HOW TO: Not Be Awkward Alone at a Bar

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Everyone wishes they could just walk into a bar alone and fall in love with Scarlett Johansson, but this isn’t Lost in Translation. In fact, here’s the situation: you arrive at the bar extra early to grab a good table for your friends when they text you they’ll be at least 20 minutes late. Now what? Instead of being that pitiful person hunched over their phone incessantly refreshing their Twitter feed in the corner of a crowded bar, here’s how being at a bar alone doesn’t have to be so painfully awkward:

  1. Drink at the bar: You’re at a bar – bars were made for random, lonely people to sit next to each other, drink and be merry. Nothing like a Long Island Iced Tea or a whiskey on the rocks to make you more sociable. Unfortunately, that bottle of Jack Daniels cannot be your new best friend. Just don’t drink until you actually feel completely comfortable, because at that point, you’re probably comfortable with your head in the toilet. And that definitely won’t help you make friends.
  2. Put your phone away: As interesting as your random high school friend’s ex’s engagement photos are, you could’ve done that at home on your couch wearing no pants. Instead, you’re out in public wearing pants and trying to be less awkward; yet, you’re actually making yourself more awkward by paying attention to your phone instead of the potentially interesting people around you. At this point, no one wants to talk to you – except to ask if you brought your charger.
  3. Be confident: Body language is everything. If you want to seem open to new bar buddies, sit up straight, fix your resting bitch face and don’t cross your arms. Also, feel free to look around, and if you happen to make eye contact with someone, talk to them. If you’re too nervous to make a move, just smile and look friendly. If they’re alone and looking around, too, chances are they’re most likely in the same situation and want to talk to you.
  4. Be conversational: First, make friends with your bartender – it’s their job. Just make sure to tip them, or they’ll make your solo drunken adventure so much harder. Now that you’ve got one friend down, it’s time to make some others. If the person next to you is alone, simply ask them how their day is going. Just like being a good friend, being a good bar buddy involves listening and asking questions. Follow these rules and you’ll be golden. Feel free to bring the bartender or another person into the conversation and you’ll be popular before you know it. However, some people may respond with curt answers or give off some other unfriendly signs (crossing their arms, turning away, walking away, etc.) but don’t take it personally. They’re most likely just having a bad day or don’t like nice people. There are plenty of other tipsy fish in the sea.
  5. Don’t check your phone: At this point you’re probably getting phone withdrawal. What time is it? Where are my friends? Should I tweet again about how awkward I am (#nofriends)? Getting a minute-by-minute play of how far your friends are from the bar is pointless. They’re going to be there soon and your constant pestering for their exact GPS location isn’t going to help you now. Enjoy your drink and your new life sans Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/iMessage. Oh, and if you start taking Snapchat selfies by yourself, no one can save you now.
  6. Play games: Another great way to make new friends is to play games. Does the bar have darts or pool? Invite someone to play with you, or, if there are people already playing, go watch and provide witty commentary. Get dibs on the next game and find a partner. If you guys win, you’ll most likely be BBFF (Best Bar Friends Forever).
  7. Be honest: If you’re having trouble, the best thing you can do is be honest. Find a nice group of people looking friendly and ask if you can hang out with them until your friends show up. Who would say no?
  8. Try again: Going to a bar alone is exciting and scary all at once because the possibilities are limitless. You could be sitting next to your new best friend or the future love of your life. After one successful night, you’ll be more confident and sociable in new places than ever before. However, if your plan to be the coolest kid at the bar fails and you end up in the back corner on your phone, there’s always next time. Plus, Dominos will always be your friend.

Megan Plevy | News Cult