Ask Max: Can I Go it Alone?

12
Sep
2011
girl-flying-solo

And we're back with another edition of Ask Max Mondays. This week we have a question from a woman trying to navigate life in a new city. Read her question and my response and weigh in with your advice in the comments.


And we’re back with another edition of Ask Max Mondays. This week we have a question from a woman trying to navigate life in a new city. Read her question and my response and weigh in with your advice in the comments.

I recently moved to a bigger more metropolitan city that has a really great night life. I don’t know many people here outside of a few cousins. The one cousin I am closest to is my age and likes to party but is a complete and total flake. I like to go out and explore different things and occasionally go clubbing. My question is, is it ever cool for a woman to go out by herself to a night club, without looking, for lack of a better word “thirsty” or lame? I’ve gone out by myself before but have always felt extra awkward, like everyone was staring and knew I was out by myself. What is your take on a woman taking herself out dancing, or clubbing or just to the bar alone?

I like this question. And before I answer it I’m going to tell you a story about myself.

As many of you know I am really close to my little sister. I moved to Toronto to be close to her and for the first few years she was basically the epicentre of my social life. She’s a lot more friendly than I (and a lot less awkward) and she’s always been a social butterfly with tonnes of friends. So when she and I were living together I didn’t have to make friends because I just made friends with hers and voila – instant social circle.

A few years ago my sister moved back to our hometown. At the time I was in an unrelationship but that was dissolving and with the departure of those two people from my life, my social life dried up. Once they were both gone I looked around and realized I really didn’t have any real friends.

We all know that it’s extremely hard to make new friends as an adult – especially for women. By the time you hit your twenties, most of the people you meet have long-established circles of friends and have no real reason or inclination to expand them. And if you’re weird and awkward as I am, finding people to hang with is more than a notion.

But as much as I am awkward and solitary, I also go stir-crazy if I stay home too long. So in those “dark days” when I had no road dog I had no choice but to fly solo. I went everywhere alone; shopping, dinner, concerts, and yes clubs and over time I learned to love it. I came when I wanted, stood where I wanted. Danced if I wanted to, talked only to the people I wanted to talk to, and most importantly, I bounced when I wanted. Gone were the days when I was slumped on a couch in the corner of some wack party waiting for my girl to finish getting her grind on with the dude she met that night. No longer did I have to wait around for a ride, or because someone wanted to see if the party was going to get better, or for someone else to finish their drink. I no longer had to see movies I didn’t want to see, listen to DJ’s I didn’t like, or really do anything I didn’ t want to do because I had nobody’s feelings but my own to consider.

All of which is to say I see absolutely nothing wrong with you going clubbing alone. One thing that I think is essential about adulthood is learning how to fend for yourself and if you want to be out, be out. Unless there is some compelling reason for you to have company – you need a wingwoman or you fear being jumped by your ex’s new girl – the only barometer for whether you should go somewhere should be whether you want to be there. Anyone who rolls with you should just be gravy.

I do understand the feeling that everyone is watching you. I’ve had acquaintances exclaim incredulously ”you came ALONE?!?” when they find out I’m flying solo. It’s not a commonly-done thing and yes, people do react to it. But don’t you let that make you feel weird because guess what? Those people fucking wish they had the balls to go out alone like you do. They fucking wish they did. And even if they don’t, just tell yourself they do and strut around there like the self-sufficient lone wolf you are knowing that 90% of the chicks in the party would never have the ovaries to go out alone.

At the end of the day, men roll solo to parties all the time and no one says anything. So I advise you to take a page out of your homeboy’s book and stop thinking of going out alone as something weird or even remarkable and just look at it like the thing you do when you want to go out and you don’t have a companion handy.

And I’ll tell you something else in case this helps you: I never met more men in my life than I did in the years I went everywhere alone. It’s a lot easier for a man to initiate conversation with a woman when she’s not surrounded by squawking birds, you feel me?

But what say you guys? Ladies are you okay with going out alone or do you need a travel companion? Men do you judge a woman when you see her at a party by herself? Give Elle your advice in the comments.



32 Comments

  • Malik says:

    I’m actually the reverse of the norm for the reasons you highlighted that you learned to love going out alone. I’ve never been a fan of being tethered to other people for my own entertainment. If it’s something I know I’m going to enjoy then I’ll gladly join the group, outside of that I’m not going anywhere with anyone unless it’s for emotional support or some sort of milestone in their personal or professional lives.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being out by yourself. Learning to enjoy your ‘by yourself time’ is actually very important. You’ll learn heaps about yourself that you would never get to explore if you’re constantly with other people. You’ll do things you would be too apprehensive to do if you were in a group and you wouldn’t do things that you might be peer pressured into doing if you were in a group.

