Writer: Amal Magdi and Hagar Sadek
Editor: Amal Magdi
As I sat in that coffee shop downtown, waiting for my friend to arrive, I took a moment to observe my surrounding. My eyes roamed the place for a few seconds then settled on a girl sitting alone in a somewhat secluded corner. It caught my attention, though, that she didn’t look secluded or lonely; just alone. I couldn’t help but watch her sitting there, so calm, an image of perfect serenity, sipping at what l guessed was some sort of flavored tea. She was humming a tune I couldn’t decipher and I found myself almost joining in on her melody. At that moment, I could only think of three things.
The first was why was she alone? Did someone stand her up? She didn’t seem stood up.
The second was what about her caught my attention like that? Is it really just that she’s sitting here alone?
And the third was that by God, I want a cup of whatever she was drinking that got her looking this content and humming sweetly to herself!
While I sat there pondering, my friend finally arrived. We greeted each other and spent a few minutes catching up, while I kept glancing back at the girl (and her drink) the whole time. My friend noticed my shiftiness and asked me what it was so I told her of my observation. And because I pick awesome friends, my friends walked to her, said hi, then told her of my intrigue. They came back together and sat at my table and it was like my mind was on a leash and was just set free. I fired up a thousand questions at her and then we compiled all the information into 5 steps of how to enjoy your own company.
Step 1 THE PREPARATION
It’s your first date and you need to be fully equipped. Over time you’ll figure out what works for you but for now, let’s be prepared.
-small notebook and a pen you like writing with
-a pair of ear-pods or headphones
-all of your favorite music on a device of your choice
-a book you’d wanted to read/ are reading
-a small snack in you pack
Step 2 DRESSING UP -OR DOWN-
It’s a surprise date and we don’t know where we’ll be heading yet. So are we feeling casual comfy outfit, or do we want to go full fashionista mode?
A fun trick is to close your eyes and grab one random item that is now part of your outfit, then complete it with other pieces of your choice.
The important thing is, wear something you feel good about yourself in.
Step 3 THE FLIRTATION
Huh? Flirtation? Yes you read it right. After you’ve put on something you feel good in take a minute to look in the mirror and appreciate that beautiful reflection. Check yourself for any tense muscles but don’t worry about them, they’ll relax in time.
Step 4 DESTINATION
This is one of the most important steps if this is your first date; and a completely skippable one later on. We have three aspects to pick here: type, style, and level of crowd. For your first date, I recommend you pick a dessert place with a bar seating. Pick somewhere that has minimal crowd and a nice view if possible. You’ll appreciate that later, trust me.
Step 5 ACTION TIME
We’re prepped, we’re dressed, and gassed. Now let’s go to that place we picked. First of all, walk in like you own the place (but like you’re a sweet owner who buys his employees dinner on holidays.) Now, take a peek around and pick that perfect spot. Personally, I’m always drawn to corners in cafes and restaurants- unless of course they had a bar that I could take my food to (I don’t know what it is about these high stools but I just love them). Now utilize the tools you have. This is a safe relaxing zone now; you can read some in that book you’ve wanted to read for so long but keep getting distracted, maybe it’ll even inspire you to write out a bit of poetry? Or maybe you’ll pick up a pen and start rambling to yourself in your notebook, getting out all these jumbled up thoughts you haven’t been able to deal with because you never speak of out loud. Don’t decide up front what you’re going to do; we don’t need that kind of pressure around here. Maybe turn up some music and doodle mindlessly. If you don’t feel like doing anything at all, well that is okay too! Sometimes it’s nice to just sit there and observe your view (be it nature, architecture, or that shifty couple on table 3). It comes down to one rule: try to enjoy doing simple little things. It will either end up taking your mind off everything and giving you a break, or in you thinking out something in a clearer mind setting. Either way, you come up winning.
I, myself, decided to take upon that activity into my life style. Let me just tell you, it has had an effect that is simultaneously tremendous and subtle. A week after that meeting with the girl, I found myself standing in front of my mirror, about to do something for the first time: take myself out on a date. Half an hour later, I arrived at this cafe-library I had walked past a while back and always wanted to check out. It was a great place for a first date with myself. I picked out a book and a corner to sit in, and started out my date. A few chapters later, I ordered a coffee and treated myself to a couple of brownies. Hours passed by without me noticing and then I left, feeling.. different. This was all it took for me to keep doing it again. I decided to add a “do a new thing” section in my monthly planner, and that was the section for my self-pampering days. Over time, these dates increased my confidence, creativity, and self-esteem altogether. I could talk on for so much longer, but I think you should just maybe try for yourself.