19 Things To Do Before You Start Dating

In a twist of fate (or perhaps stroke of karma since I don’t know his name) the Boy I Kissed in St Katharine’s Docks stood me up on our date. Well, I say ‘stood up’ but he actually just ghosted me on the day of the date and didn’t tell me when or where we were meeting.

But, at the risk of sounding like a bride who says she ‘wasn’t even that keen on the whole marriage thing’ when she gets stood up at the altar, I think this is a good thing. Like I said before, there are things I feel I need to do before I start dating again.

If you are in a similar position, where you miss the fun of going on a date but don’t feel read to go on an actual date, then try out this Singleton’s To-Do List:

1. Read War and Peace

Or any long book. The feeling you get after finishing a long book is, I’d imagine, how a woman feels after she gives birth to triplets.

2. Buy Dua Lipa’s new album and learn the words

How are you going to get ahead in the dating game if you don’t know the New Rules?

3. Use a fake identity to flirt with a stranger

You can’t catch feels if they think you’re Kelly Anderson, a marketing executive from Dublin.

4. Go to a Slam Poetry event

Slam Poetry is a surreal spectacle. It is impossible to have an existential crisis while watching someone turn their pain into beautiful Poetry.

5. Visit the Planetarium

Your worries feel insignificant when you remember you’re on a tiny planet on a relatively small solar system in a ginormous galaxy

6. Write 10 chapters of a book

You know that book you’ve been planning in your head since you were 18? It’s time to put pen to paper.

7. Learn the moves to the Hoedown Throwdown

It requires skill and patience to be able to pop it, lock it and polka dot it like Queen Cyrus herself.

8. Go on holiday

It doesn’t have to be far away. Groupon is my go-to place for cheap city breaks. Grab a pal and take a road trip (very PS I Love You) or even take yourself away (if you’re feeling Eat, Pray, Love).

9. Visit Ballie Ballersen

It’s a bar with a massive ball pit. Need I say more?

10. Work on your self esteem

There are CBT workbooks available for improving your self esteem. The most important thing I’ve learnt from this is there’s a big difference between fact and opinion. So I may think ‘I’m going to die alone, nobody loves me’ but this is, in fact, my opinion of myself. It’s not solid Einstein-esque fact. And therefore, you don’t have to believe it – especially when there is a lot of evidence to prove the contrary.

11. Go to an exhibition on your own

There is no greater feeling than walking around an exhibition of an artist you admire, and really taking in their work (I’m aware this sounds wanky, but hear me out). I recently went to the Another Kind of Life exhibition at Barbican Centre and it was amazing. I thought I’d be there for 30 minutes and stayed for three hours. I laughed, I cried, I’d go again. But not with someone else – I hate feeling rushed (like when you go shopping with your friend and she doesn’t understand you need 45 minutes in the dressing room to decide if you do like that £10 top enough to buy it)

12. Go to a party you were not invited to

Look out for press events like shop openings or book launches. These are usually possible to blag your way into. And when it comes round to London Fashion Week, the city and its penthouse apartments are open to you.

13. Take a spontaneous road trip

It’s a rite of passage for any singleton who is unsure what she wants out of life (think: Cameron Diaz going to the beach in What Happens in Vegas).

14. Binge watch a series on Netflix

You know that show you’ve wanted to get into for ages? Now is the time to watch a series in one sitting and truly start #livingyourbestlife.

Would particularly recommend The Good Place or Crazy Ex Girlfriend.

15. Watch The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

It’s been waiting on my bookshelf for months. Apparently it’s a very poignant look at a break up. So that could be handy if you need to get over your ex.

16. Write at least five poems

This is particularly good to do if you’re not in a great mental state. I know it’s a cardinal sin to say that writing can be cathartic but, hey, I will fight anyone that says Ted Hughes didn’t get just a teeny bit of closure after writing Birthday Letters.

17. Learn a new skill

Whether that be learning a new language (ambitious) or going to a pottery class (still ambitious but takes less time), a new skill boosts your self-esteem. Plus it means there are fewer hours in the day for you to contemplate the meaning of life and whether you are destined to die alone in a flat share in Clapham.

18. Go to a gallery and draw

It may sound whimsical and romantic, but what’s wrong with a little whimsy and romance? Drawing requires you to really focus on what you’re doing, which ties into mindfulness, focusing on the present etc etc.

It’s just good for your self esteem.

19. Go to the cinema on your own.

It doesn’t matter what you go in see (although don’t be that masochist who takes herself to a rom com). Just go to the cinema, buy a big bucket of popcorn that will last you past the adverts, and lose yourself in another person’s story for two hours. Maybe you can’t run away from your problems, but you can hit pause when you’re at the cinema.

There are, of course, other things you may want to do before you start dating – namely, sexual things with strangers. And, yes, it may seem like an excellent idea to have a quickie on a club dance floor. But proceed with caution and make sure this is something you really want. I’m not saying that casual sex is bad for your self esteem, but I think you need to have high self esteem to get (literally) on top.

If you don’t think you’re there yet, then hopefully these 19 challenges will make you enjoy spending time with yourself. And then once you’ve done that, you can move on to spending time with strangers from Bumble.

To quote Queen Ru:

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