The only thing more nerve-wracking than going on a first date is going out by yourself. If you disagree with that statement, then, congrats! You don’t suffer from soul-crushing social anxiety. You can click out of this article and, oh, I don’t know, do whatever it is that mentally sound people do. If you do agree with that statement, then you, my love, have come to the right place. You’re going to learn how to go on a solo date.
Because not only do I pride myself on being a dating expert, I am an anxiety expert. So what better combo of dating and anxiety is there but a SOLO DATE? Going out by yourself can be terrifying, but it’s also one of the most fun, sexy, and healthy things you can do. Doesn’t it always work out like that? The scary things are always lit. Anyway, if you want to try taking your sexy self out on the town for some cocktails and delicious food, but your nerves are getting in the way, here’s a step by step guide on how to rock a solo date, anxiety and all.
1. Pick Somewhere New Enough to be Exciting, but Comfortable Enough to be Safe
This is key. You want to go somewhere, ideally, that you’ve been to once, but not more than that. This is to ensure that your anxious brain won’t spiral: What if it’s a weird, invite-only restaurant? What if it’s insanely crowded with supermodels? What if it’s one of those places that is so expensive they don’t even put the prices on the menu? What if they don’t have Espolon tequila? And so on.
Since you’ve been there before, you can picture the layout. A huge part of my anxiety—and I’m assuming yours too, babe—is the unknown and unfamiliar. It can be terrifying to walk into completely uncharted territory by yourself, and I want you to enjoy yourself rather than panic.
That being said, a healthy sense of panic adds excitement: If you go somewhere you’ve been a million times before, it isn’t a sexy date night; its the same old thing. Challenge yourself.
2. Dress Sexy AF
You are hot AF. You deserve to get all dolled up for you—and only you. Plus, looking sexy can alleviate parts of your anxiety. My anxious thoughts be like, is everyone staring at me? And if they are, at least you know you look gorgeous.
3. Have a Book
Ideally, one day, you’ll be so comfortable you can legit just chill with yourself and your thoughts. But since you’re an anxious babe, you need something to occupy your mind from spiraling. What better than a book? Not only do you get to enjoy a lit book (might I recommend what I’m currently reading?) you also look like the sexy, mysterious, smart girl.
This advice applies to anything, especially enjoying a night out by yourself. Down that Belvedere martini, girl, and your anxiety will swim far, far away.
5. Sit at a Table
I know your impulse might be to sit at the bar, so as not to take up to much space (another one of my anxieties). But you deserve to take up a whole damn table. Plus, you don’t run the risk of people talking to you or having to make awkward small talk with the bartender. Personally, my deepest anxiety is walking into a restaurant to relax only to be painfully intimidated by the lesbian bartender.
6. Eat in Stages
Relax. Treat yourself. Order an appetizer. Chill. Order an entree. CHILL. Order another glass of wine. Chill some more. Order dessert. And why not more wine?
7. Get TF Off Your Phone
Seriously. I know that this is the most basic advice ever, but it’s given again and again because it’s actually L-I-T, if you follow through with it. You take your phone to the bathroom with you; you fall asleep while scrolling through Instagram; you grab your phone and hungrily scroll the second you wake up. Not to sound like a baby boomer, but you’re always on that damn phone! Why not take some time to remember who you are without it? It’s a simple, albeit challenging pleasure to just sit and enjoy and not worry about likes, work emails, or answering your girlfriend’s texts.
8. Take Your Time
When I go out by myself, I feel the need to eat as fast as I can, out of anxiety. I challenge you to truly savor the experience. Literally, hang out with yourself and enjoy your company. Eat slowly. Sip slowly.
9. Be Proud to Be Alone
Not like Spongebob. Smile. You are a bad bitch who is secure enough to be out on the town by her damn self. Be proud! Don’t slump in your seat and avert your eyes from anyone who walks past.
10. Pick a Less Busy Night
All of that empowering stuff said, you are still a babe with anxiety. It’s okay to not be ready to go out on a bustling Saturday night and panic that you are getting weird looks or holding up a table. Go on a weeknight when the crowds are smaller. And might I suggest traveling a bit, if you’re feeling up to it? Everywhere in the city can seem packed to the brim, no matter the day, but there are some amazing restaurants in Brooklyn and Queens that don’t have the same crowds. My favorite spot for a solo date night, where I will literally read a book cover-to-cover and drink a bottle of wine by myself and feast on mozzarella, is Julia’s cafe in Ridgewood. If I see you on a solo date there, I’ll send a drink over to your table. But don’t worry, I won’t say hi. I’ll leave you and you to your beautiful evening.