school. It was SUCH a treat. I would get the kids’ option of a small popcorn, drink, and candy, and more than once I would be the only person in the movie theater, as I would tend to go in the middle of the week in the middle of the day. LUXURY!

    Also a big fan of reading alone at a bar. Glass of red wine and a book…again, LUXURY. I’m a big proponent of truly noticing and taking pleasure in the small things, and these little moments where you treat yourself in solitude to something society typically reserves for social outings is a great way to find joy in small moments.

  55. Kristin says...

    I love doing things by myself! Maybe it’s an only child thing? My husband and I use to live in London and he started his job immediately while it took me two moths to find mine. During that two months I was alone from 9-6, M-F. I would search for positions I liked for a few hours every morning and send our resumes and then in the afternoon I would wander around London, hop on the tube or bus, and go to every museum and historic site I could find.

    We also traveled to Japan together and my husband had to work just about every day we were there (we had two free weekends thankfully) and I ran around Tokyo site seeing, took myself to Kyoto, and hopped on the train to Kamakura. Of course I wish he was able to come with me, but I still had a fabulous time solo.

  56. Sally says...

    I’m long-term single, with no intention of changing that status any time soon, and I constantly take myself on dates. Although I haven’t ever thought of them like that, I see it more as taking myself to do things I want to, whether that’s my Saturday morning coffee shop breakfast, or my quarterly trip to London for shopping and a show.

    I hear a lot of people who say, “Oh I could never go to the cinema on my own!” Or, “I could never go to the theatre on my own!” But honestly, if you’re single, you might wait a life time for someone else’s schedule to match up with yours! I’ve never felt weird or uncomfortable about doing stuff on my own. I’m just out there, living my life, and doing things that make me happy.

    • Katherine says...

      This sounds like me! I am long term single, and used to worry about things like the cinema etc. However, I often feel when I do go by myself rather than with friends etc I get more out of the actual cinema part-I become more engrossed, or if I am eating alone I really pay attention to and enjoy my meal, or I can linger over the paintings I want to in a gallery. I find it great, and hope that other single people out there don’t miss out on things they are able to do by themselves.

    • Dan says...

      I 100% hear you!
      I don’t think its a solo date, it is just the way life is.
      I don’t want to wait for a plus 1…I may miss out all together.
      And I will never understand why people can not go to a movie by them self… I mean you are sitting, watching in a dark room. Why do you need someone there…
      I love that I can do what I want, when I want… or I can decide to do nothing at all.

    • b says...

      YES! I’m also long-term single and don’t have any friends local to my city. My BFF lives in another state so I’m often flying solo.

    • CS says...

      Good for you all! I think it is so smart to do what makes you happy and not wait around! Life is short. Learn to enjoy your own company and you won’t ever be lonely.

  57. I do!
    Movie and ramen.
    Museum and lunch.
    Ballet.
    All the different things.

  58. I love seeing movies alone, you can sit wherever you want in the theatre (I like to sit almost exactly in the middle of the theatre if possible) and no one else can steal your snacks.
    Last year I was in Sydney for volunteer work and I had a whole day to myself before the event so I left the hotel early and checked out museums, markets and ate when I felt like it, then came back to the hotel and ate chocolate in bed while watching a movie. I was daunted at first by being in a big city as a single women but I really enjoyed it and I always look back on that day fondly.

  59. Jessica says...

    I love this post! When I was in college I ended up living alone for a year, and the experience became a defining moment in my life. I really got to know myself by doing things like eating out alone and going to the movies alone. I would recommend it to anyone, and I am so happy to see you discuss it on CoJ.

  60. A. N. says...

    yeeeees, i love doing this. i have 2 young kids (4 year old and 1 year old), work a full time job, and have a husband who travels frequently for work, which means solo parenting about 40% of the time. so, i love having some time set aside juuust for me. every few months, i will take a friday off work, send the kiddos to daycare still and spend the day dating myself – bike ride, park picnic if it’s nice out, midday cocktail and a book somewhere pretty swanky/new, or a museum and lunch going as slow or as fast as i want through all the exhibits! it’s the best.

  61. Joey says...

    I am not single but I go out on my own quite often – not everything I like is his cup of tea and vice-versa. I’ve gone to theatre, cinema, exhibitions and concerts on my own more time I can remember. I also travel a lot for work, so I always try to take advantage of that and go visit places or dine on my own. I love it.

  62. S. says...

    I’ve always loved solo dates. I spent a good chunk of my twenties single and living in a Big City, and I used to take myself to dinner, or a movie, or a cool new café all the time. Heck, I travelled solo, too, and have really fond memories of my times in Portland or New York (one of my comments on CoJ re:a solo lunch featuring delicious truffle fries + a David Sedaris book that made me laugh so hard I cried was even featured on the weekly selection ;)) I’ve now moved to a much Smaller City for a new job but also because I met someone – the love of my life, I think. We’re certainly in the honeymoon phase and all but live together and I’m craving alone time so much. In those times, I really miss Big City; of course, there are restaurants and cafés and movie theaters here but somehow, it doesn’t have the same exciting “any could happen-ness” of my former outings. Man, I miss it! Could be a good goal for 2020, though… Try and find that magic again.

    • H says...

      I remember your David Sedaris comment! :)

    • b says...

      Small cities are magical. There are so many hidden gems.

  63. despina says...

    Yes, I do it all the time. Dressing up or down and drinking while crowd-watching or reading outside the walls of my apartment is one the nicest things for me. I like feeling the energies of other people around me while I’m doing my own thing. It also builds your confidence.
    I really liked your article, Kim. I’m glad you are here
    Greetings from Cyprus

  64. Ashley O. says...

    I take myself on dates all the time! I’m 25, single, and work the overnight shift at a local news station. It’s hard to find a time when both my friends and I are free so, instead of waiting around for a buddy, I explore my city on my own. I value that time with myself a lot. It helps me gain clarity or take my mind off things. I love visiting Zak the Baker, watching a matinee movie in an empty theatre, or testing out a new recipe at home!

