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50 Things You Can Do to Pass Time When You're Single

Sheila is an artist who is often inspired by the beauty in the world.

What not to do: pull split ends, call your ex (or drunk text them), wallow in self-pity.

What you should never do: Facebook stalk your ex, post drama queen messages on your news feed, eat yourself into a trip to the ER, have cheap affairs to dull the pain.

Well, if you're single, and have been for some time, you might consider the last tip as a "break in case of emergency" last resort. But make sure you use protection (and at least be somewhat selective with your choice of an emergency warm body).

For all non-emergencies, here's a list of 50 fabulous things to do while you're single. I'm sure you're an expert at passing the time on your own, but in case the thought of breaking the glass comes to mind, here are a few ideas before desperation sets in.

What to Do When You're Scared, Bored, or Tired of Being Single?

  1. Draw. You don't have to be artistic, just pick up a pen or pencil and doodle. Very therapeutic. Especially when you draw an ex with horns and a snake tongue.
  2. Volunteer. What do you like? Pets? Art? Kids? Try any place where they can be found, like a shelter, museum, or hospital. It really gives you a boost to give unconditionally.
  3. Write. Journal your thoughts. Start a blog. Write a novel you've always dreamed of.
  4. Do yoga. Not only can you get in shape, but you can find your inner peace. This is even better for guys: you can meet lots of women as they outnumber men by about 30:1.
  5. Get your hair done. No need for the $200 salon treatment. If you are tight on your budget, find a local beauty school where they will pamper your hair for less.
  6. Find an extra job. Look up freelancing opportunities in your area doing what you're skilled at. The extra income will make you feel better, and give you more liquid cash to pay for liquid pleasure at the bars on weekends.
  7. Read. Go online for quick articles or read a novel about enlightenment. You can't go wrong if you give yourself some time. Oh, but stay away from the sparkly vampire stories... it's bad for your blood.
  8. Make friends. That means you'll have to get out and socialize, so yeah, be brave. The worst that can happen: you're ignored. The best that can happen: you meet new friends. Duh.
  9. Play music loud and sing along. Or just dance. You don't need an audience. A mirror in your home will do.
  10. Try on outfits. This is a tip mostly for women, but it won't hurt to try regardless. How many times have you been invited somewhere and said, "I have nothing to wear!" Well then go and find something ahead of time.
  11. Pay your bills. I know, you should do it anyway, but sometimes you forget this stuff when you're so busy being single... and fabulous.
  12. Do some gardening. Assuming you are a homeowner or rent a place with a yard. Otherwise, you can buy a house plant and just nurture it. Find something low-maintenance like a cactus, or you'll be more depressed when you see the withering plant when you come home.
  13. Wash your car. I know, Captain Obvious again, but really, when you wash your car by hand and see the before and after result, it really can give you a boost for a sense of accomplishment.
  14. Put on some sexy clothes. Hey, you don't need a partner to feel sexy. You can psyche yourself up for the real deal when it happens by having dress rehearsals in the meantime.
  15. Watch feel-good movies. I suggest Bridesmaids for women, The Hangover for men. Bonding with friends, that's where it's at... *wipes tear*
  16. Bond with your friends. Schedule regular visits with the homies (or home-girls). *wipes tear*
  17. Take a luxury bath. Scented candles, bath oil, soothing music, ambiance... the whole nine yards. You're worth it.
  18. Do yourself. Why not? No one is watching.
  19. Buy something you want but don't need. And in my case, that's something I need but can't afford on my priority list. Go ahead: buy the name-brand hair conditioner!
  20. Laugh. Watch a funny movie or attend a comedy show.
  21. Clean out the clutter. Don't be in denial: we all have some junk hanging around. Pull it out and throw it away, have a garage sale, advertise it online, or schedule a pickup with a donation center. YOU CAN DO IT!
  22. Find a new look. For women: try a new makeup style using magazines as inspiration. For guys: change the color of your shirt.
  23. Find a new hobby. Always wanted to try cooking? Go to a food instruction course at a local college or find an amateur chef holding classes at his or her home. Try Craigslist.
  24. Go for a walk. You must have some access to public passages near your home. Go. Walk. Talk to yourself. Talk to your imaginary friend. Relax and enjoy the views.
