Single, working people- what do you do in your free time?
February 28, 2010 6:21 PM   Subscribe

I have been working too much, way too long. But I am curious- single people who have a stable job, what do they do during weeknights and the weekends? How can you be away from work for a full 48 hours??? I am specifically interested in hearing from single people. It may be possible to do a lot of the couple-stuff with friends but I am looking for keeping one's own company and keeping oneself entertained and amused. Not interested in TV, video games either. So, what do you do?
posted by xm to Grab Bag (61 answers total) 79 users marked this as a favorite
You're lookin' at it.

No, seriously, we become good company for ourselves. It depends entirely on who you are. I write, I look after my little dog, I read. I'm taking up quilting. For me, life is what doesn't happen at work.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:27 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Read, go for a bike ride, build robots, go hiking. Bake bread. Post to Metafilter.

Actually I'm not single any more but my weekends are filled with mostly the same activities as when I was.
posted by hattifattener at 6:28 PM on February 28, 2010

Read and eat and kvetch on my "blog".
I listen to the radio a lot.
God, I'm boring.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 6:30 PM on February 28, 2010

This is why people go out to bars/pubs and such. Ok, not the only reason, but it's definitely one of them.
posted by pupdog at 6:32 PM on February 28, 2010

I'm not single anymore, but I do the same things outside of work that I did while I was still single: Work out, ride my bike, take dance classes, watch movies, go to museums, etc. I found that for me, the difficult part wasn't figuring out what to do; rather, it was making the commitment to do the things that I enjoyed outside of work, since it was all too easy to fall back on the same old excuses of being too tired after work to do anything other than watch tv.
posted by sabira at 6:34 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Have a serious hobby, sport, or vocation.

Dragon boat, acting, singing, playing a musical instrument, Master's swim, etc.
posted by sid at 6:34 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Photography. I'll take walks or drives specifically looking for things to photograph, or set up still life shots in my apartment. (There are many equally rewarding hobbies.)

Read. There's more stuff I want to read than I will ever have time to.

Listen to podcasts. Listen to music. (While taking walks or cleaning apartment.)

Work on my "hobby" websites. (Websites I do just for fun, not paying clients.)

Go to the movies.

Go to the library or bookstore.

Do some "fun" shopping.

Bike ride.

Hike. (You don't have to go into the deep wilderness.)

I usually run out of weekend before I run out of things I want to do.

(Disclaimer: I do enjoy watching TV/DVDs and just being lazy as well.)
posted by The Deej at 6:35 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

When I'm not watching TV or playing on the internet, I knit, read, go bowling, visit friends and family, bake, avoid housework and spin yarn.
posted by angelchrys at 6:36 PM on February 28, 2010

I'm not single, but I our schedules do require me to amuse myself for long periods. I play some instruments (not well at all, nobody else ever hears), paint and draw, chainsaw brush on the property, look up recipes (sometimes this results in actual cooking, usually not) Netflix, learn things, read, make websites for the dogs, play with the dogs, walk the dogs, pet the dogs, clean the house, write sceenplays in my head, worry about the future, add to my Amazon wish list, mend clothes, organize the attic, go to Target. I don't do video games either, but I have a DS that can kill hours if not days. I can always think of more things I could be doing than the day has hours, so I'm totally puzzled by your question.
posted by sageleaf at 6:36 PM on February 28, 2010

By the way, I've left out things like tennis that require another person, but you can certainly play golf. You might get teamed up with others, or you can go to the driving range alone.
posted by The Deej at 6:37 PM on February 28, 2010

I play boardgames with my friends, knit and hang out on the internet. Also, I go to a great many meetups.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:37 PM on February 28, 2010

Work on the house, write, read, watch movies, make stuff via various kinds of needlework or stained glass, surf the net, go hiking or swimming, hunt through thrift shops, listen to music. I am lonely most of the time but never bored or at a loss for things to do — I usually feel pressured by having too much on the go.
posted by orange swan at 6:38 PM on February 28, 2010

Where do you live? My city (Boston) has lots of opportunities for entertainment and not-work activity - funky arthouse movies, live music, lectures, art gallery shows, organized dancing with lessons, adult ed classes and night school programs, nutty hipster novelty events. The local free alternative newspapers have listings every week. I read those papers every week and attend events with or without friends.

