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Being out and about by yourself can come with a lot of stigma, especially if you’re a girl. Boys can sit alone at a bar and it’s no big deal, but when a girl does it, suddenly she’s weird or anti-social. One thing I’ve learned; it’s okay to be on your phone and sit with a beer at a bar, or sit with a notebook and write, or even type up things on your phone. It makes you feel more comfortable being alone if you’re connected to someone else virtually, or being productive and writing. Just because I’m alone doesn’t mean I can’t go out and enjoy the local beer or the scene. Of course, I won’t have too much and I’ll stay aware of my surroundings.
Some cultures are naturally more forward than others; sometimes you can have multiple drinks and not be bothered, sometimes you have one sip and someone starts chatting with you. If you feel like talking, go with it, but if you don’t, that’s okay too. Just because someone starts a conversation with you doesn’t mean it has to go on forever. You didn’t agree to go there with them. It’s okay to lie and say that you’re waiting for somebody, or that you need to go meet a friend.
But going out alone also helps me realize that it is one of those things that you can do anywhere, and it’s pretty much the same across the board, but may be one of the most fun things to do at home, or somewhere you’re comfortable, with your closest friends. Sure, we like to meet new people at bars, but it’s easier when we’re comfortable there with our friends first, and then we reach out or accept new conversations more readily, because you got your posse with you if they’re weird. I’m even the type to wander away from my friends at bars, but I’ve realized I’m more confident in this case rather than just out alone because I have a group of friends to fall back on and wander back to.
My favorite thing about going out has been finding a group of guy friends to go to the bars with. A friendship established, they won’t hit on you, and they’ll keep other guys from hitting you on you, (for the most part, minus the super forward creepy ones). Plus, they’re usually also gentlemen and will buy you drinks, without any expectations. And then it’s nice to buy them a drink, too.
Going out and about in Europe has been interesting; from multiple stories bars, bars in caves, small local pubs, big clubs, to standing in the street in Lisbon, it’s been fun to see how people party, but it’s pretty much all the same. I still miss Seoul’s nightlife, but I’m happy to get back to the Chi, where I know the routine, and how to find a cheap drink and good music.