How to be single and still have a life
Following on from our popular article How to ditch the ‘I can’t, I’m single’ excuses we’ve put together a list of some of our member’s most common challenges when wanting to live a full and rounded single life. Once you’ve begun to slowly replace excuses and clichés with honest answers, the best way to get moving is to take small steps. Keep in mind that you may not enjoy all of your solo activities and that it’s okay to decide if some are not for you. What’s important is that you try before writing them off.
Here are a few ways to inch your way into becoming truly footloose and fancy-free.
Going to the cinema or theatre alone
Friday or Saturday night peak time may at first be too much for you to bear, so try going to an earlier lunchtime showing or matinee. If possible, choose a venue that you’re familiar with, so you feel less daunted by your surroundings and will find comfort in already knowing where everything is. Arriving early is useful to allow you to get comfortable, it also helps if you worry about people watching you walk in by yourself. Seeing a film or show alone is the perfect way to become fully engrossed in it, and you can be certain that when the lights are down you’re the last thing on people’s minds.
Eating out alone
If this is something you’ve never done, except for a lunch hour sandwich at your local deli, then perhaps don’t begin with a 12 course evening meal. Start with an early sit down breakfast before work or a meal at lunch in a real restaurant. Lunch times are often so busy that you’ll hardly be noticed and may not be the only single diner in there. You can ease yourself into experiences like this by asking for a corner table or taking some paperwork as a backup if you really feel nervous. For your first dinner alone, try booking a table for 6pm or 7pm rather than busier dining hours such as 8pm or 9pm.
This is your chance to experiment and try new things. At the start of relationships when everything is new and fresh there’s a lot of experimenting that goes on with each other. As with all things however, once the excitement simmers down, it can be very easy to get stuck in a rut with where you shop and what you buy. The same is true of life as a single person. Stop seeing grocery shopping as a purely functional exercise, always aim to buy and try at least one new thing. And take your time, there’s no need to rush.
Cooking for one
Stop focusing on who isn’t there and concentrate on who is – you. What do you really fancy eating, regardless of how long it’s going to take to cook? Ask yourself, are leftovers so bad, can you have them for lunch the next day or freeze them for another meal next week?
This is one of the easiest excuses to get rid of, once you start to value yourself above an imaginary person who isn’t yet there to share your moment. Keep fast food and ready meals as a treat. Look after and enjoy yourself.
When you find it difficult to eat out alone or go to the cinema, it’s likely that you’ll also find the idea of solo travel very daunting. Again, begin small by staying one night at a hotel in your own country, perhaps a weekend in a city that’s a train ride or drive away. As you become more confident with being seen as a single person exploring new places, try overnight city breaks in neighbouring countries and then gradually expand outwards. Focus on the things you want to do, the experience you want to have and your safety. Independent travel can be extraordinarily liberating, confidence boosting and relaxing.
Dating events and singles nights
It’s quite astounding how many people attend singles nights with a friend or companion for support. Whilst this is perfectly fine if it’s the only way you’re able to pluck up the courage, take time to consider the reason you’re going. Then think about the chances of being approached if you’re alone, as opposed to deep in conversation with your married best friend.
A lot of dating events are well-structured these days to stop you aimlessly floating around the room with no one to talk to. To ease yourself in, look for events that have a clear plan for the night and go with an aim to meet a few nice people, rather than getting married and living happily ever after.