I also joined a club for one of my creative hobbies that consumes a lot of my free time (working on those activities, organizing events, and hanging out with the other people in the club).

Your question makes me want to ask you more about it! Is there something about work that you're having trouble tearing yourself away from? Do you ever have hobbies or interests that you look forward to doing when you leave work?
posted by cadge at 6:38 PM on February 28, 2010

I enjoy work too, but I love undertaking little projects of my own on the weekend. A culinary challenge, a walk around the neighborhood, a good book...

But if you are finding work to be the most satisfying part of your life, is there a way for you to do similar work on your own, volunteer in your industry, or further develop your skills in you free time? That might be a way to get the same satisfaction as you do from work, while getting more for yourself.
posted by beyond_pink at 6:39 PM on February 28, 2010

Oh, and exercise. Somehow that's never top of mind.
posted by sageleaf at 6:40 PM on February 28, 2010

I'm not single, but my partner travels a lot on business. I kind of cherish the time he's gone (to an extent) because I can stay up late, play my music loud, watch every episode of Twin Peaks in one sitting, spend 2 hours at the dog park.

I have an awesome job that coincides nicely with my hobbies (music) but I also need a break on the weekends. This morning I woke up at 7 a.m. and laid in bed with my dog reading until 11 a.m. Then I rode my scooter in the spring Houston weather for an hour, met a friend at a bar for lunch to watch the hockey game, and now I'm surfing the internet while watching the Olympic closing ceremonies. Actually, I should be working — I have a deadline tomorrow. But I would rather be doing what I'm doing now instead.

But seriously, You make your own fun.
posted by Brittanie at 6:40 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Rock climb in the summer, ski in the winter.
posted by TheBones at 6:42 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

I don't watch TV (unless on DVD), nor do I play videogames. I do everything else though:

Books, movies (DVD or theater), play outdoors (bicycling, climbing, hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, sailing, scuba, swimming), electronic projects, software projects, art projects (wood, stone, metal, glass), window shopping, home improvement, guitar practice, exercise, internet dating, photography, visiting friends, internet browsing, cooking, errands, arts classes, visiting local family, trying new restaurants/bars, travel (road trips, local, foreign, etc), attend conventions, language classes, art walks/studio openings, board games, museums, lectures, etc.

You're only bored if you're lazy. What interests you? Go learn more about it & do it!
posted by jpeacock at 6:43 PM on February 28, 2010

I am a couple now but I still do what i did as a single guy, paint, draw, read, drink. TV is like giving up if you have to go home to catch the new episode of whatever. passive amusement is time wasting.

learn a skill you don't know now, at your leisure, music, etc, I'm teaching myself caning (as in chair seats etc.)

Cooking rocks, and you can only get better at it, and food you cook and cook well tastes way better than any restaurant because it tastes the way YOU want it to.
posted by Max Power at 6:43 PM on February 28, 2010

Read, run, yoga, walk around the city, movies, museums, coffee with friends, sports (watching and doing), dog park, library, bookstores.
posted by Pax at 6:43 PM on February 28, 2010

I don't work, but I'm a full time student, and I *have* worked in the past, so I know of what I speak.

When I lived in an actual city, I went mall hopping and window shopping. I went to the movies, I walked in the park, and I went out with friends. I went to the beach, went to events, went to concerts, etc... All kinds of things, including the things I do here only not so much because I hardly spent any time at home.

I'm not so lucky here. Here, I do my hobbies like crocheting and sewing. I read a lot. I watch TV. I surf the 'net. I do my shopping and laundry. Sometimes I do my homework. Most of the time these days I'm on the 'net.
posted by patheral at 6:46 PM on February 28, 2010

I listen to a lot of records, sometimes on my headphones. Try to figure out the notes from the songs on the piano.

I also noodle around on the internet, read magazines and books, take bathes, sew stuffed animals for my friends or for myself. I usually have some kind of weird craft going on that is nice to work on.

