TikTok's 'Masterdating' Trend Is Peak Self-Care

News flash: You don't need a plus-one to have an amazing date. At least that's the idea behind TikTok's "masterdating" trend. And no, that's not a typo — masterdating is a play on words (you can probably guess which one), referring to the act of taking yourself out on a date. The term has racked up over 4 million views on TikTok, with videos offering a variety of ways to get in on the trend. For instance, creator Hope With Holly says she goes to Sam's Club to buy herself a bouquet of flowers, while Brianne Hogan suggests flying solo to a movie. Another TikToker named Olwyn even started their masterdate night with a trip to the McDonald's drive-thru.

With masterdating, the point is not so much to do something grand or spend a lot of money (though you certainly can if you so desire). Instead, it's all about practicing self-care and partaking in the activities that bring you pleasure, regardless of your relationship status. "Taking yourself out on dates is an exercise in self-love and self-compassion," Amy Nobile, a holistic dating coach, shared with the New York Post. "You're teaching yourself about your own needs, requirements, the things that bring you joy." And though masterdating can't replace quality time with friends or an actual partner, it offers some solitary fulfillment a lot of us could use some more of.

The benefits of masterdating

Going to dinner alone or taking yourself out to the movies might feel awkward at first. However, discovering — and overcoming — that discomfort is one of the biggest benefits of solo dates, according to wellness expert Dr. Bruce Y. Lee. In a Psychology Today article, Dr. Lee explained that solo dating allows you to realize how much you might be depending on a partner for your happiness, a habit that can create relationship issues later. Getting used to doing things by yourself can help you find fulfillment on your own, which can strengthen your partnerships in the future.

Similarly, the lack of distractions on masterdates makes it easier to look inward and learn more about yourself. "Some of the greatest gains come from personal growth because you step out of your comfort zone, try new things and have time for reflection. This can allow you to discover things you didn't know about yourself and increase your self-confidence," clinical psychologist Tamara Cavenett revealed to Refinery29.

Perhaps the most straightforward benefit of all is that you get to do whatever strikes your fancy. Browse your favorite shops, try that cake shop you've been eyeing for ages, or take a day trip to your favorite nearby town. You can tune into what you're craving without compromising or bouncing ideas off of someone else.

How to show yourself some love on your masterdate

As we mentioned earlier, there isn't really a right or wrong way to try the masterdating trend. That said, there are a few tips to make your day extra special, as well as some no-nos to avoid. First, if you want to go all out, go for it. "Make a whole day of it," Amy Nobile told the New York Post. "Send yourself flowers in the morning, send yourself a sweet note saying, 'I can't wait to see you tonight,' schedule a fancy mode of transportation to get yourself to the date — make it a full day of love."

If showering yourself with over-the-top affection isn't your thing, no worries. Dating expert Melissa Stone told Glamour that you can choose between a chill day, an adventurous date, or anything in between. No matter which route you take, Stone suggested researching and planning in advance so you feel confident and are less likely to run into unexpected snags.

Finally, allow yourself to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. If a solo date triggers your nerves, roll with it. Take some deep breaths, resist the urge to bury your face in your phone, and recognize your progress once the date's over. The more you practice masterdating (because obvi this shouldn't be a one-time thing), the easier it will get.