Why You Should Take Yourself Out On Dates

As we near finals week, many of us are looking ahead at winter break as the light at the end of the tunnel where we have been stuck studying and writing for long hours. Much of the contentment that we receive from winter break is from spending our time with loved ones. Maybe you are making plans to see Christmas lights with your significant other or to travel to a different state with your friends. If you are a homebody like me, then you are also excited to spend time alone in the comfort of your own room.

But the holiday season can also be a time of loneliness for us. You might be wishing you were “cuffed” so that you had a partner to do “couple activities” with or perhaps you feel that you do not have anyone to spend time with during your break. There are a number of reasons for us to feel joyous and also lonely during this period of the year: the way that we spend our time, especially with ourselves, will greatly affect our mood. As college students, we cannot completely escape from our responsibilities and commitments during our three weeks off from school. But we are given more unstructured time than we normally have to do the things that we want to do. This can be especially healing for us when we invest our time in ourselves—and I do not mean working on your resume or hunting for your next job online. Those things are important, but you should also let yourself rest and enjoy your own company. You deserve to take yourself out on dates because no one is more worthy of receiving your love than yourself.

Having lived in Orange County all my life, I have noticed that the social environment here especially makes us feel that we should be with other people when we are out in public. Activities like shopping, going to the movie theaters or eating at a restaurant are supposedly meant to be done in a group. But it is acceptable to do more “mundane” things like studying at a cafe, gymming or getting groceries by yourself. This unspoken shared mentality assumes that we can only belong in the public as a social space when we are with a group of people we know; it also reserves our homes as the place where we can truly exist as private and individual selves. However, these boundaries are arbitrary.

You can hang out with yourself in public and you should do that. I myself have been making an effort to spend more time by myself in public by going to the movie theaters, eating out and visiting bookstores. These simple adventures have taught me that it is a pleasure to experience the world on our own just as it is to experience the world with the people we love. Personally, I want to reach the point where I am comfortable traveling alone.

We also live in a society that often glorifies romantic love above all other forms of love. We use the language of romantic love to describe the ways only a significant other can supposedly make us feel. A date can only happen between two people, or so we think. What happens, though, when we look at ourselves in that same romantic light? I don’t have an absolute answer, but I believe it makes us feel just as passionate and affectionate of ourselves as we should be. Taking yourself on a date is more about valuing the time that you spend by yourself rather than the actual activities that you do on your own. Maybe your ideal individual date is lighting up a scented candle and watching a movie at home or taking a hike at a park and enjoying the scenery in silence. Regardless, you see and appreciate more of the world’s beauty when you recognize how magical it is to be in your own presence.