The Art of Rolling Solo: Going Out Alone as an Introvert

Are you tired of relying on your friends for every good night out? Sick of being cockblocked/clamjammed? Or do you just want to gain self-confidence? Find out how an introvert like myself can start going out to clubs and bars solo…

Going out alone, going out by yourself. Sounds kinda lonely, doesn’t it? Like something you would only do if you didn’t have any friends to go with?

Here’s the thing. Now, I want you to get this in your head right away. Forget everything you ever thought you knew about partying.

Going out to a club or bar doesn’t have to be a group excursion.

Think about it like this. You wouldn’t stop yourself going into a café on a random afternoon to sit down and have a coffee and a snack, just because you happened to be by yourself at the time and felt like having a darn coffee!

Going out alone isn’t any different.

That’s why I prefer the term “rolling solo.” It’s a perfectly normal, healthy thing to do. Unfortunately, for some people, there is a social stigma attached to it, especially those on the more insecure side.

But if you can get over that initial hurdle of actually getting yo ass out there, the benefits are really something. If you’re capable of getting ready for a night out alone, walking each step to the club/bar, and sitting down with a drink, then that’s already a huge benefit to you confidence-wise. Give yourself a pat on the back, because you’ve just done what a lot of people would be pissing their pants just thinking about.

If you can get to the stage where you can strike up a conversation with a stranger easily, then you’ll have no problem not looking socially awkward at parties, or making a good impression for a business negotiation or job interview. In a way, going out alone is perfect practice for these kinds of situations, and you have no companions to feel embarrassed in front of if you do wind up saying something silly.

But that’s just the boring stuff. If you’re going to roll solo, it should be more than just a confidence-building exercise. Otherwise, you’ll just get stuck on that, which at the end of the day will be more of a hindrance than a help to any kind of confidence-building. If you’re going to do it, you should do it for you, for something you want. Something you couldn’t do if you were going out with people you knew… think about it for a moment, and suddenly a whole lot of possibilities will become clear to you.

Been wanting to go to that new bar or club, but your friends are always stuck on going to the same places? Go check it out. Heard about a live show or event in a bar you’d like to attend, but friends aren’t keen on it? Go anyway. Tired of always talking to the same people, about the same things? Meet new people, ask about their stories and you’re bound to learn something interesting, or even make new friends. This is a big one for me as I tend to get bored if I’m not exposed to something new every once and a while. I’ve met plenty of travellers and foreign workers in bars, and as a travel fanatic hearing from them always fascinates me.

And the big one a lot of you are probably reading for: Remember that time you saw a really hot guy/girl in the club, but just couldn’t find an escape from your friends to go flirt with them? Or when one of your friends started cockblocking/clamjamming the minute you were starting to get somewhere? Or, if you’re anything like me, you simply don’t want your friends re-telling stories about you going home with different people, or getting it on in public—which can happen in a club even if it’s not what you’re into (believe me, it’s not my thing, but I’ve been there), especially if you don’t want to discourage the person you’re flirting with (touché).

When you roll solo, none of those friend-induced restrictions come into play any longer. You’re free to do what you want, when you want, where you want, how you want to, for however long (or short) you want to… you get the idea.

Now you might be thinking, okay, that sounds great and all, BUT there are still a lot of BUTs?!!!... Based on my experience and what I’ve read elsewhere, I’ve put together a list of 7 tips for mastering The Art of Rolling Solo.

1. Forget the Group Excursion Rule

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Going out alone is a perfectly normal thing to do. Sure, you will be surrounded by people who are accompanied by their friends. That’s just a fact you will have to accept. But among those, you’ll be surprised how many others there are like you, just out by themselves for a good time.

A lot of people worry, what if someone asks who I’m with and I look like a loser for being by myself? Don’t sweat it. Just tell them, “I’m rolling solo tonight. How about you?”

