How to go out alone as a woman on NYE?
December 31, 2017 2:59 PM   Subscribe

It’s New Years Eve, I’m recently single, all my close friends are partnered and busy. I feel like I need to be out among the city tonight. How do I bar hop and have fun, safely on NYE alone? I’ve spent much of my life partnered and away from the bar scene. What should I know?

It’s be a rough year and I want to usher in the new year with joy. I could go to a quiet evening with some friends, but honestly, I want to be among people in the hustle and bustle of the world tonight.

I’ve always been a bit shy and had some social anxiety, and for a long time, shied away from drinks and therefore bars. (And my departed husband had a troubled relationship with alcohol, plus I lived in the middle of no where.)

But, I want to go out. I don’t really want to drink much, and I don’t know how that works with bar culture. Is it stupid for me to go alone for safety reasons? I was talking to a friend and we were on the fence. Cuz there is no reason I shouldn’t be able to go on my own as a woman, why not? Assuming I’m smart, watch any drinks, don’t take any from strangers, etc..

At the moment I’m thinking of having a bit of pot before I go out to deal with anxiety/loosen me up. Having no more than two drinks, one early, one to celebrate midnight. I’ll be buzzed but not drunk.

The thing is, I’m not exactly sure what I should do at a bar alone. Talk to strangers? Dance? (I’m a terrible dancer and generally only attempt when I’m drunk). Stand there and look terrified? Not looking to hook up. Wouldn’t mind flirting but I’m a terrible flirt (could this be a low stakes time to practice?) I am also terrible with unwanted male attention, though getting better. Am I being overly concerned about male attention?

Am I crazy? I plan to check in with a friend just in case, and let her know where I’ll be and when. I don’t have any place in particular I’m planning on going, but I’m going to Uber or Lyft. I now live in the city- there are bars in my little part of the city that are trendy and fun, and many I’ve not been to that could be good to explore. There are a few other spots in the city that I would expect to be full of cheer as well. (I’m in Milwaukee, for locals, I’m in Bay View and thinking of bars here. Also considering the east side, 3rd ward, or water street.) There is a social meetup group I’m part of but have never gone to an event. They’re meeting at a bar with food and a low cover charge at 9. I thought of many going to that, but since I don’t know anyone in the meet up, I’m not sure that’s different than going some place randomly.

Though going to bars has been a rare thing for me, most have been very positive experiences. A few neutral. But I’ve always gone with friends.

Help for a reforming home body please!
posted by [insert clever name here] to Human Relations (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I suspect the meet up might be your best option, since there will be a certain amount of introducing and shaking hands, etc. Someone to facilitate socializing, basically.
posted by Jacen at 3:18 PM on December 31, 2017 [6 favorites]

I say go for it, just watch your drinks - never leave them unattended, order a fresh one when you get back from the bathroom, etc. And keep your expectations low - I've sometimes gone out hoping to meet someone only to find that the bar was filled with couples, etc. Alcohol makes me drowsy so when I go out and am trying to stay awake late, I allow myself one or two drinks and otherwise stick with diet coke.
posted by bunderful at 3:25 PM on December 31, 2017

Solo mission to a few bars feels weird at first, but it's also really fun and it's not hard to find chatty, friendly people. Go to the meet up and then go from there. Pot is fine as long as you don't get paranoid and worried that everyone will know you're high. Drinks are also fine, just don't leave them unattended at any point. It's fine to be blunt about unwanted attention and you can always leave to go to the next destination if you can't shake someone. Once you get over the initial nervousness, you'll have a great time. As a data point, I'm a woman and have come to love solo mission to bars. Have a fun New Year!
posted by quince at 3:29 PM on December 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

I say go for it. Practice caution as you've written about - watching your drinks, letting a friend know your plans - but go! I understand where your anxieties come from, and there are real dangers, but I also believe fear of those dangers is used to keep women from being out in the world on their own. And remember, women are ALWAYS in more danger from people (men) they know than from strangers.

The meetup sounds like a good idea since you will probably not be the only person alone there. Alternatively, something with live music (especially that you dance to) is great because the focus is on the band, and it gives you something to do (watch the band) if you feel awkward. And don't worry about being an awkward dancer - the beauty of being alone is that no one else knows you, so who cares what they think? Also, most people are kind of awkward dancers anyway.

Have a great time, and I admire your moxie! I myself am someone who has traveled the world by myself but still feels awkward about going to bars alone so I both understand your nerves and admire that you want to do it anyway. I bet a lot of other people will feel the same way.
posted by lunasol at 3:34 PM on December 31, 2017 [5 favorites]

If you're unsure what to do at a bar, the meetup may be your best bet - there will be a Thing for people to talk about (namely, the fact that you're all there) and it will probably be low-key.
Really, the only part of New Year's Eve that most people are into is the countdown, which takes all of one minute. There's a lot of pressure put on people to have Romantic Nights, but if you treat it just like a regular night out where everyone suddenly pays very careful attention to the time for a minute, then you'll probably be better off; if you do have romantic sparks while you're out, then it's a bonus, but if not, no big deal. (Honestly, I have way more "cozy friendly" New Year's stories than I do romantic ones.)

There is also no harm in just bailing on something early if you're not feeling it. I once went to a "singles mixer" meetup one New Year's Eve, but when I got there I saw that it was some hyper-formatted thing where they had party games and scavenger hunts and you were supposed to take a list of weird things and go around and ask strangers if they had any of those things or something, and I just thought ugh, so I left after only an hour and ended up back in my own neighborhood, where I wandered into a local bar next to my favorite coffee shop and ended up watching a drag queen spontaneously jump on the bar and do her rendition of "I'm Every Woman", and I think I ended up having a better time doing that. Tonight I am literally only going to go to Best Bar In The World for an hour and a half and then going right back home, and the only thing i"m going to do for that hour and a half is chat with the owners (because I know them), have a drink or two (the owners will probably spot me one, so I'll have to have it) and then that's that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:38 PM on December 31, 2017 [5 favorites]

Not sure this is going to be the kind of advice you're looking for, since it's hard to predict how your evening will go. I'm a small woman who has lived in cities my entire adult life, and as far as going out by yourself -- sometimes you meet fun people and have a great time, and sometimes things just don't click and you end up feeling awkward and lonely.

So I guess my advice is: try not to get attached to any specific outcome -- even if the evening doesn't end up being exactly what you hoped, the important thing is that you're trying something new even though you may feel a little shy about doing it.

Which is to say: good for you! It sounds like you're getting out of your comfort zone which, symbolically, is a really cool way to start a new chapter, a new year.
posted by mrmurbles at 6:03 PM on December 31, 2017 [7 favorites]

Travel as light as you can. Pockets instead of purse. Have some emergency cash. Challenge yourself to do 3 things outside your comfort zone. Give yourself permission to go home before midnight. Set up a self-care treat waiting for you at home so that no matter what your night will end well.
posted by itesser at 6:14 PM on December 31, 2017 [6 favorites]

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