“Yuh goin by yuhself?”
I get this a lot. Especially when I’d talk to my mom, dad, or some of my friends or coworkers. The conversation that leads up to that question usually starts like this:
“I’m heading out to grab a bite!!”
“Are you taking it back home or dining out?”
“I’ll most likely dine out.”
“Oh? Meeting up a friend?”
“No, just dining by myself.”
“Yuh goin by yuhself?”
It often amazes me how shocked persons react when I say that I’m heading out to dine, or to do any activity by myself. It is often assumed that leaving the house means that I’m off to meet someone. When truthfully, I go out more by myself than I do with other people. And I love it!
The thing is, as much as humans are social creatures, there will be times in our lives where we will be by ourselves. The issue I’ve seen, is that many of us don’t know how to be by ourselves, and enjoy our own company. We live in a society that is driven by this constant need to be connected to other people all the time. If it isn’t a physical connection where we’re surrounded by persons at events on the regular, it’s then being constantly connected to people via social media.
In chatting with a cross section of my colleagues and friends, I’ve learned that many people don’t like the idea of doing things solo because they’re worried about what others will think. That going somewhere by yourself, be it to a cafe, or the movies, or to a bar, means that others weren’t interested in going with you. To me, this comes from the societal notion that a person has to be part of a “squad”, or a social circle all the time when it comes to venturing to an event.
Now I’m not saying that having a group of friends or being part of a “clique” is a bad thing. Having a close circle of persons that you can trust, confide and share experiences with is amazing. However, it is very easy for someone to become dependent on this circle of friends in order to have a good time all the time. What many of us don’t realise, is that as we get older, as friends get married, as our careers take off, as babies are born, that same group of friends won’t be as available for socialising as before. And you’ll find yourself spending less and less time with your friends and more and more time by yourself. Adulting is real!
Doing things, and going places by yourself is actually good for you! I do this ever this often.
Which brings me back to going solo. The good part about it, is that you get to set the terms and conditions of your adventure. You can stay out however long you want, or change up your plan to suit your mood, without worrying about the schedules of others. You learn how to be in your own company and enjoy it.
By deliberately choosing going out solo, you’ll realise that it being by yourself really isn’t as bad as you may think it is. When I started going on “me dates”, I was very self conscious, worried about how others would look at me while I dined or brunched on my own. But as I sat down and just enjoyed my meal, with no rush, with no “pressure” to have conversation, I grew to enjoy it.
Since then, my “me dates” have become a critical element in me keeping my stress levels at a minimum. It is my time to relax, to reflect, to do something fun on my own terms. To something just for me. The feeling of occasionally going somewhere or doing an activity on my own is invigorating to say the least, and I would highly recommend that at least once in a while, you do the same.
So you’ve read this article, and decided “YES! I’M GOING ON A ME DATE!!! But I have no idea where to go!” Here’s a few me date ideas to start you off:
Brunch at a cafe: I love to brunch! There as so many intimate cafes and bistros that are popping up around the country that you can go to and have a date with yourself.
Museum/Art Gallery: There are so many art exhibitions that happen locally that you can check out. I love perusing the creativity of others.
Craft markets: If you love supporting local like I do, then a trip to the local craft market is a must! Not only do you get some amazing finds, but you can also get some really good treats to munch on while you shop.
Nature: You’d be amazed how doing something as simple as sitting on a park bench with a good book can do wonders for you.
Movies: If there’s a movie that’s showing that you may want to go see, then don’t wait on anyone, just go!
Spa date: There is nothing wrong with a little pampering
Go for a drive: Sometimes, you may not have any specific activity that you may want to do, which is fine. But filling up your tank and taking a long drive around our country also helps to clear your head and ease your stress.
So there you have it! You can’t say that you have no idea what to do with yourself, or that you don’t know how to take yourself on a date. So go on, have fun, enjoy your solo time, be safe wherever you decide to go, and most of all, be prepared to answer that question:
“Yuh goin by yuhself?”
Tshenelle Bethel-Peters aka Nelly B. is a natural hair, plus size, beauty, and lifestyle blogger; an avid supporter of buying local and a firm believer in the power of a smile. Follow her at www.adayinthelifeofnellyb.