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'Masterdating' —The New TikTok Dating Trend

This self-reflection, self-care approach can end up being self-empowering.

Key points

  • "Masterdating" is going out on dates alone to get to know yourself better and take care of yourself. 
  • Masterdating can reveal whether you can actually be by yourself rather than always needing a partner.
  • Taking time out for real self-reflection and self-care can help your health and life in many different ways.
  • You can't find the right partner and relationship without better knowing and taking care of yourself.
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Masterdating is essentially when you go out on dates by yourself. This entails spending some quality time alone getting to know yourself better and taking care of yourself.
Westend61/Getty Images

Be very careful when you pronounce this word that's become a new TikTok dating trend. After all, when you tell others that you are "masterdating" because you are tired of the dating scene, they may get the wrong idea. Not that there is anything wrong with participating in various types of self-love. But masterdating is a kind of self-love practice that you should feel more comfortable doing out in the open, even in public.

Even though masterdating seems to be newly trending right now, it's not a completely new term. A search will reveal mentions of it here and there way before the TikTok thing. The word masterdating is a play on the word that means play with yourself in a sexual kind of way. But masterdating has "d" where a "b" would be for "masturbating." And that "be" the difference.

Masterdating is essentially going out on dates by yourself. It entails spending some quality time alone to get to know yourself and take care of yourself well. As is the case when you go out on dates with someone else, a masterdate can come in many different forms and settings, from simply carving out time to self-reflect to actually taking yourself out on a full-blown elaborate date. You can masterdate in the privacy of your own home, a restaurant, a theater, a spa, a ballgame, the park, or basically anywhere.

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It can feel daunting to be by yourself. But it is important to learn whether you can stand being alone.
Source: Flashpop/Getty Images

Why consider masterdating? Believe it or not, rejection is still a real possibility when asking yourself for a date. This isn't due to using the wrong pick-up line on yourself. Rather, not everyone can stand being alone. And in this case, alone doesn't just mean physically alone while texting on the toilet, scrolling through social media, or doing something else that's keeping you distracted. Asking yourself for a date can help indicate whether you're someone who always needs a partner to feel happy, confident, and fulfilled, which can be a recipe for unhealthy attractions and relationships. After all, the best relationships are by choice when two relatively complete and self-fulfilled people decide to voluntarily come together.

Assuming that you can convince yourself to go on a date and don't play hard to get, masterdating can help train you to feel more comfortable doing things alone. Why wait for a date or significant other to try that new restaurant, go hiking, learn a new skill, or watch the movie Ghosted in the theater? Stop waiting for others to take you places. Don't feel self-conscious about being spotted alone.

Since you really can't ditch yourself, you might as well learn about who you really are. What are your genuine personality traits, interests, strengths, values, hopes, and goals? At the same time, what are your weaknesses, blind spots, and triggers? What have you been neglecting when it comes to your mental, emotional, physical, social, and financial health? Knowing such things can really help you, in general, be better at this thing known as life.

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Why wait for a date or significant other to try that new restaurant, go hiking, learn a new skill, or watch the movie Ghosted in the theater?
Source: Ascent Xmedia/Getty Images

It can also help your dating life, specifically, the kind of dating that you do with other humans. It's difficult to find the right match when you don't even know yourself very well.

You wouldn't, for example, buy an outfit without first measuring your size and body, right? Similarly, without really understanding yourself, how would you know when you've found the right partner? How do you know whether your preferences are being driven by what friends, co-workers, entertainment, advertising, social media, and other influences around you may be telling you to like?

In the immortal words of the Spice Girls, what do you want? What do you really, really want? Since you probably didn't come with a label and self-care instructions, you need to find time by yourself away from outside influences to figure out the answers to all of these questions.

So why not masterdate? You could even masterdate regularly. Of course, you don't want to find yourself masterdating obsessively. Life is about balance. While it can be good to spend time alone, don't forsake contact with others and exposure to different people and perspectives.

By learning to be by yourself, you may actually become better at the whole relationship-with-other-people thing. In fact, to avoid dysfunctional relationships, it may be better to find someone who can masterdate himself or herself as well. Entering a relationship doesn't mean that you should completely give up masterdating; self-discovery and self-care should continue whether you are single or coupled up.

More from Bruce Y. Lee M.D., M.B.A.
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