Surviving bar and club nights if you’re shy

By Ali
Category: Social | Date: Tue 18 Nov, 2008

Uni life inevitably involves a good few social events. If you’re the sort of person who thrives on the buzz of being in the bar every night, surrounded by chatter and friends, you’ll love this aspect of being a student. Some people, though, can feel a little overwhelmed by the pace of student life and the steady stream of club nights and events.

So if you’re more the curl-up-with-a-good-book type, here’s how to cope with – and enjoy! – student social life:

Don’t drink too quickly

Many shy students make the mistake of gulping down alcohol at awkward pauses in the conversation. Others will have a glass of “Dutch Courage” before the night gets going, to relax and get into a sociable frame of mind. This can be beneficial, but more often it leads to getting very drunk very quickly – which generally doesn’t help you look suave and sophisticated in front of your friends.

Easy ways to slow down your drinking speed are:

  • Take small sips rather than mouthfuls of your drink
  • Have a “long” drink rather than shots or small cocktails
  • Put your glass down when you’re not actively drinking from it
  • Get a glass of tap water if you’re thirsty, rather than drinking alcohol

Strike up a conversation

If you sit in a corner or stand around on your own for most of the evening, you’ll feel bored and miserable and left out. You’ll probably be attending the social gathering along with a few friends, so stick with them if possible and use it as a good chance to chat to people you don’t normally have a chance to talk to. If there are people joining you who you don’t already know, introduce yourself with a smile, and find out what they enjoy – you’ll usually find some common interests.

Good ways to get a conversation going are:

  • Smile! Most people will smile back.
  • Pose an unusual or intriguing question to the group.
  • Ask people to tell you about themselves; what do they enjoy most about their course, what hobbies do they have?

Speak up and speak slowly

If you’re trying to hold a conversation in a noisy bar (crowded with students and/or with loud music playing), speak up, speak clearly and a little slower than usual, and look at the person you’re talking to. This is hard if you’re shy and tend to speak too fast (like I do), but it means you can enjoy chatting to someone without repeating yourself constantly.

Some things that can help if the volume’s really cranked up:

  • Suggest moving to a different (and quieter) room or venue!
  • Mime out what you’re trying to communicate
  • Move your lips when you speak more than you’d normally do, so the other person can lip-read

Over to you

Further reading:

  • Feeling shy? – This post on Alpha Student is aimed at dealing with less alcohol-fueled situations – like meeting your new seminar group.
  • Preventing hangovers – Another post on Alpha Student which might help if you don’t manage to follow the “don’t drink too quickly” advice above…

Do you have any great tips for enjoying going out without feeling left out? Are you a quiet-drink-in-the-pub or crazy-night-in-the-club person?


3 comments:

  1. Another enjoyable article. Ali, you are an inspirational author for all of us entering the world of blogging. I am an ex-party animal, recently domesticated, who still enjoys and occasional drink. The bar scene is no stranger to me. For some additional tips check out my new blog Live for Improvement.

    -Dan Malone-

  2. Sorry, forgot the link the article

  3. Thanks, Dan, great article! I particularly like your tip of having a drink in mind BEFORE you dither at the bar (I stand there and go “Ummmmm” far too much)…

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