A few months ago, a friend stood me up for dinner. I was upset at first but I really liked what I was wearing and I was hungry so I stayed. That first solo dining experience got me hooked. Now, months later, I can honestly say that taking myself out to dinner every week has changed my life.
I had to face my insecurities. All women have fears that we refuse to admit. A few months ago, I would confidently have told you that I wouldn’t have a problem taking myself out. But as I sat in the restaurant, contemplating whether or not to stay and do just that, I felt real fear. What if I got bored? Would anyone who saw me think I was a loser who didn’t have friends? All these thoughts raced through my mind but I pushed past them and stayed and I’m so glad I did. These days, I have no problem going out by myself. It’s a treat rather than a chore.
I put my needs first. I’ve always been a go with the flow type of girl, and while that’s not a horrible trait, I discovered great joy in actually doing what I wanted for a change. That’s one of the beauties of dining out by yourself. You don’t have to take into account what anyone else wants to eat, what time they want to go out, and what they want to talk about. It feels great only to have to consult a team of one!
I learned that most people are self-absorbed. That first night I went out alone, I worried about what people think. The crazy part is that barely anyone even looked my way. They were all too busy taking selfies and catching up. I felt so silly that I considered going home because I didn’t want people to think I was a loser. Newsflash: in this social media-fueled age, everyone is too busy gossiping and trying to keep up with the Joneses to spare a meaningful glance at you.
I got to know myself a lot better. There are a few ways to fill your time when you go out by yourself, but one of the most rewarding things to do is let your mind roam free. You’d be surprised what a change of environment can do as far as getting your mind jogging. For example, it took me thinking about a particular coworker week in and week out to recognize that she often took advantage of my kindness in the workplace. I wouldn’t have come to that realization by following my everyday routine. Now I view my date nights as therapy for myself.
I stopped living my life by other people’s schedules. Merely taking myself out whenever I wanted freed me from so much anxiety. I used to spend hours waiting for people to get back to me about whether they were free or not. When they weren’t, I was crushed. Now I do whatever I want when I want. It’s so freeing to enjoy everything I work so hard for.
I learned how to be a better person. One of the things I like to do when I go out by myself is people watch. Now, unless you have bionic hearing, you’re mostly just reading body language. I can’t tell you how much I gleaned just from a good half hour of doing this. A gentle tilt of the head or the slight droop of the shoulder can communicate so much. Now I can read the subtle changes in body language and it’s made me a much better person. I can’t wait to start dating again because I’ll finally be able to figure out what a guy means by reading his body language.
I got asked out more than I ever have before. Now, I’ll admit that going out by myself is not a ploy to get guys to hit on me. Having said that, a lot of guys are more confident approaching a woman when she’s by herself. I’m single and I’m looking to date, so I can’t complain about this. I also think that a guy who sees you sitting by yourself looking confident communicates a lot about who you are.
I learned how to celebrate myself. I’m the type of person that would eagerly tell friends and family my good news, then get disappointed when they didn’t do anything to celebrate my success. Now I don’t have to sit in my apartment and pop a bottle of champagne by myself. I celebrate every little thing because I only need myself to do it. I’ve learned the hard way that there’s nothing wrong with celebrating yourself. After all, you’re the one that knows what it took to get to where you are. Don’t downplay your success or miss a single moment to celebrate the good that comes your way. Lord knows those moments are few and far in between.
I know that I’m more than enough. Learning to enjoy my own company has improved my self-worth. I now know how great I am and I will never let another person put me down. If all of this sounds a little too over-the-top, I dare you to experience solo dining. You’ll feel nervous at first, but in the end, you’ll be more confident, happy, and at ease with yourself.
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