  25. Go for a bike ride. Assuming you have a bike, of course.
  26. Chat online. That is: with people who are single, and you aren't leading them on with false hope.
  27. Adopt a pet. Once you do, you'll have lots to do as a responsibility to your pet. You won't even wonder what you should do to pass the time.
  28. Tend to kids. Assuming that you have them. Or you can spoil someone else's kids, assuming they're your close friends or relatives.
  29. Do an act of kindness. Pay a homeless person on the street. Let the person behind you with less groceries ahead of you. Pay for the person behind you in the toll booth. Karma, baby!
  30. Cut out one bad habit. Drink too much? Talk too much? Watch too much porn? Cut back on the bad, and accentuate the good. It's a win-win.
  31. Enter a marathon. Remember that you'll have to work up to it by starting weeks or months in advance. Otherwise, you might throw up and pass out on the event.
  32. Go to a reception. Art gallery? History museum? Concert? Where there's red tape to be cut, there's an opportunity to mingle. Go socialize!
  33. Start a project. Men are good at this with their model cars and fixing real cars. Women: try knitting a sweater, try a new recipe, or do some Spring cleaning (even if it's the dead of winter).
  34. Attend church. Assuming you don't already. Or try a new one. Break away from being a creature of habit. After all, religion is about acceptance and tolerance. You can't go wrong.
  35. Try a new food. Hate curry? That's okay, so do I. But do try to expand your taste buds by trying new things. You might find that new flavors are just what the doctor ordered.
  36. Hibernate. Figuratively speaking, of course. You don't have to date. Enjoy your time on your own snuggling up with a warm blanket and the TV.
  37. Try something you've never tried before. This goes beyond your culinary escapades. Go for something that requires actions, words, writing, or energy.
  38. Clean out the clutter in your life. Reconnect with old friends or loved ones you've been neglecting. Take on the goal you've been putting off. The best that can happen is you find the true self you've always tried to be.
  39. Take a class in a new passion. You're never too old to learn, nor are there too many skills you've aced. Common... be honest with yourself and try something new and daring.
  40. Clean your room. Hate to sound like a mommy, but the answer I often get from my kids is, "I felt so much better when I cleaned up. I can't believe I didn't do this sooner!"
  41. Dance. Oh yeah, like Lady Gaga sings, "Just dance!" Best way to wiggle out your stress and feel way better instantly!
  42. Drive. I love the way a long drive on the 405 near the beach feels when I drive back from LA. Assuming there's no traffic. All two days of the year, of course.
  43. Go to the beach. Oh, like the previous post, there's something so fundamental about hearing the waves crashing, the seagulls crying and the peacefulness that nothing else matters but you and the sand beneath you at the moment. If you're on any coast, DO IT!
  44. Lay on a makeshift beach. Like the previous post, any watering hole will do. Just have a blanket, lay down, close your eyes, and relax. The motion of the ocean (or lake, river or stream) will do the rest.
  45. Call your friends. "Reach out and touch someone" was not just a marketing logo; it is a call for humanity!
  46. Shoot something. Okay, take pictures preferably. But shooting guns, paintballs, BB's, or going to a laser tag center will do the trick. Bring a friend if you have to... or make a new one.
  47. Forgive. Take time to look back at old wounds, and learn to let go of old animosity. It will do YOU more good than it does your enemies.
  48. Burn old photos. You know the ones I'm talking about. Do it. It's cathartic, trust me!
  49. Make plans. Get out your calendar and start penciling things in. Even if it says, "Dinner for one, starring 'me'."
  50. Rest. Go to bed early, or take a nap. When you're rested, you're more able to deal with the stresses of life. You owe yourself that favor. Make time and do it.

What other tips would you suggest? What is your favorite pastime as a single?

Questions & Answers

Question: My girlfriend broke up with me three months ago. I'm still so heartbroken. I've looked at the above, but how do I just get over her?

Answer: I'm sorry but there's no fast way to heal from a broken heart. Time is the only real cure, and lots of self-reflection and growth. Every relationship is a lesson about what you do and don't want in the future.

Question: What is your favorite thing to do when you're single?

Answer: I love to spend time relaxing at the beach. Most days, I enjoy liquid vacation.

Question: How does anyone get over a close friend?