    • S says...

      Zak the Baker!!! Oh so so good! Makes me so happy to see his name here!

  65. Ceridwen says...

    These all sound nd like excellent ideas. I’ve been craving some time alone lately. I’m rarely alone. I think I’ll add in some of these things. Going to a museum alone sounds perfect. There is a creperie I walk past every day and I think how I’d love to stop in on my way home from work one day. This post has inspired me to do it.

  66. Fani says...

    As an introvert, I’ve always enjoyed going out by myself during the day for shopping, enjoying a cup of coffee or wine, walking through the park and sitting on a bench with my latest book but most of all, visiting a museum. I love museums but my family doesn’t, so I actually prefer going alone else I have to hurry through the exhibits so they don’t get bored. Lately though, I also started going out at night by myself to watch the shows I like and my husband or friends aren’t interested in. After a fiasco 6 month ago where I paid 200 euros for 2 tickets at the ballet and my husband hated every minute of it, I decided to stop wasting his time and our money. The first time I went alone to a dance show, I realized that not only I wasn’t the only single person there, but it was also very liberating not having to worry if my date was enjoying himself or not. Yesterday I booked a ticket for a music performance to go on my own in 2 weeks and I’m looking forward to it! My husband who’s an extrovert is baffled because to him there’s nothing worse than being out on his own, but for me having alone time is actually a luxury, not a hardship :)

    • Katie says...

      My husband double-fisted beers at the Nutcracker (in Boston’s beautiful Opera House, oy) and said the only redeeming part of the whole ballet was the bear. I hear ya, sister.

  67. Wmom says...

    I live in Hawaii, so I love to go to the beach by myself. I bring a book. I will read, swim, write in my notebook, drink a little wine from a flask. I have three kids and a husband and a teaching job… so beach time such a decadent pleasure and the price is right.

  68. caitlin says...

    Solo dates are the. best. A night in with burrata, fixins, wine and a Very Serious Probably Sad Movie? Yes please. A magazine and lunch at the fancy restaurant that’s cheaper at lunch? Hell yeah. An afternoon at Barton Springs and a smoothie after? Yeeeeeeahh, I’m down!

  69. K says...

    I love mini-dates by myself. My husband and I have a general policy of seeing new/temporary museum exhibitions together but splitting up for an hour to see what we want from the permanent collection. It’s really fun to have some solo museum time and talk about what we each chose to see after.

    I also love picking up takeout at a neighborhood place and having a drink while my order is prepared. I’ve learned how to make my favorite Manhattan, learned about fun new cocktail ingredients, and just watched the weird 80s movies that they play on VHS while waiting for an easy dinner.

    Once upon a time I had many dates with myself and even solo international trips, for now I am happy to grab some hours or even fractions of hours on my own and learn something new each time.

  70. Debbie says...

    I really appreciate your voice and perspective, Kim. It is a breath of fresh air and I especially enjoyed reading about the historical black audience shows in The NY Times article you cited.

    This article is so timely for me. Thank you for these wonderful ideas suggestions Kim and CoJ readers!

  71. Cali says...

    When I was pregnant with my first I worked decently close to the National Gallery. A few times I took an extra long lunch to go to the museum and peek at the amazing flowers and art. I don’t really know why I waited until I was pregnant to take advantage of such an easy lunch date but I’m so glad I did!

  72. CS says...

    I have a haircutting appointment on Saturday. I was thinking of it as a bit of a chore. After reading the post and comments, though, I might think of it as a little date with myself. That’s so much more fun, so why not? Maybe I’ll go to a bookstore first. :)

  73. SB says...

    I do love alone time, but as a perpetually single thirtysomething who works odd hours, I try and spend as much time as possible with family and friends, rather than by myself. Often if I want to do ANYTHING I know I’m gonna have to do it alone. As all my friends are getting married and having kids, I’ve been seeing less and less of them and spending even more time on my own. It’s nice to have freedom and independence, but also incredibly lonely. It seems many of these comments are from people who have partners and children who they can then turn to when they don’t want to be alone. Not all of us have that, and as much as I love CoJ, it does seem that the comments section for all of the posts (especially the ones that are supposed to highlight single life!!!!) unintentionally turn into a big old humble brag session.

    • Claire says...

      Thank you for articulating this! I’ve felt quite isolated since finishing school and having to end a 10+ year friendship that was more hurtful than supportive. With friends moving to different cities and many others living with significant others, I find that doing things alone is my only choice if I’m going to do something at all. There just isn’t always a person to do something with.

      I’d love to hear from someone who is single, has recently moved somewhere, or wants to expand their social circle. It’s hard to motivate myself to go out and do things (depression further complicates it), and I’d like ideas for building my confidence. I’ve traveled alone for months, so I know how to do it, but it still feels hard!

    • Irene says...

      I agree!

    • Ashley O. says...

      I hear ya! I’m 25 and work the overnight shift at my local news station. While I do enjoy running errands on my own, sometimes you just want the company of loved ones. Try to work with your family and friends! Obviously they have their own things going on, but just their presence can be enough. Ask if they need help with anything during your days off. I sometimes hang out with my friend and her twins at home and it’s just as nice as a day out!

    • blandine says...

      Humble brag? I think that’s a bit harsh
      Going back to the article, Kim seems to be describing snippets of single life, not getting away from an intense family life. If this article is not for you, maybe you could focus on the articles who discuss how to find more time with friends, how to make more friends, how to be more engaged in your community. A lot of articles in here do not relate to my personal situation at all but it does not put me off.