First of all, you’ll sound like a f***ing boss for saying it. Nothing oozes more charisma (and sexiness) than a person who is comfortable being out by themselves, in their own skin. Even if it’s not entirely true, fake it till you make it. The truth is, going out alone is really not an easy thing for most people (myself included) and the first few times you will probably be nervous. It takes time to get used to it. But the more you do it, the more you will find yourself actually becoming that self-assured person you’re acting as. What’s more, you’ll learn to enjoy your own company, even when others are around to watch you (i.e. without feeling self-conscious) and as overrated as that might sound, I can’t count the number of times this skill has saved my life. Getting my thoughts in order, observing my surroundings and just quietly enjoying being me are some things that get me by when I’m not yet engaging with others at the bar/club. Try it!

Secondly, admitting you’re alone opens you up for being invited to join other people’s groups. Honestly, people are more often friendly than not. They’ll be impressed by someone that has the confidence and self-love required to enjoy a night out by themselves, and want to know more about you.

And if you do meet people who are weirded out that you’re by yourself (though I never have), they’re not the kind of people you want to associate with anyway. Just politely excuse yourself and move on to the next person. Really, if they can’t contemplate the possibility of someone being able to go out and have a good time by themselves, then that’s because they have their own insecurities to deal with, and that has absolutely nothing to do with you 😊

2. Alleviate the Pressure

Remember the café comparison? If it helps, tell yourself you’re there first and foremost to get a drink and just chill. If you’re an introvert like me, there will be certain things you enjoy doing alone anyway. Just think of going out as another one of the things you like to do by yourself sometimes.

Most of all, don’t put big expectations on yourself. This is especially important if you’re new to the art. Honestly, if all you do the first time you go out by yourself is walk in the bar, sit down and have a drink before leaving for home, that’s okay. Depending on your current confidence levels, that might already be a huge achievement for you. The important thing is to know your limits, and when and where you can push yourself (see Tip #3).

If you’re reading this in the hope of picking up guys/girls, the number one rule to remember is DON’T GO OUT EXPECTING TO GET LAID!!!!

This will only lead to disappointment and not wanting to go out by yourself ever again.

If you want to go out alone to get laid (or even start a relationship), it is definitely possible (I can vouch for that). You just have to accept the fact that it may take a while before that happens. Unless you’re a straight cisgender female, in which case you will just about always find a guy who is DTF, though I can’t guarantee he’ll be a looker or have any brains.

Think of every night you go out as having a 5% chance of getting laid. Not only will this avoid disappointment and being too harsh on yourself for unsuccessful nights, but it’s often accurate. More cold hard facts you’ll have to come to terms with if you want to do this properly: the vast majority of people going out will be doing so to spend time with friends, not strangers, to dance, drink, not necessarily to find sex. Some will not be single, and also, as mentioned before, a lot of people just aren’t comfortable hooking up with a stranger, especially if their friends are around to see it unfold. Then there are cases where you might get a kiss or a phone number but for whatever reason going all the way just isn’t on the cards, at least not that night.

Now I know 5% seems tiny, but remember: if every night has a 5% chance, then the more you go out, the more your chances will increase. And you’ll be surprised how quickly that adds up. But of course, in order to be successful, you’ll have to follow the other tips and make conscious efforts to flirt with many people.

3. Set Small Goals Each Time You Go Out

This will allow you to increase your confidence each time you go out, until you are comfortable talking to anyone. For example, you might start with something like, “tonight I’ll talk to somebody” then next time you might make it “tonight I’ll talk to three people” and keep increasing the number until you reach twenty or higher (this depends on the size of the venue, of course. Be reasonable).

Remember to be specific to you. Nobody knows your limits better than you do, so don’t go too far if you’re new to rolling solo—this might make you lose confidence if things don’t go as planned. BUT don’t go too easy on yourself either—be prepared to step outside of your comfort zone.

Each time you succeed in achieving a goal, you’ll feel totally awesome and proud of yourself for doing it. I even get mini adrenalin kicks from these kinds of challenges sometimes.

You can also try quality-oriented goals instead of quantity. Like, talking to each person for approximately ten minutes minimum, so that you actually learn to carry a conversation—otherwise, if you only stick to numbers, you might miss one of the most important points of rolling solo, i.e. getting to know new people.