I also think about getting a pet a lot, but then I realize that the amount I travel makes that a bad idea.
posted by k8lin at 6:47 PM on February 28, 2010

I spelled baths wrong and am now embarrassed. I also wanted to say that I am a student so I don't really work full time, but the things I do around the house still might apply.
posted by k8lin at 6:48 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cook, read, write, go out dancing with friends, read, take long and meandering walks around my neighborhood, decide what colors the bridesmaid dresses would be at my wedding to Joel McHale, look at my messy apartment and decide to clean it but don't, read, get drinks with friends, watch Arrested Development and laugh until I can't breathe and then worry my neighbors will think I'm choking, plan what I'm going to wear when I win my Pulitzer Prize/Presidential Election/Megamillions Jackpot, work out, read, get lost in Wikipedia until find myself mired in lesser British royalty yet again, call my family, see how many push ups I can do and then give up after a tremendously low number.

Mostly that. Oh, and each time I read I start a new book, so I have lots of nice piles of half-finished literature lying about, and sometimes I color-coordinate those.
posted by sallybrown at 6:49 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Thanks all! I loved reading all the things you do!

Cadge: Its not that I don't have interests- I just don't have time to pursue them right now. Since I barely get a chance to catch my breath, its odd watching people sit outside a coffee shop and play chess in the afternoon sun. Apart from the beautiful weather, its hard to recall the feeling of a free afternoon, where you can do anything you want to, which then one is forced to rethink- is it that you don't get the time or is it that you don't know what you would do if you did have time. Ha! But that's what just made me wonder what all the working, single folks are doing out there.
posted by xm at 7:00 PM on February 28, 2010

I just moved to a new city recently, so I like to go exploring in different neighborhoods and nearby towns. This is fun even in a city you've lived in your whole life, though. I go for walks (sometimes taking my roommate's dog), cook, watch TV/movies, fritter away entirely too much time on the internet, half-heartedly clean, go to the farmers' market and the gym, browse in bookstores, etc.

I try to give myself a good balance of friend-time and alone/unstructured time on the weekends: for me the perfect balance is to spend maybe both evenings and one afternoon with friends and the rest of the time alone.
posted by lunasol at 7:09 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm not single, but differing schedules mean that my boyfriend and I don't spend a lot of time together. I also only work 3 nights a week, so I have a lot of (glorious, wonderful!) free time. I love to read and watch movies, but also spend a lot of time listening to audiobooks, and painting/drawing/making jewelry/doing crafty stuff at the same time. Some time each week is spent cleaning, and I'll also garden and re-decorate bits of the house when the mood strikes me. Then there's drinking with buddies, going for walks and mucking abut on the internet.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 7:18 PM on February 28, 2010

If I could go back in time to when I was single, I'd learn to cook before the trial by fire of cooking for a boyfriend for the first time :-) I'm good now, but it took me a year plus to get here.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:20 PM on February 28, 2010

I cook, watch DVDs or TV, spend time on the internet, chat online, talk on the phone, push down vague feelings of guilt about the chores I haven't done (particularly that pile of handwashing I'm seriously avoiding), exercise, go to a couple of dance classes, catch up with friends for a walk/movie/meal/coffee/chat over a cup of tea, spend time with my family, have a massage, knit, read books or magazines. In a week I start my next subject at uni so that will take up time too.

I generally have so much on I cherish the time I get to spend on my own. Down time is really important to me and I go a bit nuts if I don't have it.
posted by prettypretty at 7:23 PM on February 28, 2010

The short answer: Internet. Lots and lots of internet.

Mostly.. my non-work life is an exercise in avoiding other humans. I'll often run my errands and grocery shopping during the week, with the express primary purpose of locking myself inside for the weekend so I don't have to deal with other humans. The secondary goal for most weekends is to be as quiet and still as possible. I don't own a TV. So mostly its internet and books.
posted by jmnugent at 7:27 PM on February 28, 2010