    • Amelia says...

      I can see where you’re coming from, but I don’t think that’s the spirit in which the comments from married posters were offered. I’m also single and I read more of a “the grass is always greener on the other side” kind of vibe in them — some were saying that they still have to do the things they enjoy solo even with a partner/children coz of a divergence in interest, and some were looking back wistfully on their single days wishing they still had the same amount of footloose and fancy-free time all to themselves. I could be wrong but I’d venture to say that you feel it’s a humble brag because it feels like they’ve attained something you’ve not managed to do — something I can totally relate to! But it’s not really an us vs them situation (singles vs marrieds). If all the comments have shown me anything it’s that the human condition is universal and that marriage alone is no innoculator against loneliness.

      But above all I’d caution against the misconception that many singletons have (including myself until I found my brilliant therapist), that they just have to cross the invisible finish line into wedded bliss, and then they’d never have to feel alone or lonely again. My bestie got married two years ago and her husband travels a LOT for work, so much so she’s confided that it often feels like she’s still single! Tbh I don’t think either of us were prepared for that possibility. Just goes to show, you can never really know what other people’s relationships are really like.

    • Michelle says...

      You are exactly right. I mean this hits you differently if you’re single. I mean it’s great when you can enjoy time to yourself and then go home to a significant other as opposed to just being alone all over again when you get home. I feel you girl!

    • Mal says...

      I have been where you are. My husband and I chose not to have children so in our early to mid 30s, when all our friends were having children it felt quite isolating not being invited to get togethers because we did not have kids. So we found new friends, new interests…kept up with cultural events ( not hard here in San Francisco). Fast forward to present day and all those friends who were “too busy with the kids” are now contacting us due to ” empty nest syndrome”. Of course, too much time has passed and we have different life from them plus we don’t trust them because as soon as grand kids come we suspect they will again drop us like a hot potato! So keep going out and enjoying new people, places, etc,. You won’t regret it.

    • L says...

      Saying that you’re married is not bragging!? I understand that when you’re single, finding love or getting married can feel like a goal, but really, I don’t think it is / should be. Honestly, i’m married myself, but it is not making me happy. And trust me, there are a LOT of unhappy marriages out there. As a matter of fact, in my early forties, most marriages I know don’t look like anything to brag about.

  74. Christina says...

    I love Freddie Harrel!!!

    Can we see a week of her outfits/ her beauty guide?

    • Natalia Cooper says...

      I’d like to second this request!

  75. Taylor says...

    When I used to live in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, my favorite thing was load up all my laundry at the laundromat on Atlantic Ave and then head to one of the restaurants down the street to have a solo dinner and drink at the bar with a book. Then I could go dry and fold happily sated. :)

  76. Marcella says...

    Love doing things alone (as an INTJ!). I really learned to flex this muscle during study abroad in college – I used to just wander around for 2 hours by myself since my roommates were usually doing things I didn’t really want to do, so I’d go eat by myself, wander around the river, hang out in the plaza solo. It’s something I need to do more often now. I live alone so I spend a LOT of time by myself which I know I will miss later on in life so I’m trying to hang onto it as long as possible :)

  77. Stephanie says...

    One of the best things I ever did in my twenties was learn to love being by myself. There’s a difference between being alone, being single, and being by yourself. Learning how to enjoy being by myself completely erased my fear of being alone or single. I still remember the first time I went to a restaurant by myself. I sat at the bar, ordered wine, pasta, and a tiramisu and realized: I get to eat all of my favourite things and I don’t have to share or compromise my selections. I’m married now, and I find myself looking forward to days when my husband’s away so I can really be by myself. On those nights, I crack open a bottle of nice champagne, eat my favourite Zapps Voodoo chips, and celebrate ME. Unsolicited marriage advice, though: find you a spouse who will order the other thing you were eyeing on the menu. It makes sharing a joy.

    • Jill says...

      Even better: find you a spouse who’ll let you eat off their plate/share their fries with you without any expectation of or desire for reciprocity! Win! ?

    • Stephanie says...

      Couldn’t agree more, Jill!

  78. E says...

    An unexpected day off work once led to an afternoon where I got (accidentally) day-tipsy and sobbed through the matinee of Call Me By Your Name. Then I went for a long walk. Still think back on that day fondly, and often – and I was all alone!

    • Katherine says...

      That sounds like a truly great day.

    • Lisa says...

      I envy this day.

  79. Dani d says...

    Museums, breweries, and movies are my favorite solo dates. In my area, there is a theatre that has $5 movies and 1/2 priced popcorn, so If I see a movie Ilike, zi go there; from Sept.-June’s, there is hardly anyone there.

    With museums, it’s can be just as nice seeing it with someone as it is alone in case you can’t find someone.

    With breweries (and/or wineries), just bring a book/ebook/articles to bring, and it’ll be ok to enjoy a refreshment while catching up on reading. If the vibe seems good though, and you think you can mingle, why not; sometimes I went in with something to do but the crowd was so cool/open, I ended up talking to others rather than just enjoying it solo (but if you wanna do it solo, bring In reading material).

    • b says...

      I love going to museums solo because then I can take as long as I want. I love to read about the art and the artists. If I go with my parents, we rush through and are done in thirty minutes.

  80. Becky says...

    This past fall I took myself out for the day and filled it with everything I love. I went into Boston and photographed The North End, walked around Salem and photographed the crowds dressed for Halloween, went to Sonic (a huge treat for this healthy eater), and then for the grand finale, I walked our local beach just for the purpose of being surrounded by happy dogs playing in the sand and water. And of course I photographed. A whole day of photographing, not planning anything but being in the moment, was heaven.

