31 Ideas for How To Date Yourself—And Why Therapists Say You Definitely Should

Photo: Getty/Klaus Vedfelt
If you’re like me, the idea of learning how to date yourself feels super similar to self care… to the point that I initially had a hard time understanding the difference between the two. After all, aren’t both just doing things that make you feel good or happy?

Yes and no, explains therapist Blessing Uchendu, MSW, LCSW. “Dating yourself can be part of self care, but at times self care can be focused on activities, whereas dating oneself is about your presence with yourself, regardless of the activities.” So, similarly to how a casual date might have you watching Netflix with a partner, you can also think of self-dating as something as low-stakes as watching a show you love or that otherwise delights you.

Experts In This Article

As therapist AnnLee Allen, LMHC, notes, dating yourself is “a step beyond basic self care, which is about taking care of basic needs and well-being. Dating yourself involves actively choosing activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, focusing on deepening your relationship with yourself.”

Essentially, dating yourself is a way to enjoy your own company and a great excuse to seek out the things that delight you and bring you joy. Curious to learn more about how to date yourself? Read on for expert-approved tips, guidance, and reasons to date yourself.

What does it mean to date yourself?

“Dating yourself is spending intentional time with yourself and getting to know yourself as you would another person,” explains Uchendu. Just like how a date with another person allows you to get to know their personality, interests, hobbies, and what makes them unique, you can think of a solo date or self-date as a way to learn more about yourself. “It’s learning to enjoy and even delight in your own company,” Uchendu says.

It’s also more than just going out alone: Dating yourself means “taking yourself out to do something special or enjoyable, just as you would with a partner,” but with yourself, explains Allen. The same way going out to dinner with a date is a special occasion, self-dating is a reason to treat yourself to the finer things in life and connect with what brings you happiness and joy.

“Dating yourself involves actively choosing activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.” —AnnLee Allen, LMHC, therapist

What are the benefits of dating yourself?

Benefits of self-dating while single

“Self-dates are a wonderful opportunity to remind yourself that you don’t lack anything by being single,” says Uchendu. Clinical psychologist Josh Klapow, PhD, agrees, explaining that, “one of the core elements that leads to fulfillment in life is comfort and contentment with ourselves and by ourselves.”

You also get a chance to build self-confidence and independence by enjoying your own company, Allen adds. Dating yourself can allow you to discover more about your interests, preferences, and desires, and it encourages self-love and appreciation, which sets a solid foundation for future relationships, Allen notes. “When we love and nurture ourselves first, it spills over into every other part of our life—it does not work the other way around,” she adds.

Supervising psychologist Tara Lally, PhD, also agrees. “The saying, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ is very true and [dating oneself] is a way to refill one’s cup for themselves, but also for potential other relationships in the future.”

Benefits of self-dating while in a relationship

For those in relationships, going on self-dates may also have benefits. As Well+Good writer Danielle Calma discovered when she made a commitment to take herself on self-dates while in a relationship, taking time alone became something she looked forward to. “It helped me both decompress and allowed me to dedicate time to pursue my interests and remember that I’m not just one half of a couple,” she says.

Dating yourself while in a relationship also allows you to maintain your sense of individuality and personal interests—healthy tenets of any relationship, Allen notes. Taking time to woo yourself can also “give you space to recharge and bring back new energy and experiences to your relationship [and] reminds you of your worth outside your partnership, contributing to a healthier, more balanced dynamic,” she adds.

How do you go on a solo date?

In order to truly date yourself, the following tips from the experts may be helpful.

1. Ask yourself out

Well, not literally, but find out what your interests are. Do you like going on hikes? Do you want to take a perfume class? How about a cooking class? What drives your curiosity and makes you want to learn more? “If you don’t know what your interests are, self-dates are a wonderful opportunity to try new things to find what you connect with,” Uchendu says.

2. Think of the five senses

This is a great option if you want a date with yourself to re-inspire creativity, Babish says. As a frequent Fragrantica lurker myself, for me, this might be taking one of those perfume-making classes Uchendu suggested above, or even just going to my nearest Ulta and looking for a perfume that I typically wouldn’t try.

If you’re a textural person, Babish suggests taking yourself on a day date with unexpected textures or colors in your outfit. Music person? Make a playlist to charge up your creativity, suggests Babish, while you take a walk around your city or make time in advance to go to a concert you like. Or, there’s always the tried-and-true activity of literally touching grass, which is a classic for a reason.

3. Romanticize your everyday life

Channel your inner TikTok influencer, and romanticize your everyday life. Allen suggests taking yourself out to a nice dinner or cooking a fancy meal at home. If you typically hit up the drive-through after work, make a reservation at a nice place. It’s all about making your own presence feel special.

You can also visit a museum or art gallery, or see a movie, Allen suggests. If you’d rather stay in, that counts as a self-date, too! “Have a relaxing evening at home with a bubble bath, your favorite book, or movie,” Allen recommends. Bonus points if you film it and edit it into a beautiful romanticized, aspirational TikTok, of course.

4. Expand your horizons with something ongoing

You’re really never too old for school. Another great solo date idea is to take a class or attend a lecture series, as Dr. Lally suggests. Your local university or community college might have free classes or a lecture series with guest speakers, or you can always sign up for some of the free Coursera classes online. A bonus of signing up for a series of classes as opposed to a one-off is that you can have a standing date for yourself every week to really prioritize self-connection.

Or, in the same spirit of ongoing self-dating, book a solo trip! Whether it’s a long weekend or a month-long trek, spending time with the express purpose of knowing yourself better and expanding your horizons is always a good idea.

31 Ideas for Solo Dates

Ready to schedule your first solo date? Here are some additional suggestions for what to do, from the experts.

Uchendu’s tips for things to do on a self-date:

  • Going to a pottery class
  • Going to a sober bar
  • Seeing a play
  • Attending a concert
  • Having a picnic
  • Going on a bike ride
  • Intentionally listening to an entire album in one sitting
  • Putting on music and dancing
  • People-watching
  • Daydreaming

Babish’s ideas for solo dates:

  • Going to a salt cave
  • Going to a sensory deprivation tank or float tank
  • Going to an exhibit at a gallery or a gallery opening
  • Going to an improv show
  • Hiking to a waterfall or watering hole
  • Going to a poetry slam or poetry reading
  • Taking a pottery throwing class
  • Taking a tea ceremony or tea blending class
  • Going vintage shopping
  • Going to a poetry reading or poetry slam

Dr. Lally’s ideas for self-dates:

  • Going to a movie
  • Taking a hike
  • Taking a cooking class
  • Trying a new food genre or restaurant
  • Going to a book signing
  • Going antiquing

Allen’s ideas for how to date yourself:

  • Being a tourist in your own city
  • Taking a dance class
  • Booking a night at a hotel and having a staycation
  • Planning a picnic in the park with your favorite book, music, and food and drink
  • Having a sunrise or sunset date where you find a peaceful spot to enjoy the sunrise or sunset uninterrupted
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