    I don’t judge women who go out alone. To me, it actually shows a degree of comfort that women have within themselves. And as we all know, seeing a woman that is confident and comfortable within her own skin always makes her more attractive.

  • Prettykeety says:

    I had this same problem. I moved to a new city, and my only friend here practically fell off the social radar. I had no one else to do anything with, and even a year later, I still haven’t met new female friends. Thankfully one of my homegirls just relocated here, and it’s not so bad anymore.

    How I dealt with it? Well I did go out alone a couple nights but once ended up riding around the city in a hummer full of middle aged men. Wasn’t the smartest move, but I was pissed at my homegirl for standing me up that night. I recommend you staying sober if you ever decide to venture out alone because you won’t have friends around to keep you from doing anything stupid.

    I went out with the guy friends I met though. You’d be surprised how easy it is to meet men even when you arrive at events with a man. Guys are habitual line steppers. And when I went out alone, I tended to stick to bars rather than clubs. I like sports and I don’t look quite as awkward when I’m eating, drinking, and watching the game.

    I never found the nerve to actually go to a club alone. But maybe now I will.

  • Longtime lurker first time commenter.

    I am perfectly fine going out solo. I got over this hurdle early on when I had a job that required me to travel weekly. I never wouldn’t have been able to really enjoy all of the cities I got to visit if I was afraid to do it solo. I boldly go to movies, restaurants, bars & clubs when I want. Max I agree with all of the points you made & I know that I attracted more men this way. Confidence is very attractive to certain men. Before I was with my current Beau, I would always manage to “move around” even when I was out with my girlfriends. I think you look more “lame” when you can’t go to the bar or the ladies room unless you are traveling in a pack. LOL Knowing how to live a full life even when alone is an asset that will continue to benefit you. Even now in my relationship, if my Beau is out of town or busy with his friends, I can entertain myself, catch a movie, have dinner out, grab a drink & not be the least bit concerned about whose looking at me or what the hell they think/assume about me. It’s empowering.

  • Dewan Gibson says:

    Go to a bar alone, not a club. Clubs are group-based places; women need friends there to form impenetrable circles on the dance floor so they can tell over-eager guys “I’m just hanging with my friends tonight.” Bar are places for drinks and good conversation. Pull up a chair and meet the regulars. You won’t feel or look strange. Plus you’re less likely to have Rohypnol slipped in your drink.

  • I am in a city where the majority of my long-term friends live. I think its so easy to get comfortable with the same folks. I’ve been trying to get out on my own. I’ve been doing community service and taking dance classes. With both you are getting to know people who have the same interest as you. If you want to make friendships do things where you will have time to talk and have a conversation with people.

  • Ray. says:

    Apparently I’m completely opposite. Ive been going out and doing things by myself since 2008 and I still don’t like it just as much as i didn’t the first time. I’ve never went to a night club by myself but i have been to a strip club dolo. Which is alright, but I always feel like something is .missing when I go somewhere else like a event, concert, show, lounge, etc. And contrary to what u think Max its much harder for men to make friends. Women can meet another woman exchange numbers and it all be good. With men its a bit more awkward. Even if u work or go to.school together, its just weird to get or give another man your number.

  • Jubilance says:

    I started going out alone when I was in grad school in Atlanta. I wasn’t gonna sit in the house bored & alone just cause nobody wanted to go out. I had a rule tho – I’d only go to specific spots (Vision & Compound for those of you who are familiar with Atlanta’s nightlife back around 2005), I’d only valet so that I wouldn’t have to walk far to my car at night, and I would leave before the lights came on in the club. These rules served me well & I still stick by them when I go out. Most of the time when I go out alone, I run into at least 1 person I know, which does help. It also helps you feel less awkward if you have fun & relax – ppl aren’t looking at you thinking you’re a weirdo because you’re out alone, but they will think you’re a weirdo if you act like one by being awkward & hung up on the fact that you came out alone.

    I generally have more fun when I go out alone for 2 reasons: there’s nobody blocking or trying to leave sooner than I want to; and men won’t approach a group of women together but they will approach you when they see you are by yourself. Just a thought ladies…

  • RP14 says:

    I agree with you completely. I think that having the courage, and yes it takes courage to go to a club/bar by yourself, is a good thing. Since she is new to the City it will make learning about the city even better.
    I am an only child so there tends to be a lot I can do by myself. I typically go shopping and to the movies by myself, and I find that it is for the reasons listed above! I can do exactly what I want to do!