  81. Brooke says...

    I grew up as an only child and luckily, I don’t mind doing things on my own. I’m single as well, albeit with a great girlfriend group, and so I find myself eating out alone without any hesitation. Also, I travel for work both around the U.S. and overseas and I find that gives one the perfect excuse to be out alone – because what else are you going to do? Stay in your hotel room? I will actually schedule an extra day or two (hello NYC or Amsterdam) after my business is complete to just take in the cities I get to travel to. It’s such a great time because I can do the things I want to do. It feels so decadent!

  82. Rachel says...

    Thanks for this reminder. I was widowed a bit over a year ago and I have two kids. I’ve been making more time of late to get out with friends, and even go on the occasional date. But I should treat dates with myself as equally precious and hire a sitter or send the kids to my mum for those too!

    • blandine says...

      Sounds like you are doing splendidly!

  83. Amy says...

    I have a job that requires a lot of solo travelling. Most nights, I’ll have take out or room service and just veg back in the hotel room with the TV on. However once in a while there’s a restaurant that I actually want to go to like the ones that are featured on TV as « must eat places ». In those cases, I’ll sit at the table, take some selfies (as proof that I was there!) and just order everything. While stuffing my face I imagine myself being interviewed about the food :)

  84. Anonymous says...

    It’s interesting to me that so many comments about loving solo time are coming from happily partnered people. When we have a constant companion (and maybe kids too) we take the company for granted and luxuriate in time alone. I’ve been married for 11 years and while I’d most often choose to hang out with my husband, I get really excited when I have opportunities to do something nice by myself.

    Reading this post and the comments has been a reminder to me to also luxuriate in the company of my partner and have more focused gratitude for something I take for granted. And I hope it’s an encouragement for single people to note that partnered/parenting people adore solo time when we can get it, a luxury that not everybody has!

    Another magic Cup of Jo post that was both affirming to read and caused some reflection on both sides of the question at hand. xx

    • Joy says...

      “Reading this post and the comments has been a reminder to me to also luxuriate in the company of my partner and have more focused gratitude for something I take for granted. ” <<<< YES. Thanks for pointing that out!

      I often think of the saying: "Remember when you wanted what you currently have."

  85. Alexandra says...

    Thank you so much for saying that, makes me feel less weird. I am also a wife and a mom, and I do a lot of things by myself, because my husband has different interests for the most part (we do have a happy marriage though for the most part …) Enjoy your little adventures!

    • Jill says...

      Same!!!! Exact same!!

      Before I got married I thought we’d be spending all the weekends brunching, furniture shopping for our home, and just plain hanging out all day and all night. I thought the fact that he didn’t want to spend every waking minute with me (as modeled to me by my parents) meant he didn’t love me as much as I thought he did! But it’s not that at all, because I’ve since learned that being joined at the hips was a recipe for BOREDOM.

      Add to that the fact that my hubby had been single for many decades before he met me so he’s still held on to many of his bachelor habits, like going to his near-daily pickup basketball games. (We’re child free by choice.) He’s in an amateur league too so it takes up a pretty significant amount of time. I don’t play and have no interest in following along either so I let him have his time with the guys coz mostly it’s a healthy activity, and also I discovered that being around each other ALL THE TIME meant we hardly had anything to talk about!

      So now I take myself to brunch if there’s a new place I really want to try, because he’s not interested in the foodie scene. Or I’ll hit them up with my sisters or friends and make it a catch up session. I basically go where I want whenever I want (even solo vacations!) and then when I come back to him I have lots to tell him about, and vice versa.

      The one pre-marriage activity we do still go for together is movie night, with a dinner or lunch before the show, because we’re both film buffs and it’s just more fun to be able to talk about the movie immediately afterward. Also we like evening shows so he likes to keep me company on the late night drive home.

      So ladies, don’t be like me and labour under the delusion that once you’re coupled up, you’ll be going to all the lunches/brunches or museums/IKEA together all day every day. More likely than not You’ll both have your own interests and want your own time to indulge in them, and that’s really the healthier way.

  86. Gail says...

    I spent my 20s being single in a fairly large city. I used to go to a movie by myself every Sunday night. I could see whatever I wished and it helped extend the weekend. I was taking some night classes and also used to go out to dinner by myself before my classes. That was uncomfortable at first but I gutted through it and eventually came to enjoy it. I’ve always liked my alone time and now that I’m pushing on the door of 60 (yikes!) and married for almost 30 years I still like a significant amount of time to myself.

  87. Martha Patterson says...

    All the time! I was recently in Dc for work, had an evening free, and went and saw Alvin Ailey Dance Theater at Kennedy Center…it was spectacular! I dine out, go to movies alone often….I think people NEED to experience a solo date. It is liberating!

  88. Julie says...

    Hands down a book + wine out is my favorite solo date. I made a big work deadline a couple years ago. Instead of going out with my girlfriend or coworkers, I took myself to the bar, ordered my favorite food and wine and read. I love sitting at the chef’s table or bar v a table because then if you don’t feel like reading, there’s good conversation to eavesdrop on, a bartender to talk to, or a good show watching the food being made. Simply the best way to celebrate.

  89. Christina says...

    When my boys were little my amazing husband used to literally shove me out of the door for solo weekend trips to Chicago. I’d stay at a fancy Magnificent Mile hotel and commence vegging out. Take out from fave restaurants, seriously decadent bath salts and face packs for a soak in the tub, a good bottle of wine, movies only I wanted to see on Netflix, and so on and so on…Those weekends recharged my soul like nothing else.

    • christine says...

      Chicago is a great city to do alone! My husband did the same when our daughter was 2… bought me a flight to Chicago and put me up for 2 nights at a Magmile hotel. It was January and SUPER cold but I went to the museum, did the hop on/off bus tour, saw a show, and ate at all the celebrity chef restaurants I could find! I always look back fondly on that trip.

