Whether you’re married or just loyal to your work wife, going on solo dates is the ultimate form of Me Time. But if you’ve never treated yourself to a decadent dinner for one, it might feel a little unusual to take up social space and time all by yourself–which is, of course, the whole point. Here’s a quick guide to going it alone, and loving it.

The Mission: Dinner for One
“Our parents’ generation will tell you a single woman should never dine alone,” says Nicole Vitagliano, who runs the renowned New York City restaurant The Musket Room with her twin sister Jen. “But they’re wrong–I love it.” Nicole notes it’s totally normal for solo diners to make a reservation or sit at the bar, where you can either be chatty with the bartender or dive into a great book–no pressure either way. And because you’re ordering food and drinks on your own terms, you can indulge in hard-to-share foods like shellfish… or eat an entire plate of pasta without feeling obligated to tell your girlfriend, “Take as much as you want!” when you really mean “Sorry babe, get your own fettuccine.”

The Mission: A Movie
Listen, movie dates can be great, but just between us? Sometimes watching films is way better by yourself. For two glorious hours (or more, if it’s a Tarantino flick), you can sit uninterrupted and slurp Cherry Coke…or copy Rachel, our digital manager, who swears Chinese takeout is the food to smuggle into cinemas. But we’ll admit going to the movies alone can seem scary (or even lame) if you’ve never done it before, so here’s our advice: Pick a movie you’re dying to see, or one you loved so much, you have to see again. Arrive 20 minutes early to scope out the best seat (middle of the aisle, five rows down, obviously). Unpack and arrange your food ahead of time to avoid the dreaded mid-movie snack rustle. You can even bring a blanket or cozy coat to cocoon inside. Besides having a delightful night to yourself, you’ll actually get to immerse yourself in the show… without wondering if your date’s gonna grab your hand in the popcorn bucket.

The Mission: A Vacation With Yourself
“There’s something empowering about flopping onto a huge hotel bed all by yourself,” says our editorial director Faran–and since she travels to Fashion Months in London, Milan, and Paris every year, she should know. But going it alone isn’t just for (admittedly cool) work trips: If you’re a beach lover, try signing up for a retreat where you can meet new friends while relaxing solo (we like Spirit Monkeys, an adventure that combines meditation, energy healing, yoga, and surfing), or find a spa resort that’s a few hours away and set some intentions for a healing long weekend. You can also pick a city where some old friends live, so you’re staying solo but making plans (and maybe even Bumble dates!) with people throughout the day. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, join the addictive Facebook group Girls Love Travel, and plan a far-flung odyssey with input from their intrepid frequent fliers.

* And for those times when you’d prefer to have someone tag along, click here. *

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