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14th Jun 2024

Dating yourself: The benefits of a solo date

Niamh Ryan

Why should we feel embarrassed to go on a solo date?

As much as I love my family and friends, when I go away with others there’s always an inevitable argument. Whether it’s about which restaurant to go to or who’s sleeping where, I always end up frustrated about something.

I’ve wanted to go away somewhere alone this summer for some independence, even for a few days to let off some steam and regroup.

When I told this to a friend, she looked amazed:

“I couldn’t even go to the cinema by myself!” she said.

I think a lot of the time we worry what other people are thinking when they see us out alone. The fact is however, no one really notices.

I can’t think of one time when I’ve seen a person eating a meal by themselves at a restaurant and thought “how sad”.

In fact, I’ve always admired them.

Solo dates are a great way to get out of your comfort zone.

For me, doing things by myself forced me to face my social anxiety and get out of my own head.

What is the science behind a solo date?

Research has shown that there are real benefits to being independent and self-sufficient.

While human beings thrive with social connection, it’s also important to remember how our relationship with ourselves can impact us.

Dr. Natalie Bailey, a psychologist from London says that “It’s about strengthening your emotional toolkit.

“Each solo date is an opportunity to develop and refine your coping strategies, enhancing your ability to adapt and recover from stress and adversity.”

Self care

We all think of different things when it comes to self care, but I always felt it was about face masks and online shopping.

However, I’ve since realised that so much of self care is about how we view and treat ourselves.

Choosing to be alone can be really heal our relationship with ourselves. It shows we don’t need to rely on other people’s company to enjoy things.

I often waited until I had someone to go with if I wanted to try a new cafe or watch a new movie at the cinema.

But why should we deprive ourselves of the things we enjoy just because we don’t want to spend time alone?


Writer Aya Iman says that solo dates “offer the freedom to indulge in activities that you love without the need to accommodate another person’s likes or dislikes”.

While she has been with her husband for over 10 years, she says she still cherishes time alone to be her own person.

Just because we have friends and significant others doesn’t mean we have to plan everything with them.

Peace of mind

My favourite thing to do is go for coffee and write in my journal.

It’s easy, cheap, and if you’re really overwhelmed or uncomfortable it’s easy to leave.

While I would love to be able to read a book, being self conscious can really take away from the experience and make me lose my concentration.

However, I’ve found that writing in a journal can help take my mind off being there alone.

Solo date ideas

  • Go for dinner and a movie
  • People watch at a cafe (I recommend Le Petit Perroquet on Wicklow Street)
  • Take your book to the pub and have a drink at the bar
  • Book a local hotel for a night (on the more expensive side, but worth it)
  • Do something touristy in your own city
  • Buy yourself flowers and cook your favourite meal