  90. Jesse says...

    Love this! I’m a big fan of the solo date, Monday night is discount night at the boutique cinema near me. I love going to a solo late night movie with no make up, chocolate covered dates and popping on a sheet mask… All my friends laugh at my in movie facial routine but once you try it you’ll never not do it. haha

  91. Denise says...

    What a great idea! I’ve not thought of this exactly, although when I was new to my city I did a sort of hometown-tourism stint where I took myself or my friends from out of town to all the touristy spots, which are so cool, btw, here in Portland, OR. This is great inspiration to start doing it again in a more personal way.

  92. Jen Webber says...

    I love everything about this!

  93. Steph says...

    LOVE solo dates! One major perk to taking yourself out to dinner – it’s usually easier (and faster) to grab one seat at the bar for a meal than having to wait for a table. I’ve gotten in to some fantastic but impossible-to-reserve restaurants by going solo and eating at the bar!

  94. valeria says...

    In my 20s I’ve been single most of the time, and, beside struggling for a love, I really enjoyed the company of myself. I have friends and I used to go out with them a lot but I also used to feel totally free to go wherever I wanted by myself, including travelling for holidays alone. About proper dates I remember: riding with my bike to the opposite side of town to a theater for a show I had already seen four or five times with all of my friends (the show was brilliant but I was also hoping that the actor would notice me in the first row. He didn’t, unlucky him); going to a photography exhibition in an abandoned train station (and many more exhibitions, but this was one of my favourite place); attending books presentations and readings (and once ending the night whatching Amélie in a theater with a stranger guy I met at the reading. And now he is my husband. No, I’m joking, I don’t even remember his name, I was just wondering how would that sound); having breakfast in my favourite coffee shop every Sunday morning (and making friends with two adorable octogenarian brothers, Bruno passed away a few years ago, but Amleto is still calling me for Christmas). Sorry if I bored you but now that I’m 43, with a husband and two young kids (and the more significant solo date I’ve had in the last few months was that time in the bathroom when no one – NO ONE – came in nor call), all of these things feel like kind of the hugest lost things in the world. And, even if it’s great fun to remember with friends all the things we have done together, thinking back of all those moments when I enjoyed my life by myself with freedom, joy and self caring, feels like the freshest and sweetest breeze on my skin.

    • Brielle says...

      Wow, I have two young kids right now and this really hit home for me. Beautifully written.

    • valeria says...

      Oh, I read again what I wrote and it sounds hopeless, but no! Kids are growing and I see the light down there… it’s a little neon light in the darkness that says “that actor may still notice youuuuu”

    • Sarah says...

      Thank you for sharing! This was lovely to read.

    • Sarah says...

      Valeria, that was nowhere near a bore. Thank you for sharing those lovely memories.

    • Anna says...

      Haha, I love your sense of humor that shines through.

    • Wmom says...

      Yes! I have three young boys and a husband. I love the alone time in the bathroom. That’s my Instagram time.

    • h says...

      “And now he is my husband. No, I’m joking, I don’t even remember his name,” I hope you are writing your memoir, Valeria!! :-D
      Yes to everything you said. (Also 43 with two young kids and guarding my bathroom alone time). The other day I was remembering a solo bus-trip where I spent the whole ride talking to a budding poet, half arguing about literary references/half flirting. Wonder whether he ever got his book published. I don’t remember his name either!

  95. I love this! Last weekend, I was at an education conference. When my session was over, I took myself on an adventure to the botanical garden. It was so enjoyable to be alone with my thoughts and Nature!

  96. Sarah says...

    As someone who has lost a few close friends recently, I’ve started to date myself a bit out of desperation to find things to do but have come to really embrace it. I live in nyc and while I don’t feel like I take full advantage of all of the options, one thing I enjoy doing is going to my favorite movie theater where it’s 21+ after a certain time and order a glass of wine while enjoying the movie. Since I’m a college student and money is a little tight I don’t add to the experience and get the fancy, waited dinners but at least it helps the wine take more effect :) When I can I love to go to Broadway shows as well since I’m a big theater fan.
    I love going to shows and movies alone. I’m the type of person that can’t even read a review of anything because it influences my thinking so much so going to those by myself helps me to form my own opinion. As someone who cares about what others think way too much, and not just of entertainment critiques, forcing myself to have my own experience is really therapeutic for me. Thanks for the post, Kim!

  97. AS says...

    THIS! This is exactly the kind of thing I would do and cheekily not let my mother in on the joke. Keep it up! The world needs more of your lovely spirit!

  98. Juliet says...

    I love doing things on my own. As someone else commented, I notice things I would miss if I were focused on someone else, and I meet more people than I would if I was part of a group or twosome. I enjoy being with friends or my husband, too, but is nice when there is no pressure to worry about whether the other person is enjoying themselves, or having to agree on where to go. I’ve traveled by myself a lot, too, which I enjoy – but in some cultures I’ve been perceived as a bit of an oddity, I think especially because I am a woman. Japan and Costa Rica are two places where I got a lot of strange looks and questions – people would just come up to me and ask me why I was alone!

  99. Christina says...

    Tonight I am taking myself to a movie! I am an extroverted introvert and my husband is an introverted extrovert, and to him the concept of seeing a movie alone is so terribly depressing, but I’m really relishing this relaxing moment with myself :) I also went to see The Photograph this weekend (aka Valentine’s Saturday night) by myself after urging him to see friends that were in town. It’s funny that two people can be in love and married and have *entirely* different ideas of what having fun looks like. I guess that’s love!