OP: Cool, thanks for the explanation! I tend to let work expand to fill my time, and it's hard to tell if I really don't have time or if there's just not something that makes me leave work. I'm single too and it can be so easy to fall into the trap of "It's not like anyone's waiting for me to get home so let's work for an extra hour."
posted by cadge at 7:29 PM on February 28, 2010

i've been working too much too after a change in management that means i have to OT basically all the time so i look at others who go home at 6 with EXTREME ENVY. but when i can escape, i go to dance studio, work out, meet friends for meals or coffee or adventures, read voraciously, craft silly stuffed animals, work on personal creative projects, volunteer, try out new recipes, plan upcoming trips, indulge in both film and digital photography, try to find weird little happenings in the city, or just veg and sit around eating really yummy cheese or something.

mind you i often feel like i need to drop some of these things just bc my work sched leaves me with SO LITTLE TIME but im so greedy for life experience that i just end up being stressed about my total lack of time management due to wanting to do EVERYTHING.
posted by raw sugar at 7:38 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm single right now, but it's not very different to what I did previously when I was coupled...

Cheapish things I do: I really enjoy cooking - so... find a recipe, shop for it, make a mess, invite friends to eat said mess. I don't have a TV so I spend a bit of time on the internet - blogging, doing research (the work line is fuzzy there, I'm a freelance journo so I'll try and make money out of it), get lost down new music rabbit holes. I meet friends for coffee or visit my parents, hang out in bars with friends, talk to strangers (I like meeting new people), walk to new stores to check them out, read in parks, try to go to a lot of free gigs (rope friends in otherwise go by myself), book store browsing. Photography missions are always fun... as are most 'project' based creative outlets. Right now I'm putting together little pieces of street art, which will soon require sneaking around and slapping up with glue.

If time/money permits: I like to do courses/upskill - I'm starting a digital marketing course next week, 1 Saturday a month. Previously I've learned Chinese and permaculture. I wish cinema tickets weren't so expensive. There's been a lot of travelling on a whim of late - taking cheap/random flights and discovering a new place.

I'm pretty busy and never bored. But ah, a little bit lonely because I am the sort of person that enjoys having people around 24/7.
posted by teststrip at 7:46 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Possibly off-track, but join a tennis club. You can minimize your human interactions by using a ball-machine or playing singles.
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 7:48 PM on February 28, 2010

Paint, do photography and graphic design projects, do voice-over requests for Freesound, compose ambient music in Audacity and StrataSynch, study for the judging apprenticeship program of the American Orchid Society, do volunteer work for the NYC Feral Cat Initiative, exercise (running/strength training/trampoline/tae-bo), enjoy the Chess Game of the Day. Reading is my ultimate default activity...these days I've been soaking up lots of Russell Hoban and tons of late-19th and early-20th century titles put out by Pushkin Press that I bought secondhand on ABE Books.

When I get out of the house, I like go to lectures and events at the Goethe Institute and the Alliance Francaise, catch a movie at Film Forum or go to a museum, opera, orchestra, or ballet. When I feel down, I cheer myself up by doing something dumb like belting show tunes at Marie's Crisis Piano Bar or enjoying a neo-burlesque show. Just wandering around Manhattan Dumpster diving after midnight is pretty awesome, too!
posted by aquafortis at 7:52 PM on February 28, 2010 [5 favorites]

Exploration: bike ride, walking, hiking.

Photography, video camera, movie making.

Exercise and/or team sports.

Read a Book.
posted by zardoz at 7:54 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Go on themed trips. Example: Take a shoulderbag and put a nice-sized notebook, some pens and a book or two and go off on a literary excursion to some random place, could be a café, a park, a harbor, whatever. Then, depending on your mood, you could read or write something. You could also listen to some literary podcast while you walk.

You can do the same with whatever you like to do, drawing, cooking, rocks, flowers, buildings etc. These take all of 10 minutes to plan and are very satisfying to do. I also enjoy flânerie, which I enjoy like a kind of urban meditation.