That being said, don’t invest all your time and energy in one person. It’s tempting to cling to the first person you have a successful conversation with, but you might come across as clingy, annoying, or creepy. What’s more, if that person ends up in a conversation with someone else, you’re at a dead end for people to hang out with.

Even if your goal is to take someone home, talk to many people to increase your chances. If someone is really interested in going home with a stranger, you don’t need to talk to them for too long to secure that. They’ll be after looks or charm and someone who isn’t too much of an asshole, which is usually gauged within the first ten minutes of conversation anyway. As long as you show them via body language (standing near, "sexy" eyes, etc.) or flirting with words (pickup lines, etc.) that you’re interested in sex, then you’re likely to know whether they might be interested in that in the first ten minutes. If you want to be extra sure, ask for their number and say you’ll hit them up later that night, near closing time or whatever. This means you can text them later to see if they will really go through with it, but you also managed to get others’ numbers in the meantime to increase your chances. And if you’re lucky and have multiple successes, this means you get to pick your favourite 😉

4. Making an Entry

An important thing to remember is that it’s natural to spend a decent portion of your time out just sitting alone with a drink. Realistically, you’re not going to merge into others’ groups instantaneously or have someone to talk to 24/7.

The trick is to get comfortable with this. Remember that it’s natural, relax as you would when getting that coffee and snack at the café. Don’t worry about people judging you—honestly, 99% of people couldn’t care less if you’re at the bar by yourself. However, you will be more approachable than if you were with a group of friends, which is exactly what you want.

While you’re sitting, spend some time thinking to yourself or looking around. In fact, looking around is pretty important. It will allow you to gauge who to talk to. Obviously, if you’re in this for the sex, you’ll want to figure out which people you definitely don’t want anything to do with. I’d recommend not setting your standards too high though, if you want a better chance of success. You could try making a list of potential candidates and ordering them by which you’re most interested in and therefore will approach first.

Even if you are just in it for the lays, I’d advise all solo-rollers to be open to talking to absolutely anyone. This is because the easiest people to talk to aren’t necessarily the hottest ones, and, especially if you’re just starting out, you’ll feel more comfortable if you’ve made successful conversation with somebody. This increases your confidence and therefore your ability to talk to more people. Also, it’ll make you look good. If others in the bar/club see you talking to someone, it shows that you are approachable and friendly, making them more likely to be open to talking to you later, or even approaching you of their own accord. On top of that, if you talk to people non-discriminately (i.e. not just one gender, not just the obviously attractive people) you’ll seem like less of a creep and/or flirt, which ironically is always handy for getting into people’s beds. D'oh.

Also, people you wouldn’t think of as attractive from just looking can suddenly become super mega hot when they start talking. You wouldn’t want to rule those ones out, would you?

So, what exactly should you be gauging for when looking around, other than levels of attractiveness? I’ll narrow it down to a few types.