  100. Em says...

    I’m a huge fan of alone-time! My fave thing is going to the movies alone. I pick up good snacks to sneak in my purse (or a burrito lol). I love hiking by myself (only recommended for experienced hikers in areas you know well!) I also love getting a manicure and shopping solo on a weekend afternoon.

    One of my favorite things in the whole world is being alone while traveling to a great city. I visit cute cafes, museums, shop, read a book in a park, get a massage, drink wine in an airbnb bed alone, it’s literally the best.

    • Colleen says...

      Solo movie burrito-eaters unite!

      I will always remember one Friday after a rough day at work, I went to see Train Wreck and snuck in a burrito. I was surrounded by couples on dates, and as I quietly ate the entire thing (WITH guac), I kept thinking “You guys are doing it wrong!” Lol.

  101. Ellie says...

    I don’t go on “dates” per se, but I DO schedule alone time into my (color-coded, totally packed) schedule. They are big red blocks and I’m not allowed to touch them, no matter how tempting the social offer! I thank myself every time.

    • Amy says...

      This is a great idea!

  102. celeste says...

    I did before kids.
    I’ll probably get to again when they are grown and flown.
    I liked going for sushi or Indian food by myself.

  103. Kerry says...

    A hike and a beer is my solo go-to. I love being outside on my own and then congratulating me with a cold IPA. I got into this habit the summer after my divorce and I consider it one of the best gifts that I gave myself. It was absolutely therapeutic, learning to be on my own, in the sunshine of the Pacific NW.

  104. Adriana says...

    I have three little kids (5,3,2) and solo time is hard to find. One day, as soon as my husband came home, I told him that a pizza was on the way and I was done for the day. I went to my favorite restaurant with a new book from the library and treated myself to appetizers and mocktails. It was such an amazing recharge!

    • Neela says...

      Awesome! Well done ?

    • A says...

      I love this! Good for you!

  105. Lizzie says...

    I LOVE sitting at bars with books alone. After a bad day at work starting about 5 years ago I’d go to my neighborhood bar and get wine and poutine and read my book. I think i became comfortable sitting at bars alone after working at bars and sitting there when my shift ended. I look forward to going out alone when my partner is out of town and I also have a birthday tradition of buying a new book and going to a French cafe to have a glass of wine and croque monsuire for lunch on my birthday :)

  106. Blair says...

    I horseback ride and there is nothing I enjoy more than an afternoon solo hack. Just me and my horse companion on the trail. I also like movies solo and of course I will read anywhere anytime doing almost anything (except riding) disaster, I’ve tried.

    • Laura says...

      Hello, I think we are the same person. I grew up on a ranch and have been badly missing riding since moving to NYC!

  107. YES! I call these masterdates. Alone time is so lovely.

    • Gail says...

      Very witty! Love it!

  108. Lindsey says...

    1. I love everything that Kim has to say! More Kim!

    2. The last five years of my life (40 -45) I crave solitude more than anything. I have a great husband – and I want to do stuff with him too. But what I dream about, when life is stressful, is a week at the beach alone. A whole glorious week! It makes my heart beat faster! I’m calling it my “mini-sabbatical” and I’m going to find a way to make it work!

  109. C says...

    I was hoping your link was going to be another pasta movie scene, where Amelie makes herself pasta and adds cheese. When I first saw that scene as a teenager I thought it was so decadent and romantic, and sometimes, when I’m feeling that bittersweet combination of lonely and wistful, I make myself simple pasta with cheese.

    I think school can really create a perverse value of not being seen alone in public as adults; when I realized my fear of being seen alone places was rooted in a subconscious value of not being the kid alone at the lunch table, it freed me to be more comfortable enjoying time out and about without other people. It flexes this confidence muscle that reminds myself I myself am worthy of enjoyment and entertainment, and now I kind of like it. Sometimes I’ll get to a bar 30 min early to meet a friend just for some quiet reading, or even just sitting and watching and consciously not doing anything. It’s really liberating.

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      another great lone pasta scene! What a great point about school. I’d never thought about it that way! Thanks, C!

  110. Elle says...

    I go out by myself very often, and I also enjoy Broadway shows or cocktail / book at my favorite bars! I also do movies by myself (love it!), music shows, theater, museum, shopping and a pedicure, or reading a magazine on a blanket in the park in the summer… I also love traveling alone, a weekend in a new city usually! I’m married and have 2 kids, and going out by myself feels extra luxurious, just time for me!

  111. K says...

    My friends tease me endlessly, but I refer to my solo outings simply as dates with [insert first name of the author I happen to be reading]. Just last night, I went out with David. We went to a cozy neighborhood pizza joint and I delighted as David Sedaris told me about his penchant for fitness since acquiring the Fitbit. Sometimes, when I want to wow my date of choice, I’ll go somewhere the author might have liked. A speakeasy with Scott. A café with character for Simone. These “dates”, each unique, thrill and challenge me in a way that will always make them special.

    I should probably let my mom in on the joke, though… it’s led to some confusion!

    • MH says...

      I want to be your friend, K!

    • nadine says...

      haha love this! I want to start using it as well :)

      Great writing Kim!

    • Becca says...

      This is so sweet and whimsical. Love it.

  112. Erin says...

    I am single (divorced a while back, busy with kids and work, and don’t really want or have time for a relationship) and I think it’s important to go out and do fun things on my own. I really like going to art museums by myself, and I sometimes go to dinner or a movie alone, too. I also discovered recently that my local symphony has ‘open rehearsals’ about once a month, and they’re FREE! The music is great and the people-watching is more fun than at regular symphony concerts.

    • ls says...

      What an AWESOME discovery!! I totally wish there were something like that near me!