Answer: It depends on the circumstances of why you no longer stay in touch. If it was spiteful, the healing will be faster. If you lost someone you still care about, the hurt will linger. It's the same way with romantic relationships.

Question: Why is knitting listed as a hobby for women? I don't know many women who would be up for that.

Answer: That's why there are more options.


Sheila Varga Szabo (author) from Southern California on December 28, 2019:

They have lots of Meetup groups in your local area that have events doing things you enjoy, like hiking, dancing, wine tasting, etc. It's always a great idea to get out and socialize, and meet new friends along the way. Best wishes to you, Donna.

Donna Rayne from Greenwood, Indiana on December 28, 2019:

Hi Sheila, you have lots of great ideas for newly single people. But what about 55+ newly singles? I'm separated from the spouse with no way to get back together, my choice, what are some ideas that you think would be for me?


Read More From Pairedlife

Bobby on November 16, 2019:

Sigh. Not only I am single but I have no friends because I moved to NYC in my 20s solo and never really socialized bc I was too dedicated to college and career. I've been alone and single for a few months now and every weekend sucks. I might try going to a bar alone and hope that brings some sort of satisfaction. I've never been a fan of drinking alone but, hate it, feels to weird to me if I was tipsy alone but I'm 33 years old now and I have slowly begun to get over that.

Candy on September 27, 2019:

I picked up overtime and am going to Cuba. Back to my passion...travelling. Also started taking latin dance lessons

Slartybartfast on March 05, 2019:

After my divorce I worked two jobs to pay off the mountain of debt she left me. I then went back to school and finished my engineering degree.

I got into long distance cycling and am in the best shape of my life.

I also took some art, history and music classes. Tutored calculus and programming, read war and peace and am currently restoring an old brick farmhouse.

I wouldn't have had the time or money to do these things if I was spending it dating.

EddySullivan on July 31, 2018:

To me its not the boredom of single life that's getting at me. It is extremely rare that I have nothing to do all.

Waking up alone everyday is super depressing for me and there isnt a quick or easy fix for that ((

Saramv on February 01, 2018:

I am involved in several projects such as writing a scientific book as a co-author. Also, I have to do some edition. Furthermore, I have to write some manuscripts in the near future. After all, I have to prepare myself for IELTS exam during this busy situation. Also, I have to sometimes think about my beloved one who has not suggest me any kinds of relationship.

Michelle Dee from Charlotte, NC on July 07, 2013:

Join to find a group that specializes in doing activities you love to do, i.e. hiking, dining out, volunteering, you name it - you will probably find it on meetup. Get out there and make new friends and have fun.

beibe on March 03, 2013:

#'s 29,39,41, and 47 all strike me as doable. #48 I don't know about. Did that in 2004 and now regret not having them anymore. I am just starting here and like your article. It's plain to see that you have a talent for writing. Will enjoy reading more in the future. beibe

buddhaanalysis on November 24, 2012:

I do these things cos i'm born single.

Sheila Varga Szabo (author) from Southern California on November 10, 2012:

Thank you, nurseleah. I appreciate the kind feedback. Good to see you're on the right path, regardless of being single. Kudos!

Leah Wells-Marshburn from West Virginia on November 10, 2012:

Oh, I had to stop reading and skip straight to the "Comments" section when I got to #22: "For guys: change the color of your shirt." Too funny!

When I'm single, I love to get as healthy as possible. I've got plenty of time to count calories, simple and complex carbs, proteins, saturated and unsaturated fats, etc. I have time for gym activities, new exercise regimens, and more.

I also love any philanthropy activities, especially those that involve road trips with friends. A couple of friends and I recently drove 6 hours to do a suicide walk. It was incredibly cathartic. This article actually makes me miss being single. Freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want to do it and be totally self-obsessed...priceless.

Sheila Varga Szabo (author) from Southern California on October 10, 2012:

Thanks for that, ChitrangadaSharan. Time flies when you're in love or having fun, so if you don't have love in your life, at least have fun in the meantime.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 09, 2012:

Celebrate your freedom and avoid self pity---are the most important things to do. Keeping yourself busy always works. Useful and comprehensive list of ' To do' things, when you are single---nice and interesting hub. Thanks for sharing.

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