If you’re single right now, regardless of how you may feel about that fact — whether you’re truly ready to mingle, or simply happier flying solo at the moment — you should figure out how to enjoy spending time alone.
There are so many annoying and outdated tropes about single women, from being called a “spinster” (ick!) to images of a sad, wistful woman alone in a restaurant (remember Carrie Bradshaw in Paris, surrounded by pastries for herself and that sad puppy dog at the next table over?), but the truth is, when you spend time alone, amazing things happen that can end up making your next relationship better.
It may sound like a simple concept, but be honest: When you’re in a relationship, how often are you focused on what the other person wants? Even the most independent ladies can find themselves worrying too much about what their partner thinks or feels. Of course, this can occur in the form of decisions big and small, from choosing a restaurant on date night to major career moves and life changes. What is it that you want to do today? What about in the next year? Five years? You can get a clarity of mind when you spend time alone that is much harder to achieve when you’re coupled up.
2You’ll actually do what you want to do.
Once you figure out what you want, it becomes freeing to do whatever you damn well please. Whether that means spending weekend days at the opera or at a hot yoga class, or checking out all the Thai restaurants in your city, you’re in the driver’s seat of your own life.
3Treating yourself becomes the norm instead of the exception.
Sure, it’s totally sweet to have someone else in your life to spoil, but you’ve gotta learn to treat yourself first, and spending time alone is often the best way to do that. Splurge in whatever way feels good to you — maybe that means checking out an afternoon baseball game and enjoying a hot dog and a beer, or maybe it means a luxurious solo spa day. Either way, pampering yourself will make you feel happier, healthier, and calmer…and your next partner will end up reaping the benefits, too.
4Putting your needs first will become easier.
There’s a reason the plane crew tells you to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting the person next to you — you simply can’t help others if you don’t help yourself first. Spending one-on-one time with yours truly lets you explore how good that feels and how important it really is.
5You’ll learn how to communicate better.
Even the most self-assured, outgoing person can find it hard to communicate well in a relationship. But spending time solo can only serve to strengthen those communication skills. Being in touch with yourself when you’re a party of one will make it easier to handle adding another person’s thoughts and feelings to the mix.
6You will begin to appreciate the quiet moments.
Whether you’re single or not, most of us spend so much of our days in a frenzied rush that it’s hard to actually be alone with our thoughts. Quiet moments can actually be quite unsettling at first…like the gut instinct to check our phones in the 30 seconds spent on the Starbucks line (guilty!) or the need to turn the TV on the second we plop down on the couch at night. But figuring out how to remain present in a moment of solitude is crucial…you’ll learn how to truly appreciate having nothing to focus on, even if just for five minutes.
How might this benefit your next relationship, you ask? Well, when you’re with someone long-term, the natural rush and excitement of a new relationship will always fade away, leaving more and more quiet moments. When you become comfortable in those moments of silence, you’ll cherish enjoying them with someone else.
7You’ll learn self-acceptance.
We live in a world of constant validation — it’s OK to admit that you get a rush when your phone buzzes with likes, messages, and mentions. But spending time alone means you learn all the awesome things about you, which will ultimately boost your own self-esteem. Without getting too cheesy or New Age-y, self-love is so important, because it’s much harder to love someone else when you don’t love yourself first. Being alone gives you the time and space to work on loving yourself, and that’s invaluable for having a successful relationship with anyone, but especially a romantic one.
8You’ll become your own biggest cheerleader.
When you learn to love and accept yourself just as you are, you learn how to become your own best friend…and that’s a major accomplishment. Being the captain of your own team will naturally drive you to seek out relationships that are healthy for you, only with people who truly deserve all your greatness. Rah rah, girl! You’ve got this.
9You’ll learn how to be a better friend.
All that time spent connecting with your feelings will ultimately make you more sensitive to the wants and needs of those around you, which will make you more empathetic to your next partner’s wants and needs.
10It can awaken your sense of adventure.
Even if sitting in a movie theater alone is your idea of an adventurous day out, that’s OK! Learning to do things alone will make it easier to step outside your comfort zone in all areas of your life, whether you’re solo or paired up. Plus, when you do things like take a trip alone or try things you always wanted to try but could never find someone to do them with, you will have incredible stories to tell when you do find someone special to share your days with. Trying new things alone makes you more feel daring and well-rounded.
As you can see, spending time alone is cathartic for your heart and soul in so many ways. It’s always good to remember that being alone does not equal being lonely, and your future relationships will thrive the more you revel in this solitude. Enjoy every second!