  113. Joanna says...

    I go out frequently by myself.
    Im a mom and wife and i enjoy doing things on my own. My husband and I are very different and there are things he has no interest in that I love.
    I go alone. I enjoy it. A lot.
    Movies
    Eating
    Music events
    Museum visits
    Farm market strolls
    Library visits
    I highly recommend it to anyone.

    • Alexandra says...

      Thank you so much for saying that, makes me feel less weird. I am also a wife and a mom, and I do a lot of things by myself, because my husband has different interests for the most part (we do have a happy marriage though for the most part …) Enjoy your little adventures!

  114. Theresa says...

    Solo happy hours at a sidewalk table (Bus Stop Cafe in the West Village – wine during happy hour is $5-6!), movies during the winter months (I try to see all of the Oscar movies – gives me something ‘to do’ when it’s cold and I always have an excuse to leave the house on a lazy Sunday!), bike rides, museums, ice cream shops…I am my own best date!!

  115. Lauren E. says...

    I’ve been happily partnered for ten years, but regularly take myself on dates. Sometimes my husband sits home alone while I go! There are just certain things I enjoy more on my own. I’m taking myself to see Misty Copeland in Romeo and Juliet in the spring, and in March I’m going solo to see Dermot Kennedy at Radio City. I’d much rather go and completely soak in the experience than have to make sure my date is also enjoying themselves.

    • Meredith says...

      Lol I wanna be your date to both of those events!

  116. Jess L. says...

    This is great. I love doing things solo that challenge me, and I want to do it more! Recently took a break from my job and went to London by myself for two months to volunteer at a charity. One of the scariest and most rewarding things I’ve done in my adult life. I’m searching for more things to do solo that challenge me and are rewarding. Any ideas, COJ community?

    • Abigail says...

      I spent a solo month in Spain and Portugal last year, and it was fantastic! I wouldn’t always want to travel on my own, but this particular trip felt great. It’s awesome that you spent time on your own volunteering!

    • M says...

      I don’t know why but taking tango/salsa lessons popped into my head. Fun, scary and rewarding.

  117. Love this! I take myself out on dates about once a month although oddly enough, never to the movies. Actually usually end up meeting people doing the same and never get to whatever novel I’m reading-hello life in NYC! A few weeks ago, was in a trendy West Village restaurant with this plan and made 2 new friends! Also love this photo. Next time I’m going to even get “date-ready.”

  118. Wendy says...

    This.is.lovely ???

  119. Caitlin says...

    Your day-saver reminds me of one of my first solo dates in New York as a freshman at NYU (now more than 15 years ago, eeek!). I had terrible roommate troubles, and after a particularly rough morning, I needed an escape. So I went where the train took me – the corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West. I still remember the scene. I sat on a park bench, just under the sun’s light. Nearby was a homeless man, tan with leathery skin, old and small, basking in the sun without a shirt. He had with him a paper bag full of grooming supplies – a razor, deodorant, toothpaste. I spotted him shaving, razor in hand, carefully gliding down rows of untamed whiskers. His movements were so precise that it was obvious to me that this was not his first shave in Central Park. Taken aback at first, I let it slide past me like the blade on his skin and took it to be part of my first Park experience. Months later, in spring, I returned to that park bench, and there he was, razor in hand. We must have called the same part of the Park our favorite.

    P.S. Crosswords and a cocktail are also a winning combination for a solo date – this is my go-to on business trips after long days of meetings. :)

  120. Crystal says...

    I don’t even think of it as a “solo date.” If I want to see a movie, I see the movie. Why would I miss out on doing things I want to do because I can’t find a plus-one? (I do think it’s easier to do in a big city, where everyone is busy and paying no attention to anyone else)

  121. Lynn says...

    I love doing things by myself and find it curious that most people think it’s odd. I enjoy my own company, I feel leisurely and relaxed in a way I never do when I’m with someone else. I like having to meet no expectations but my own as well! I get my hair done every 6 weeks and after I always take myself shopping and then to dinner, such a treat! I would LOVE to do NYC alone, I’ve done it several times before with just my son. But to do it alone would be incredible!

  122. Emma says...

    I love this! I also love how both this post and Mari’s earlier today talk about “getting to know yourself.” I never really thought about alone time in that way before.

  123. Campbell says...

    I love this! It’s filled with great ideas, and not one as scrolling through a phone. Thank you!

  124. Sadie says...

    I don’t like being alone. This last year I have taken big strides in not passing up opportunities when I don’t have a companion. It started with going to a concert and dinner on my own while in New York. Then I was on a business trip to Vegas, I rented a car at the end of my trip to overnight in Valley of Fire State Park. I prefer shared experiences but after each time I do something alone I feel proud of myself.

  125. Christine says...

    Taking myself on dates is something I waited until I was in my late twenties to do, and regret not doing sooner!
    I have my “fancy dates” like going to The Broad/The Getty/LACMA, a matinee movie and/or a solo dinner at a new restaurant, or my “low key dates” which include taking my sweet, sweet time at Trader Joes, or driving with my favorite podcast on.
    10/10 recommend

  126. Over Christmas, I had two weeks off (a perk of working in higher education), while my daughter’s daycare was only closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I was looking at the most time alone I’ve had since she was born FOUR YEARS AGO. So the day after Christmas, I dropped her off at daycare, then went to one of those movie theaters that serves full meals and watched (read: reveled in) Greta Gerwig’s Little Women while eating a giant plate of nachos. It was the most glorious date I’ve been on in a long time.

    • Lindsey says...

      This sounds AMAZING. PERFECT! STUPENDOUS! All the words!

    • Faith says...

      That sounds like the perfect date! I’ve been contemplating the idea of taking a vacation day (while my toddler happily spends the day with his little friends in preschool) to drive out to the coast and enjoy a few hours to myself. I might just do that soon. :)

    • Sequoia says...

      This sounds like pure magic to me!