  • SD says:

    “It’s a lot easier for a man to initiate conversation with a woman when she’s not surrounded by squawking birds, you feel me?”

    Absolutely!

  • Funms says:

    As someone that travels so much to different countries for work, i am used to going to places alone. There is nothing wrong. I recently moved to a new country where as usual i practically don’t know anybody and i decided to explore the night life alone over the weekend. Decently dressed, went to a pretty good restaurant/bar i read about and had solo fun. A few people came to talk to me and i made acquaintances.

    It’s actually fun when you go out alone, you tend to observe your environment more and you are open to meeting new people.

    Start by going to a not too quite bar.
    I agree that a few times people tend to look and wonder why youa re alone but if you look confident and act it, you will be fine

  • Funms says:

    p:s- love the new look

  • GirlSixx says:

    Great Advice Max and I totally agree.

    I’ve gone to places SOLO because either my girls were working or boo’d up and I will honestly say at first it does feel kind of weird walking in by yourself and having eyes on you, but after awhile you get used to it and it’s true about the men, they are much quicker to approach you when you are by yourself as opposed to when you surrounded by your Hen Pack.

  • Cheekie says:

    “I never met more men in my life than I did in the years I went everywhere alone. It’s a lot easier for a man to initiate conversation with a woman when she’s not surrounded by squawking birds, you feel me?”

    This is some truth like a mug. I think this is a good way to look at it instead of the “he’s gonna think I’m weird because I’m alone.” thing… if he’s interesting, he’s actually praising Gawd for you making it easier for him.

    As far as doing things alone, I’ve found there are certain things I’d RATHER do alone. Like shopping. I mean, I have to be a good mood to shop with others… which, I also do enjoy, don’t get me wrong. But when I’m on a mission, I don’t want to be on anyone else’s time but mind. Plus, I can’t concentrate when I have to deal with folks commenting on what I’m choosing and/or them wanting me to comment on what they’re choosing. This also goes for movies. I’ve been to the movies alone and it was maily because I was the only one I knew who was interested in seeing it at the time. Not everyone has my taste and I’m find with that.

    I do have to admit, there are still things I’m not quite comfy doing alone without knowing at least ONE person there… like a bar. Even if it’s the bartender. lol

    • GirlSixx says:

      “As far as doing things alone, I’ve found there are certain things I’d RATHER do alone. Like shopping”

      Girl, I am so with you on the SOLO shopping spree. I can’t be bothered, because what usually happens is I end up getting NOTHING that I originally wanted and EVERYTHING else that I didn’t need.

      • max says:

        I read somewhere once that the only thing we should shop for with a companion is glasses frames.

      • Prettykeety says:

        I love to shop alone too but when I’m shopping for an event, I need a friend with me. Mirrors lie. And nobody but a true friend will tell me I look a hot mess or remind me that those must-have shoes will have me crying well before the night is over.

  • “Men do you judge a woman when you see her at a party by herself?”

    not in the least bit. i would venture out to say that women have a better of chance of meeting people [read: men] when they are by themselves or with one other woman. women who travel in packs are a little intimidating unless they all look like hyenas.

    i don’t mind going out to certain places alone. i’ll definitely go to the mall or the movies alone. two places i would never go to alone is out to eat (i’d order off the to go menu first) and out to a club or bar. i don’t like talking to strangers and i’d feel more comfortable if i had a companion.

    • streetztalk says:

      Cosign.

      There were a few women who came to the happy hour alone. I didn’t just, I just called them brave. I know they’d get dissed by some people or judged, but that confidence is admirable! As long as you don’t look thirst you straight.

  • OSHH says:

    I agree with your advice Max but would caution her to be AWARE of her surroundings at all times and not to advertise she is alone.
    A woman just has to be more cautious out here but it can be done.

  • Reecie says:

    I do a lot of things alone but never really the bar/club scene. I have gone out and arrived early and peeped a scene alone, but never without the intent of meeting folks later. I’ve been convinced to try it but I will admit I am a little afraid.I like to have at least one friend around. I need to just do it…

  • Kema says:

    I am always by myself… Not too many friends. One thing I have found recently that helps is joinging a meetup group (meetup.com). Its cool even if you do have friends to hang with because you learn about the various random events going on in your city. I belong to a singles group, a vegetarian group and even a group with just women. They each offer something different.