This is a great AskMe. I just had my work hours cut rather drastically so this will be a resource for me in between jobhunting.
posted by Kattullus at 8:02 PM on February 28, 2010 [4 favorites]

I know, it's easy to let work take over your life. (And that's a big risk for me, because science/labwork can and will expand to fit any time you allot to it.) But as all-consuming as work can be, I've found I'm happier (and fitter, and more productive) when I have something vital and exciting to counterbalance work. I suggest:

Drawing the people you're people watching. Taking up an instrument, or learning to play your instrument in a new style (rock fiddle!) Figuring out how to use all the programs that make recording and editing music and art on the computer easier than doing it analogue-style. Watching obscure foreign movies. Getting lost in (and finding shops and restaurants in) new parts of your city. Taking walks in parks. Going to concerts. Going to movies. Going to plays. Going to gallery openings. Reading books, anywhere and everywhere (I'm currently working on books by Herta Müller and Elfriede Jelinek, in the original.) Planning to go to life drawing courses. Attending burlesque life drawing courses instead. Shopping for ingredients to try out a new recipe (or cooking at home and seeing if that recipe is as awesome as it sounds.) Take photographs of cool things I've been meaning to document around the city. Puddle-jumping. Rock climbing. Visiting friends. Biking to get errands done, because no matter what else you're doing, you feel more awesome if you bike to get it done. Browsing used book and record stores. Studying languages. Drinking fancy beers. Watching ships load and unload at the harbor. Pretending you're actually going to clean your apartment tonight, no, really. Working on various long-term art projects. Etc.

Seriously: If you can't think of anything to do with your extra hours, I'll take 'em.
posted by ubersturm at 8:21 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Reading, baking, cooking, knitting, spinning, housework, shopping, DIY, yardwork, talking to pets, the internet, movies, tv...

This weekend I cleaned my house, did my weekly grocery shop, made tomato sauce, black eyed peas with ham hocks, cornbread, arroz con leche, and sourdough waffles and bread I made from starter I grew myself, started the vegetable garden, weed-whacked half of my quarter acre property, cut down a tree, trimmed the privet hedge, did four loads of laundry, finished a book about polygamists, started a book about North Korea, shopped online for shoes and a handbag for my cousin's wedding in May, bought Girl Scout cookies from my friend's daughter, painted a wall, decided I hated the color, went to Lowe's and picked out another one, stripped the bad paint off, and painted it again.

It's weird looking at that paragraph, because I had been sitting here thinking I didn't get anything done this weekend.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:26 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Play the ukulele. Hours of enjoyment :)
posted by chez shoes at 8:30 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I can spend a couple hours preparing a meal that lasts for a few days, and I love trying new recipes. Sometimes I have to put that on hold just so I have time for other stuff, like practicing musical instruments or writing songs. I also have enjoyed studying a foreign language. If you're artistically inclined at all, or even if not, doing art stuff is fun. I've been wanting to take an art class but haven't gotten around to that yet.
posted by wondermouse at 8:49 PM on February 28, 2010

I take karate on Saturday mornings and then hang out with my classmates after for a bit. We go to brunch. I journal and I write sketches. I hit the museums/parks. I walk my roommates' dog. I go for long walks. I'll see a film or go to a rock show. I've been to lectures and gallery openings. I practice my bass. I'm going through a tutorial of Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. I have a lot of stuff to do.

I'm in a few meetup groups, as well, what with my Anglophilic and film/TV interests (and desire to network in both areas). I've made a number of new friends (though no dates yet).
posted by droplet at 8:52 PM on February 28, 2010

Being a flaneur, basically. I'm an ex-pat and I live in a new city and I'm looking forward to the many walks I'll be taking around town experiencing new things. I'm also an amateur photographer so that goes hand-in-hand.

And when it's raining or my feet are tired from standing and teaching all day? The gym, cooking (as in, tracking down the exact materials I'll need for a new dish and bringing them home then cooking them), writing e-mail to stay in touch with family and friends back home. Kind of amazing how much time I can spend on the internet without even thinking about it.

And another activity of mine, one that needs a lot more effort on my part, is teaching myself Korean. And hiking once it warms up.
posted by bardic at 9:04 PM on February 28, 2010

A friend of mine who moved to a new city where she didn't know anyone took another job to fill in some of her spare time. She was a research scientist, but got a job working retail over the weekends and some evenings just for the social aspect. It seemed to work for her, for a while at least (she is now married, and I imagine no longer has this problem).

