Solo clubbing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it doesn’t have to be as awkward or as intimidating as it may sound. As an introvert, I never thought in my wildest dreams I’d pluck up the courage to go clubbing by myself.
“It’s no big deal,” I affirmed myself. “Everything is going to be alright. Everyone is here to have fun,” I repeatedly told myself while waiting in line to enter a nightclub alone.
An introvert… clubbing solo. Something about that sentence almost seems paradoxical.
How this all started:
I was traveling solo in Warsaw, Poland when I decided one Friday night that I wanted to go out and meet new people. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of going to a club by myself, but I didn’t know a single person in the entire country so I didn’t exactly have a choice in the matter.
The decision was not whether or not to go with someone else, but whether or not to go out at all, to begin with. It would have been so easy for me to back down and stay home.
If I was going to go out that night, I was going out alone. That much was certain.
I considered all of my options that night. I could have stayed home to watch a movie on Netflix; I was already hooked on a series that I would have gladly binge-watched. There were plenty of ways for me to avoid putting myself out there into such an uncomfortable position.
Nightclubs and bars are challenging territories for a lot of introverts. Nearly every aspect of the environment puts us outside of our ideal comfort zone. That’s not to say that we can’t still enjoy them. It just requires a little bit more effort to get us there and into the right mindset to enjoy it.
Going out to a club doesn’t have to be a group excursion.
I had never gone out to any bars or clubs by myself before.
The thought of finding myself in such a social environment without any friends to fall back on made me extremely anxious.
Who would I spend the night talking/dancing with?
I was starting to really freak myself out by thinking about it. I have a tendency to over-analyze situations. I had to tell myself to cut it out. I was trying to meet new people. That was the point.
I wasn’t supposed to know yet.
Which clubs should you go to when you are clubbing alone?
Fear of the unknown could have easily stopped me from leaving my home in Warsaw that night. Since I knew I was going to be entering the club alone, a tip that I found helpful while building up the courage to go solo was choosing to go to a place I was already familiar with.
Jorge and I had found an amazing gay club in Warsaw the prior weekend when he was visiting.
Go somewhere you know.
I had already been clubbing at Metropolis Warszawa.
In my experience, I found that already knowing what the inside would look like prior to going brought with it added comfort to what was otherwise a very unsettling situation. Going felt less intimidating because I could already imagine what the inside would look like once I entered.
LGBT-Friendly is a plus.
Since I’m openly gay, it helped to know in advance that the environment I’d soon find myself in would be a safe one. I didn’t want to put myself in harm’s way since I was already in an unfamiliar country.
This particular nightclub in Poland was one of the best gay clubs I have ever been to.
Know the location’s reputation.
The fun, lively, and accepting environment that I experienced at this club in the past gave me an extra boost of confidence that I could trust the specific club to liven up as the night progressed.
I wouldn’t have to worry about it being dead.
The busier the spot you choose is, the better.
You could also use a dating app like Tinder/Grindr to meet someone new if you prefer to go with a “stranger,” rather than go completely alone.
Whatever you decide to do, be smart about it.
Just do it.
At some point, you just have to commit to going solo. I changed my outfit, forced myself to leave my place, and started to walk to the nightclub. When I stood in line to enter around so many other groups of people, I definitely felt a bit out of place. The beginning is always the hardest part.
Here is a thought that really helped me feel better that night:
If at any point I was really that uncomfortable, I could always just get up and leave. (HOWEVER, I did tell myself I would give it at least 2 hours to see if it got any better. I anticipated it might be a bit awkward at first.)
My Experience Clubbing Solo
There’s something very liberating about going to a club or a bar by yourself.
It’s your night for the taking. Slay the day, my friends.
If you’ve ever gotten separated from your friends inside of a club but proceeded to dance and do your own thing, I guess the feeling of going out solo is kind of similar.
If it helps you adjust, you can mentally trick yourself into thinking of it like that. Act as though you went to the club with your friends but somehow “got separated” from them. Sometimes it really does help to trick your mind like that. If telling yourself that makes you feel better or even safer, roll with it.
Ultimately, you just have to focus on yourself and enjoy the vibes around you.
Is it weird to go and dance alone with no friends around?
There are definitely people who would think it is weird or unthinkable to go out alone. In the words of a very close friend, “DON’T WORRY ABOUT WHAT THEY THINK. THEIR OPINIONS DON’T MATTER.”
Really though, a lot of that judgment is just inside your own head. The fact of the matter is that most people aren’t watching you like a hawk. It is doubtful that they’d pay attention and focus long enough to notice. For the people who ARE watching, well, they’re probably glad to see you’re by yourself…
In many ways, it makes you more approachable.
Confidence is key.
I think the most important thing is to channel a persona of confidence. (Not arrogance.*) Whether or not you’re naturally confident does not matter. If you act as if there’s nothing out of the norm taking place, I think people will buy into that energy. Stay casual.
Don’t be outcome dependent.