    • Meg says...

      This is AMAZING

  127. Flâneur says...

    Like you, when I first moved to a new city. I only knew 1 person. An old friend from my middle school years. I began taking myself on dates once a month and that is how I began to make friends and know the city. I love it. I have realized that I enjoy my own company so much

  128. Calla says...

    One of my favorite things to do alone is bike to a new neighborhood, pick a cafe I’ve never been to and people watch for awhile. One of the first times I did this in Hayes Valley (San Francisco) on a busy Saturday when a lot of people were circling for parking. I watched four or five people try to parallel park in a just-too-small spot before giving up and driving off (including an old man who tapped each of the surrounding cars several times). Then a very young woman drove by and zipped right into it on the first try like it was nothing. I don’t know why, but it just made me laugh.

    Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is get out there and people watch! Conversation is lovely too but there are some things you only see when you are alone.

  129. Reba says...

    Anything that sounds interesting but where the logistics make coordinating schedules a pain is the perfect opportunity for a solo date! My last one: the local movie theater with terrible parking that shows big-screen revivals of old films, but only at 7:30 one weeknight a month. My next one: the museum exhibit that is so popular my only chance is a same-day stand-by ticket. The idea of trying to make those work for multiple people (“well X can’t do this week, but Y is free Tuesday next week or the Wednesday the week after”) sucks all the fun and spontaneity out of it, so I just go alone…and then have something interesting to talk about when I do meet up with friends!

  130. Nicole H. says...

    I do! But usually when my family is out of town. I like the idea of making it more of a regular thing- just because. I like going out but don’t love all the coordinating of schedules. This has inspired me to consider a different option.

  131. Cooper says...

    My favorite is to rent the audio tours at museums – they’re usually excellent, and it’s so nice to have a knowledgeable voice in my ear as a I wander solo (or sometimes with my husband to get that feeling of being “alone together.”) Museum audio tours were a lifeline for me on a solo tour of western Europe when I was desperately lonely and didn’t speak the local language.

  132. B says...

    This post is timely as I’m working on revamping my life before I turn forty in 2022. I work part-time, have a full-time business, and just general life stuff. Self-care in general isn’t high on my list of priorities, let alone leaving the house to actually do something.

    But reading this feels timely. I think I will find something to do in the remaining days of February (sidebar: how is it nearly March?), whether it’s a networking event or something else.

    Thank you, Kim.

  133. Amanda says...

    I started going on solo dates a few years ago when I was feeling desperately single and wanted to remind myself I didn’t need a man. My favourite will always be a Friday night dinner and a movie. Even better if it’s a movie that inspires—then it turns into dinner, a movie, and a late night of writing and painting!

  134. KP says...

    I loved doing this when I lived in New York! I was struggling to make friends in a new city but I didn’t let that stop me from exploring and going out. There was a great bar in my neighborhood with the friendliest (and cutest…) bartender I would chat with over a glass of wine on a quiet weekday evening. Or you know that brunch spot you and your friends always struggle to get a table at? I would walk right in and snag a seat at the bar for some solo pancakes. Heck I made a night out of going to check out the Whole Foods alone when it first opened in Brooklyn! Ha!

    • Calla says...

      Yes! I always forget how great solo dining is in terms of waits!

  135. I absolutely love doing activities alone.
    These days, I love to go to my favorite nail salon and then pop over to my a nearby independent bookstore. I usually just browse a bit and then take myself to lunch. It isn’t the cheapest date, but I absolutely love it. Speaking of cheap dates, I also like to get myself a $1 iced tea from McDonalds and then drive over to the Berkeley Marina. I roll down the windows and feel the salty air on my face while looking at both the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. I love my city so much, but never more than when I take a moment to admire her beauty.

  136. Lainey says...

    I really like the concept of doing things that you enjoy or which challenge you solo, and I hope this doesn’t come off as snarky, but why is everything “dating” all of a sudden? There’s taking your kid on dates, your best friend, yourself. It seems to suggest that treating yourself or a loved one to some time alone is special and out of the ordinary. As an introvert, I’ve always been inclined toward activities that were solo or one-on-one with a close pal. Have I been “dating” my whole life and not recognized it? Lol.

    • Katie says...

      I was thinking the same thing! At first, the constant calling everything a “date” bothered me. It just seemed so cheesy! But something about calling non-romantic events dates implies some extra care and excitement about the event. I think calling solo time a date can help us to prioritize ourselves. Loved this article!

    • Abbey says...

      Lainey, you didn’t come off as snarky. I love the discourse here. It’s a good question. I find the word “date” really charming and perspective-shifting for this situation, or for going on a “friend date” or a “kid date” etc. Simply because it IS romantic to go out and experience the world by savoring, for the specific purpose of connecting and enjoying your own company or someone else’s (regardless of their particular relationship to you). The world is meant to be fallen in love with, and since we can only see through our own eyes and feel through our own bodies we have to align with love and fancy and romance if we want to experience it. Romance can be considered sappy and trite because it’s been relegated to rote gestures and forced onto our intimate/sexual relationships. But real romance is as boundless as how and where you can find beauty. If you’re looking, you find it. If you make the date, you commit to that intimacy with the world around and within you.

      Kim and COJ, I love this post and all the comments. It’s so fun to imagine all you wonderful COJ readers enjoying your own company :)

  137. Daniela says...

    As usual, such great timing. My therapist and I were just last night talking about how I need to date myself! I do a lot of self care at home, but not so much out. I went to target early one morning a few weeks ago and just walked around with a Chai tea latte, but I’d love to do more such as going to our botanical gardens and walking around.

    When I worked from home and my husband worked nights, I’d often leave in the morning to give him peace and quiet and go sit at one of my favorite two cafes. I miss that.