As for myself, when I first moved here and didn't know anyone I think I spent a lot of time watching TV, playing computer games, reading, and just basically wasting time online. In retrospect, I probably needed a less antisocial hobby. I also did a language course at night for a while, which was sort of fun, but a bout of travel for work eventually got in the way of continuing to be able to do that, and I never got around to going back to it.

I'm no longer single, but still occasionally value the opportunity to sit around all day playing the XBox if the better half is off doing something else. Otherwise, my time seems to be pretty well accounted for these days.
posted by damonism at 9:10 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I lived alone for 10 years without a TV, during which period I would:

- Read
- Rent films (no TV needed)
- Cook complicated shit for fun
- Plan and throw parties
- Volunteer (for an annual event, not, like, weekly)
- Meet friends for dinner out
- Blog and build hobby websites

And that pretty much took care of that.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:19 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Two nights a week of martial arts (plus another class on weekends) meant that my weeknights when single went roughly like this:

2x training
1x relax at home (cook, read, watch TV, whatever)
1x group dinner or cultural stuff (movie, art gallery etc)
1 x night on the town (eg concert or pub)

Saturday night might be another night on the town, or a house party, etc. Sometimes just at home relaxing.

I find that roughly one full day per weekend is useful for laundry, housework, grocery shopping, shopping for whatever else (hardware, plants, clothes, furniture, or just window shopping) and general administrative kinds of things (take the car to the garage etc).

That leaves only one weekend day which is unstructured, free-form time, good for bike riding, swimming, community festivals, visiting, bbqs, walks, more galleries, markets, cooking something new, etc.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:39 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

I have more things to do than I have time to do them.

- I am working on my MBA
- I am teaching myself to play the flute
- I'm teaching myself Portuguese, and maintaining my French literacy
- I go to the gym five days a week
- I read a lot of non-fiction: histories, textbooks
- I take pictures of things
- I maintain a personal website
- I go to galleries, explore new strange restaurants, take my dog for long walks
- I do very bad drawings and occasional paintings. I make weird little things out of clay
- I manage to squeeze in time with my friends and family

I really wonder how people who have a family manage to get anything done. It seems like that's such a time-intensive endeavor.
posted by winna at 10:22 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

- cook longwinded recipes
- read books
- go to juggling conventions
- this weekend I went to a day-long tumbling workshop
- go for walks with my friend and her dogs
- do housework
- go and wander around free museums and tourist attractions

and if I had a piano, I would play it.
posted by emilyw at 12:32 AM on March 1, 2010

I think the key is not what you do but how you schedule it. Like sabira said above, the key is to make/set a time for the activity and then do it. Some people do this by procrastinating. Others do it by making appointments and keeping them. Whatever works for you.
posted by msittig at 1:27 AM on March 1, 2010

-Playing the guitar
-Riding my bike
-Cooking (including making marmalade, baking bread and making ice-cream)
-Emailing friends
-Messing about on the internet
-Playing with the cat
-Woodworking (creating driftwood art at the moment)
-Matched betting to make some extra money, it's very fun too but I don't think Americans can do it
posted by hazyjane at 4:53 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mid-week nights can be a bit slow.
- but I will often catch up with friends for a meal or drink or an Art Gallery Opeining
- have some friends over for dinner.
- Write Music / Watch Films... occasionally read.

Weekend, usually go out 1-2 nights with friends (couples or singles - im' 34 so most friends are coupled up) to the pub / clubs / plays

Farmers Markets Shopping on Saturday Morning &/or Sunday Morning for 'Brunch" and quite often alone.

Play guitar / record songs. and I'm learning German at the moment but never seem to have time.
posted by mary8nne at 5:46 AM on March 1, 2010

oh and i'm currently working only 4days a week and barely 9-5 and even that feels too much. - I really doin't want to go back to 5 whole days a week.
posted by mary8nne at 5:47 AM on March 1, 2010

Well, aside from the video games, DVDs, etc... Here are some things I do (and also some things I don't, but could someday do if I got bored):

