Conversations with bartenders

When I spoke to a group of women yesterday, one of the many questions they had about dating was – what could they start doing on their own (in other words “by themselves,” without taking along one or more girlfriends).

We talked a bit about what they have doing by themselves, such as going to the movies alone and out to dinner alone (most bring a book). I pointed out that neither of these help them practice talking to other people (and men specifically).

A suggestion I mentioned (that everyone liked and said they could do) was this – go to a restaurant that also has a bar/nightclub (or just go to just a bar/nightclub), sit at the bar, and talk to the bartender

Bartenders are usually very good at making conversation and putting people at ease. They have talked to nearly every type of person and therefore are a wealth of information. You can talk about your job, your kids, your current relationships, what type of relationship you wish you had, etc. and they will listen and give advice. I have found bartenders to be warm and friendly and willing to chat. If you try this “bar scene” a couple times and feel successful, it will increase your confidence to attend other activities and talk to strangers.

Find a place in your neighborhood and make your first visit during hours when they aren’t busy so it’s easier to have the bartender conversation. After you’re comfortable during the non-busy times, try going during happy hour. Arrive at the beginning of the happy hour so it won’t be as crowded. Then you’ll have your pick of barstools and a better opportunity to start chatting with the bartender (when the bar gets busier they can’t spend as much time talking to you). Say hello to (or at least smile at) anyone who sits near you.

You might be thinking, “Oh no, what will I talk about?” 

Here’s my personal experience with doing this. First of all, I should say – I’m someone who is comfortable talking to anyone at any time about anything… but even I would come prepared with “possible subjects.” (Because it can be exciting/scary/nervous to be caught off guard by someone who seems interesting.) I would have already paid attention to the news that day and noted a few things I could talk about. I would also have consulted my “reference book” – The Complete Book of Questions: 1001 Conversation Starters for Any Occasion, which contains interesting and unusual questions about a variety of subjects. I would have picked out five questions that looked fun to discuss and entered the “news” and “questions” in a small notebook I use as my “cheat sheet.” If I got stuck for something to say, I would open my purse “to get out a Kleenex or lipstick” and pick out the next item. Pretty clever huh?!

If you haven’t seen the movie He’s Just Not That Into You, it’s worth watching because the main male character owns a restaurant/bar and will give you a sense of how to talk to bartenders. (A side note: This movie is full of characters doing relationships in a multitude of ways that you may or may not agree with, but it’s worth watching for the bartender part.) 

One woman in the group yesterday said she had recently gone to a bar with a girlfriend and while there had ended up talking to four other people (who happened to be standing/sitting next to her) and thoroughly enjoying herself. And she said it encouraged her to do it again.

Have you tried this before? Or do you think it’s something you could try? Or maybe you have another suggestion along these lines? Let me know – I love hearing from my readers.

~ Christine
Dating and Relationship Expert

Goal Setting + Purposeful Dating = Satisfying Relationships

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2 Responses to “Conversations with bartenders”

  1. Lee Says:

    I’m an off-the-scale introvert, but I think I could actually try some of these techniques! Also, I have to tell you I love that movie. I’ve watched it multiple times (I went out and bought the DVD). You’ve put me in the mood to watch it again, this time from the bartender perspective. 🙂

    • Christine Says:

      Hi Lee,

      How wonderful to hear that some of these techniques are ones you feel you could comfortably try as an off-the-scale introvert. And finding new ways to comfortably go into social situations alone is also a great way to continue to meet new people. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the movie and you are now interested in watching it from the batender’s perspective. I’ll look forward to hearing what you think of his advice.

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