    I’ve had a pole dancing class with the ladies, seen plays & movies and get to try new restaruants with all 3. I have no problem hitting the club or a bar alone but I am not the type to go to a movie or have dinner alone.

  • Starita34 says:

    Absolutely, especially if it’s somewhere like the movies or club where you can’t talk to your friends anyway. I’m a social butterfly, I definitely like to be surrounded by people and would prefer to go out with my peeps, but I’m not about to sit at home just because all of my people are booed up or can’t find a sitter.

    I went to a comedy show on Friday solo dolo and had a great time, superb even. And I got the “you’re going ALONE!?!?!” but hey, I asked you, you can’t go and I wanna go, so yes, looks like alone is how it’s going down. *shrug* For the record, I’m a cheap date, great company, and I totally put out. We had a lovely night together – I think I may love me…

  • I regularly go out by myself, whether it be the movies or one of the many summer festivals we have here. I don’t club by myself just because the club is more fun when you’re with people you know. However, I hit up the local bars by myself all the time to see a local band or to watch my favorite sports team on the big screen. Men seem to be more drawn to me, and more likely to buy drinks if they see I’m not with anyone. And, I get to converse with people who are fans of my team, or who like the same music/bands I like.

  • Krystal Light says:

    I think the advice given was excellent. I couldn’t show up at a club alone though. I can’t dance, I’d need somebody to talk to while I’m holding up the wall. There are certain things I wouldn’t mind doing alone though, a movie or a restaurant perhaps. You ever go out to eat with one of your girlfriends and she is trying to watch her weight and has a comment for everything you order? Heifer, if you’re dieting don’t ask me out to eat! Ugh! I’d rather eat alone and not have my meal be judged. I can shop alone too but I also enjoy going with friends.

    Max made friends through her sister but when she left it’s awful that she no longer has them. I made friends through a neighbor. After almost a year of being holed up in my apartment, my neighbor invited me to her wedding. I went, and now she’s almost like a sister. I know her whole family and the holidays aren’t so lonely. SCORE! You just have to step out on faith once to find out how easy it is to make a friend. Because of this, it was easier for me to make a friend at work and now a new neighbor too.

  • LaLaBakir says:

    I go to the mall, movies and out to eat by myself with ease. I’ve even gone to a play by myself. If I want to do something, for the most part I do it.

    However, I’ve never gone clubbing by myself and I don’t think I will. When I take that venutre out into the club its to chill and have a ball w/ my peoples. Going to the club alone doesn’t seem like a good time in my mind.

    I’ve gone to a bar/lounge by myself once and that was wack.

    If I were in a new city or wanted to meet new people I’d go to different events more geared toward that…something w/o the pressures of the bar/club like a wine tasting, game night, or watching a game at a bare.

  • oh ok says:

    Great advice…
    Im a dancer so going to parties or clubs is no problem.
    If I get too bored I leave or pull out the EVO.
    But bars/lounges are better..

  • keisha brown says:

    tardy for the party…but my 2 cents..

    i went to a club solo (to support a friends venture) and it was.. interesting. i was kinda freaked out by the idea of it (as someone mentioned above about the social nature of clubs) – but went anyways.

    i was dressed cute and sassy (heels, the right amount of cleavage and weather appropriate), kept my body language open (didnt sit in a corner, no arms crossed, no screwface), kept my phone in my purse for most of the night (we use those things as social crutches) and honestly, ended up randomly chatting with women (gave one a biz card) or other small mixed groups. the dudes never really did anything (except talk to each other or spend time on their smartphones..so ironic). until around 1am (i got there at 1030pm..yes…im an early bird..it was a school night! i think..), a dude said hello, introduced himself and his boy and the 3 of us chatted. until i mentioned it, they didnt realize i was there solo. they both offered to buy me a drank (finger snap), but i declined. they were both surprised. i got complimented on how i looked (from the natural hair making it’s re-debut in the club scene) to the overall look. i said thank you. at the end of the night when i was leaving, i caught them both outside having a smoke. one asked for my number and i politely declined. and he took it like a gentleman.

    so while it wasnt in my plan, and probably something i wouldn’t do again – it was empowering. i cant claim independence, if there are things i refused to let fear and potential social stigma stifle it. plus i think i left feeling a little more positive about black men in this city (a little) and hope they both left knowing that not all black women in this city are rude stuck up bishes. changing the world, one interaction at a time. tee hee

    but that whole, dudes wont approach a girl unless they can catch her alone? yeah.. not me. and im not ugly. ask max! haha…

    (ok..that was more 49 cents).

  • dailynews says:

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