By oneself:
  • Weekend trips! I book a flight leaving my hometown on Friday evening, returning Sunday afternoon - no time off work needed.
  • Bowling
  • Reading (fiction)
  • Hobby programming projects
  • Drawing (with a pencil)
  • Exercise at the gym
  • Technically a video game, and related to the above, but... Dance Dance Revolution!
  • Write letters to people who I haven't seen in a while
  • Experiment with cooking, changing recipes I've successfully made before
  • Decorate the house (who doesn't need another vase or piece of artwork or something?)
  • Learn an instrument
  • Sleep in really really really late
  • Study Japanese
  • Home science experiments
  • Take something apart and study it
With a friend:
  • Card games / board games
  • Biking
  • Ice Skating
  • Basketball
  • Go out to dinner
  • Karaoke
  • Canoeing - it's awesome, weather permitting. Try it!
  • Who's-line-is-it-anyway-style party games. Love that "three headed broadway star"!

posted by Vorteks at 7:48 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Actually, looking back at my list, the only one of those things I don't do is "learn an instrument". It's something I always meant to get around to though...
posted by Vorteks at 7:52 AM on March 1, 2010

Workout, either at home, at the gym or outside in the park/trails
Work on my house or yarden
Cook meals (especially for the week when I don't have as much time to cook)
Make my own wine and beer
Occasionally have people over
More often go visit friends, or meet them for meals
Play board games with friends
Paint and sketch
Listen to music and make my cats dance to it with the aid of a laser pointer
Go to the library, art gallery or museum

I have such a short attention span that I'm usually doing a more than one of the above at once. I don't think I've ever truly been bored in my life unless I'm forced to wait somewhere where there's nothing to do, but I think that's just how I'm wired.
posted by Kurichina at 8:08 AM on March 1, 2010

When I was single, I lived in an area of the country that I did not grow up in or know very well, so I made a point to go out every weekend on excursions. I would pack my car with snacks, maps, music, a good book and maybe drawing tools and then I'd pick a place to go. I found purpose in my trips when I started collecting Japanese dolls, which I could find in antique shops in little small towns across the countryside. It was kind of like treasure hunting, led me to tons of interesting places and was very entertaining. Antique stores are relatively safe places for single women, so I didn't have to worry too much. I always made sure to try out the local cuisine, too, which led to lots of great food finds.

Other things I did included climbing a small mountain by myself, knitting, doing weird craft projects, cooking fun food, surfing the internet, reading books, spending time with my lovable cat and talking on the phone to family at home. I became closer than ever to my grandma when I lived a 1000 miles away from her because I discovered she loved phone calls and I was able to make them frequently. Sometimes I'd call her from my excursions and describe where I was and what it was like (she hadn't traveled much and was blind, so I think it was exciting for her).

If I were single now and had all that freetime that I used to, I would SO take up geocaching. I tried it yesterday for the first time and while it was fun with my husband, I could have had a blast with it by myself where I lived before.
posted by bristolcat at 9:27 AM on March 1, 2010

I've been in a relationship for a while now, but it seems to me that most singletons spend a lot of their time trying to not be single.
posted by MesoFilter at 11:45 AM on March 1, 2010

Weekday evenings go in a bit of a blur - taken up with exercising (running or yoga), odd evening catching up with a friend for dinner, very occasionally a cultural something if a museum or a gallery is open later and if none of those things then I work late.

Weekends - more exercise, cleaning etc, cooking (sometimes even lots of cooking to try to stock up the freezer), visit to the library, pottering round the farmers market on a Saturday, reading the weekend papers, meeting friends, afternoon cinema trips curled up at the back, trips to independant bookstore with cafe for lunch and prolonged browsing, random walks, photography, reading (preferably in bed with tea on a Sunday morning), shopping or window shopping depending on how close to pay day it is, boxsets of the Wire/Sopranos/Mad Men etc, knitting and sleeping!

I always wander how that will all change when I am no longer single given that I love doing all those things and they seem to take up most of my time!!
posted by smudge at 1:20 PM on March 1, 2010

Woodworking, drinking, and exercise, in varying proportions.
posted by talldean at 5:37 AM on March 2, 2010

MesoFilter: Out of all of the responses to this Ask, *one* person said dating. I think the rest of us have more than enough to do otherwise.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:19 PM on March 2, 2010

Great answers!

Thanks :)
posted by xm at 9:23 PM on March 2, 2010

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