Going out alone can be intimidating, but there is nothing as fulfilling as realizing that you stood by yourself, while enjoying your own company, without melting into the ground.
My first experience with solo dates came when I was in my second year of pre-college. My sister had gone off to University and although it was not so far, I had to quickly learn that I was expected to do mundane things by myself. Even though she could make it down from college on the odd weekend or two, she was mostly busy building her social life there. I did not have so many friends, and the little I had were saddled with a lot of responsibilities. Some worked multiple jobs while others had kids. I decided that I was going to go out regardless of their unavailability so I practiced being out by myself.
I started with going to the movies all by myself. My norm was going to the cinema with friends, or at the very least, with one person for companionship. My friends and I would usually spend the entire day there, seeing a number of movies. But the first time I went by myself, it was strange, I must confess. To begin with, I faced some challenges with the train. Since I used to go with friends, I never really paid much attention to directions. Yeah, my bad. But thankfully, muscle memory and a bit of asking came to my aid. I got to the cinema successfully and I actually enjoyed the day there. This helped in shedding all my misconceptions and fears about going out alone, especially to places where people would normally go in groups, or at least with someone else. I was glad that I came out and got to experience that.
Next up was dinner alone. Eating out alone in general can be disconcerting, especially in a place that is frequented by couples or people in groups. Fast food restaurants are one thing, you can finesse being there by yourself. Fancy restaurants are however a different thing. Having to go out alone to a bigger, fancy restaurant can be very challenging especially for people who have anxiety. Quick tip, I would suggest looking great in order to boost self-confidence. Especially for people who enjoy dress-up, makeup and other enhancers, feel free to do all these things even on solo dates. There is absolutely no harm in it and it will enhance the experience. Reject the idea that we must only look good or nice when we have someone to look good for. What then should happen to single people?
On the other hand, also do not feel the need to over-do or feel embarrassed if your clothing is not ‘up-to-par’ for what the vibe of the restaurant calls for. As long as you are dressed neatly and you appreciate what you have put on, there is no need to buy an expensive gown simply because you want to try out the new five-star restaurant opening on your street. We should all endeavor to genuinely enjoy ourselves rather than feeling the need to put on a show for the approval of others.
One piece of solid advice that I have received is that it is always beneficial to do at least one thing that scares you and cross it off that mental bucket list. Going out alone can be intimidating, but there is nothing as fulfilling as realizing that you stood by yourself without melting into the ground. It can help boost your self confidence. It can also help you enjoy your own company and not be over reliant on others to have a great time. Even if a solo date has some inconveniences or unfortunate mishaps, take the situation as a learning curve and see how you can improve it the next time you go out by yourself. You can keep your phone handy as a virtual companion in awkward moments or even call a friend or family member for a pep talk in moments of confusion and uncertainty.