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What It Means to Date Yourself & Why You Should Do It

Life is Company, Love is Company

We live in a world of roles and relationships. Mother-daughter. Neighbors. Professors and students. Doctor and patient. Besties. Life partners. A brutal reality of this human condition is that we arrive to this earth-place naked and alone, and–however morbid–we also likely exit that way. In the meantime, though, almost all of the meaning-making, joy and satisfaction we get from this life is done in company. As the late Stephen Sondheim once wrote, “Life is company. Love is company.” 

Finding the right company, though, is about as hard as it is to find oneself both single and happy. It can be a tall order.

Some professionals, along with a number of pop-psychology enthusiasts, might tell you that to find true happiness in company means knowing true contentment on your own first. Many Tawkify professionals will categorically reject this notion, and here’s why: We are social animals. We have love to give; it’s got to go somewhere, and we need it in return. We also don’t need to be completely healed from our pasts and immaculately confident in order to deserve love or be ready for it. At Tawkify, we do encourage finding ways to feel complete without entirely relying on others for happiness, though, and we’re here to talk about those today. Here are our top recs on how to date yourself:

The Importance of Self-Love in Relationships

This plays out differently to different people, but especially for working professionals; our internal monologues are often brutally critical. It’s common to hold ourselves to impossibly high standards. If this motivates you forward and doesn’t merely cause suffering–fine, maybe. Things can get dangerous, though, if we then create similar expectations and impossibly high standards for our potential love interests. A lot of the work that we do as matchmakers has to do with getting people out of their own way, and that often means helping our clients to be open to the idea of loving someone who is not flawless. Loving yourself, warts and all–and in your singlehood–is a great place to start. Let’s discuss a few actionable things you can do to become both single and happy. 

Exploring Hobbies for Self-Discovery

There’s so much available now. Old and new. Piano playing and virtual reality games. Chess and pickleball. A great way to connect with yourself, though, is to remember what lit you up as a child, and take yourself on some solo dates. It’s a distinctively American concept that the bulk of where our energy is going has to be monetizable. How silly would it seem to be building sand castles on a beach, writing poetry for an open mic night, or blogging about food trends? You might consider getting a little silly. Somewhere outside of your job, learned somewhere in your past before you had to learn “adulting,” might be a piece of you waiting. You’re the only person who can find it, too. A partner can’t do that for you. If your main goal is to find your person, though, this is still a fantastic exercise. People are attracted to passion. 

Setting Personal Goals for Growth

Setting personal goals is also integral as you navigate how to date yourself. Whatever these goals are, small or grand, they should be meaningful to you. Whether a fitness milestone, a career aspiration, or a creative project, working towards something that betters you will help foster a sense of purpose and achievement, which can contribute to a positive self-image and boost your self-esteem. The idea is to consider that your life, in many aspects, isn’t something you’re experiencing so much as something you’re designing. Consider what’s going to make you healthier and more satisfied, and start building toward that. Most people can carve out 30 minutes a day to do almost anything at all. That’s nearly 183 hours a year. Pick something wonderful, and consider putting it on your daily calendar. 

Solo Adventures and Travel for Self-Reflection

One of the best ways to get reacquainted with yourself is to put yourself in new contexts. Do you like to get scrappy and go backpacking, or do you prefer to be fancy? Your idea of “getting away” and how you unplug from the world will speak to your sense of whimsy, sense of self, and how much you actually enjoy (or don’t enjoy) your day-to-day life. This is invaluable information when you begin to reflect on your relationship values, because you’ll likely be sharing future trips, experiences, and interests with your next partner. A little trip or two during your singlehood might bring needed clarity, and learning how to date yourself in this way might help narrow your understanding of how you’d like to later date with intention, with others.

Psychological Benefits of Dating and Accepting Yourself

While a lot of successful matchmaking relies on identifying behavior patterns, our own perceptions of personality archetypes, and sometimes even the astrological charts, we also rely quite a lot on research. We often talk about attachment style theory, personality tests, and love language theory. We’re open to any and all information that helps move our clients forward, and we know that treating yourself well and dating yourself is an act of self compassion that opens you up to meeting your next partner. 

To see yourself again for the brilliant things you are, and focus less on the things you’re still working to become, is a great exercise. Many people don’t view themselves as “complete,” and when that’s the case, we’ve found that seeking to arrive there through a love interest might be misguided. In fact, a more inward focus might provide you with that visible “wholeness” your next person is looking for. These truths apply to many people, regardless of gender, but we nod to a powerhouse female thought leader in psychology when considering dating as an independent woman. Dr. Kristen Neff, in her book “Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself”, writes:

“Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would extend to a good friend who is going through a difficult time.” 

–And it’s hard out there! We understand that. Date yourself first, and whether by virtue of feeling more whole, or by chance of meeting someone with similar interests while attending self-date activities which you love, you’re likely to get ahead in finding your person.

Get Started Toward Your Last First Date

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