You have to walk into the club with an open mind. If you have expectations, you might find yourself upset if things don’t go the way you imagined them.
If you’re primarily looking to meet someone or to go home with someone, you can’t let rejection ruin your night. Dance and meet people for the pure fun of it. Don’t let your motives rule you.
Go in carefree, live carefree, and leave carefree.
Have fun with it.
In my case, I went clubbing in a country where a lot of things were unknown to me.
- I didn’t know what time people typically went out. (Spain taught me that it’s not necessarily the same time people go out in the United States haha.)
- I didn’t know the native language. (Bartenders almost always know English so, at the very least, you might be able to talk to them.)
- I wouldn’t know anyone who would be there. (So what was I even afraid of???)
I showed my USA ID to the bouncer, descended down the staircase, pulled my shoulders back, and threw myself into the main room. As I walked in, I kind of wanted to die.
Things might not go well at first.
It was past midnight so I thought the room would have at least started to fill up with people by that time. NOPE. I was wrong.
Apparently, all of the Polish guys were still having breakfast or something.
I walked into a dimly-lit room with an EMPTY bar off to the far-right, a sofa lined with a few small groups of people all seated to the far-left, and not a single person on the dance floor.
I came so close to doing a 360 on the spot and walking right back out. An empty and quiet nightclub was NOT the type of place I was expecting to walk into that night. If I had gone with someone to talk to, sure, but I didn’t. I purposely left a little later than I originally planned to go at so that this wouldn’t happen.
Show up late.
I felt so foolish for arriving at a time that was clearly much earlier than when I should have. I was too prideful to back down so I continued to walk straight ahead toward the bar as if I had every intention of being there so bright and early.
As I walked past all of the groups of people lining the sofa, I averted my gaze to avoid eye contact. My eyes were locked in straight ahead as I was quickly moving past everyone and toward the bar. My anxiety was spiking.
I could be waiting for someone to show up, I reasoned with myself while standing alone at the bar. These people don’t know me and my life story.
Order something good.
As I stood in the club alone, I contemplated what to do next. Should I drink this and leave? Do I go around and approach random tables trying to figure out if anybody else is a tourist or if all of these guys are locals? Will anyone here even speak English?
My night out was turning out to be more stressful than I anticipated.
The introvert in me was getting so desperate to remove myself from the discomfort of the situation that I seriously contemplated standing in a bathroom stall just to hide and kill time. So freaking awkward.
SO THERE I WAS. I took my GRAND OLD TIME analyzing that drink menu. I read it, read it again, and then read it a third time.
Soaking in each word of each drink description. “When will people finally start showing up?” I wondered while attempting to make ordering my drink take as long as possible.
When the bartender finally looked at me, I ordered my drink. Poland is famous for its vodka so I got a tatanka or “Polish Kiss” which is like a screwdriver, except it has apple juice. And then I got another, at which time more people were starting to enter. (Thank goodness.)
Ignore your phone.
I hate phones in public settings. I sort of feel like there’s a time and place for them and unless you’re taking pictures, the club probably isn’t really one of them. I get that people use them as a social-crutch and it has become mostly normalized to do so, but I also think that people who use phones look less approachable.
I wouldn’t touch my phone.
As difficult and excruciatingly uncomfortable as it was, I stood there sipping my drink and just waiting. This has got to get better, I kept thinking.
How do you find a group to dance with?
When people finally started coming in more frequently, it was like a switch got flipped. Suddenly, they all came POURING IN. The nightclub transformed in a matter of minutes. I went from being the weirdo alone at the bar to fighting for a space to stand in because so many people were trying to order.
At that exact moment, everything changed.
When it got busy, people couldn’t even tell who was alone and who wasn’t. The place was packed. The lights got darker, the music got louder, and the entire scene was transformed.
With my drink in hand, I maneuvered into the now-packed and INSANE dancefloor. I’m not sure if this is just a thing with gay clubs, but I feel like people in LGBT clubs are usually very open to talking and meeting new people. As long as you smile and are nice to the people around you, it should not be too hard to connect with strangers. There were a lot of really awesome guys in that crowd that night. I was so happy to be surrounded by such a fun group since I went into the night feeling so nervous about it.
My first time going out alone turned out to be a total blast. I’ve even managed to keep in touch with one of the native Polish guys who I met inside the club that night.
Everyone is there to have fun.
Remember: literally, every single person at the club is there to have a fun time. Ignore those demons in your head. No one goes to a club looking for a critical, terrible time. Everyone is in a party mood so even if you decide to go by yourself, as long as you are smiling and staying positive, you shouldn’t have any problems blending in.
You might surprise yourself with how much fun you can have.
Back in my younger days I did go out a few times alone… it is not an easy thing to do. But I went places where a band I knew was playing so in some ways I guess I wasn’t really alone. Good for you to have that courage to go through with it!
Yeah, I bet that helped! It’s amazing how music connects people. Finding a band you know and going somewhere specific to hear them would definitely make it less intimidating.