  • The Lonely, Uncomfortable Ones. Heck, if you’re just starting out as a solo-er and are super nervous, this might be you! That’s all right, because you’ll quite often come across others in this situation. Some will be solo-ers, some will be with a group that they’re not particularly comfortable with. Often the reason they’re feeling uncomfortable is because nobody is talking to them and they’re too shy to start a conversation themselves, so they’ll be happy if you approach them first—especially if you mention that you’re out alone and/or have no one to talk to, so they feel that you share some common ground.
  • The Friendly Ones. These are the people who make eye contact first, smile, etc. It’s pretty obvious really. A lot of these will probably also be looking for lays, so keep that in mind. Then again, I have met a lot of people who are just friendly for the sake of being friendly. They might have seen you alone and that’s their way of offering you an opening to join them or their group. As I said, people are more often friendly than not. The first time they make eye contact you may not quite have realised that they are one of these types, but don’t worry as if they did it once, they’ll likely do it again. All you have to do is try and catch their eye and smile. From there, go up and introduce yourself right away. If you wait too long to start a conversation with someone you’ve made eye contact with, it will get awkward, so take my advice and just do it. The worst that can happen is the conversation ending as quickly as it started, in which case at least you gave it a shot. And remember, there’s no reason to be embarrassed because no one you know saw anything.
  • If you’re stuck for conversation topics, make a list in your head beforehand. I usually use the same basic questions “Hi there, what’s your name?” “Who did you come with tonight?” “Where are you from?” “Do you come here often?” If you can, it’s best to start with topics related to the venue, their menu, etc. It just feels more natural and less nosy. If they seem friendly enough, then you can move on to more ‘personal’ questions (where they’re from, their job, etc).
  • The Fun-Loving Ones. These are the people you wanna hang out with the most because you can tell just from looking that they’re having a really good time. If you want to dance, sing, and be merry when you go out, they’re the ideal companions, and are often open to letting others join them. If they also happen to be attractive, you might have a better chance with them as they are often confident and fun-loving enough that banging a stranger will be totally cool with them. The only problem is that they may be so busy having a good time that it’s difficult to find an opening. Still, with a bit of persistence, it’s quite possible and well worth it, no matter what your intentions are! I find with these types it’s best to be direct: “Hey, you look like you’re having a really good time over there. Mind if I join in?”

5. Have a Backup Plan

If you’re worried about “wasting” a night out, it might help you psychologically to have a backup plan for when you get bored, when not many people show up to a venue, the atmosphere just isn’t hitting it, etc. Examples of backup plans include going to see some live music at another venue, grabbing dessert somewhere, etc. I might use my backup plan temporarily if, for example, a bar or club I want to go to isn’t too full of people yet and I don’t feel like waiting around.

A lot of people who roll solo advise going to a bar/club somewhat earlier so you get into a more social mood while everyone is still filing in, and so you can use newcomers as opportunities to start conversations before it gets too busy/noisy. While this might work, I personally prefer being in a club/bar when the atmosphere is already kicking. So if it’s not, I go somewhere where it is or where I can at least be entertained till a later hour.

6. Let Loose, Have Fun

It can be hard not to be self-conscious when you’re out by yourself, but this is just one of the things you get good at when you roll solo regularly.

If you like dancing, then dance! If you’re embarrassed, just remember no one you know will see you, so you don’t have to worry about being made fun of in the future! Although in reality, it’s unlikely you would get made fun of for dancing in a club. That’s one of the biggest reasons people go clubbing, after all, so they won’t judge you no matter how weird or wonderful your dancing might be. What’s more, someone who dances in a club is bound to come across as confident and approachable. Remember the fun-loving types I mentioned? The ones you’ll wanna hang out with? They’re often the ones out on the dance floor—you could be one of them! Not only will you be having fun through dancing, you’ll very likely be able to meet more people this way.

If dancing isn’t your thing, maybe you have something else you like doing at clubs/bars. Just listening to the music, trying out drinks/food, whatever. Indulge in what you enjoy. You don’t always need your friends there to have a good time.

Whatever you do, at least try to look like you’re enjoying being there—smile, or whatever feels natural to you. You’ll be bound to attract more people.

7. Just Do It

Last but definitely not least, Tip #7! Don’t think about it too much—just do it! Try it! And remember it may take a few tries to get into it. If you think this is something you want to give a go, I’d recommend committing to going out alone at least 5 times, and using the tips each time, before you give up. Really, it’s pretty normal to loathe it or freak out the first few times. But if you determinedly keep following the tips and relax into it, you should get there. If after 5 times of using the tips, you still think rolling solo isn’t for you, then you’re probably fine to drop it. But I believe that if you follow the advice given here, at least one of those 5 times will give you something rewarding.

Now get out there and start rollin’ solo! 😊

Eli Sooker
Eli Sooker

Interacting with this crazy world, "getting amongst". Topics include travel, culture, sport, environment, science, outdoors, party, relationships, music, writing. elisooker.wordpress.com

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The Art of Rolling Solo: Going Out Alone as an Introvert