Recently I wrote about getting over the awkwardness of being alone and doing things on your own. The article is entitled Do you like yourself enough to date yourself? and I talk about my own fears of doing social activities alone and how I was able to conquer that anxiety simply by dating myself.
It’s easy for me to sit over here, all recovered and stuff, and tell you, “Hey! All you need is to date yourself and you’ll be fine!” and then just leave you hanging. That’s akin to me telling you to try cliff diving and then not giving you any instructions. Cliff diving can kill you if you don’t know what you’re doing! Any great cliff diver will tell you that there are rules they follow so they can live to cliff dive another day. Dating yourself won’t kill you, but there are some guidelines that will make it easier for you to manage, until eventually it’s not even something you think about.
Let’s begin this with a list of activities you can do on your own without feeling conspicuous and awkward. The idea here is to blend in and not stick out like a zebra striped sun hat. You could putt putt alone, but why would you? Going to the driving range alone is a pretty standard thing though.
How about some activities that are traditionally done alone to get your feet wet? Please keep in mind these are activities to take you out into a public spot so you start to develop a strength for going places alone. Do yourself a huge favor and leave your smart phone in your purse and your tablet at home. Those items will not be your friend under these circumstances and will keep you from the growth these activities offer you.
- Art galleries
- Garden tours
- Bike rides
- Parks (walking or jogging)
- Going to the library (my favorite!) you can read current magazines, peruse the books or just sit and people watch.
- Shopping (especially in a big mall! Even if you’re broke, you can window shop or just walk around)
- Take a class (a second language, sculpting or painting)
- Go to a Paint your own Pottery shop and make a mug
- Coffee shop (have a tea and just relax in one of their fluffy chairs)
How do you make that date with yourself and keep it? I have always been a huge believer in ceremony. I find that if you make a big enough deal out of doing something, you’re more likely to look forward to doing it.
Take laundry, for instance. Who actually likes to do laundry? Well, I like to do it now, but I used to loathe it. I’d buy new underwear instead of doing laundry. One day I decided to work on that problem by making my laundry room more attractive. I painted the walls and decorated them with framed art. I carpeted the floor with a decorative throw rug so my feet stayed warm and cozy while I was working in there. Then I decided on new laundry detergent that was better for the environment and smelled divine. I picked dryer sheets that left a clean scent behind and hung a rack on one wall for clothes that needed to air dry or hang after drying to keep from becoming too wrinkled. I added a nice sized table for folding items and invested in some sturdy laundry bags and baskets for sorting and toting.
Once I had finished making my mark on the laundry room I realized I was actually looking forward to doing my laundry and hanging out in this new space. Now laundry isn’t a chore and the laundry room isn’t a dungeon, it’s something I look forward to.
If you use a laundrymat, try one of those new ones called Soap and Suds, where you can put your dirties in a machine and sidle up to the bar for a brew while they’re agitatin’! What a concept! Even if your laundrymat is a drudge like the ones here, you can treat yourself to a picnic outside or a great book. And talk about an activity you can do alone where there are people all around you doing the same thing! Laundry!
My point here is to make a big deal out of that date you make with yourself. I know this sounds like an abstract concept, but who better to treat you extra special, than you? Mark the date down in your day planner and make a note on the calendar you keep in your kitchen to remind yourself that it’s coming up. Treat this outing with as much attention as you would a black tie gala. Pick out what you’ll wear. Take a bubble bath, shave your legs/face and make yourself look gorgeous.
The devil is in the details so make sure you have gas in your car if you’re driving and that you have good directions if you’ve never been there. Remember safety first! Don’t put yourself in jeopardy of getting hurt. Make sure someone knows where you’re going.
Start out by planning one date a week until you feel more confident about going out alone. Come back here and let me know your progress and add your own ideas to this post so others can visit here and start their own journey outside. I’ll be back next week with the second advanced course on dating yourself so you can stretch that muscle even farther. Til then take care, be safe and I’ll see you out in the world blossoming.