The Cult of Alone Time: Are Too Many Self-Dates Detrimental?

The Cult of Alone Time: Are Too Many Self-Dates Detrimental?

The cult of alone time: are too many self-dates detrimental?  by Faraday Gamble 


‘You just need to be alone in your 20s’ I heard the internet tell me before I had even accepted that my teenage years were nearly over. And so I did that: I took trips alone and went on self-dates and spent every evening journaling. I thoroughly enjoyed all of this and boasted endlessly about the benefits I had found from it. 

Holidays alone meant I could spend as much time as I wanted in museums and dinner spots were dependent on what I was craving that day. Journaling taught me more about myself and self-dates boosted my confidence.


Yet a week later, after returning from a seven-week solo trip, I was isolated, guilty and bored as I spent time alone. I stayed within the four walls of my house and spent most of my days on the sofa, scrolling and watching home improvement TV shows. 

Not only was my mental health suffering, but the rosy narrative that I should be able to spend time alone and enjoy my own company made me feel incredibly guilty that I couldn’t. I saw people solo travelling, solo dating and doing solo self-care splashed across my TikTok and Instagram pages but my alone time was looking nothing like it. 


The notion of learning to spend time alone is an important one. Solo travelling and the solo ‘dates’ I had gone on were amazing experiences, helping to boost my confidence, allowing me to explore new places and giving me the headspace to really get comfortable with mind. 


“Being alone allows you to explore your thoughts, feelings and interests without distraction….I think this is really important if you are an empath or sensitive person because you need the time not soaking up other people's stuff,” says Vicky, a life coach and the woman behind the mental health-focused Instagram page 


But too much time with just your thoughts can be equally as difficult and detrimental. Time alone without structure can end up feeling wasted and sloppy. It can make you feel isolated or unsettled and can easily make someone’s mental health better than worse. 


So how do you strike the right balance of solo Saturdays, group ‘hangs’ and friend-dates? 


Vicky suggests a routine or plan for this alone time: “I carve out time every week to spend 2-3 hours alone doing an activity I enjoy out of the house,” she explains, suggesting the key to the perfect solo date is something structured and fun, such as a trip to your favourite coffee shop or picking up a new hobby. 


The detriment of this positive isolation is in the detail. Too much time spent by yourself, at home and without structure or a plan is the wrong way to go about learning to enjoy your own company. 


Your solo dates don’t have to look a certain way either. Just because everyone is going for dinner alone or trips to the cinema solo doesn’t mean you also have to do this. Your solo dates may be going for a hike or reading your favourite book in the park. It doesn’t need to be a big event or a scary prospect if you listen to what your body and mind truly want. 

And if after a few weeks, you find it isn’t for you, don’t add any guilt and shame. Not everyone suits solo dates and you aren’t a failure for that. 



You can read more of Faraday's work on and follow her social media @gamblegittings 

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