10 Mistakes to Avoid When Out at a Bar

Everyone knows that first impressions matter. But knowing isn’t enough. Are we saying and doing everything that we can to showcase ourselves in the best light possible, when we’re hoping to meet someone new, whether for fun or something more serious? Perhaps you are someone guilty of many of these common mistakes and need a dose of reality to help break the cycle. If you’re one who just wants to be cautious against making such faux pas, then this is for you too. Honestly, this list could have been 20 entries long. Maybe more. What you will read here can be applied to all social outlets, not just bars. Please note, that although a man and a woman are featured in some of the scenarios to demonstrate each point, these are great guidelines for all sexual identities and all sexual orientations.

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1. Getting too Intoxicated

Let’s get the most obvious one knocked out first. Although there are many out there who find joy in getting overly intoxicated, it’s certainly not advisable nor attractive to anyone else. It’s always best to approach social interactions with a clear head. That way you can speak clearly and intelligently, make good decisions for yourself, continue to be aware of your surroundings, and so that you can remember the details of the conversation. Especially, the name of whom you’re speaking with. Slurred speech, stumbling, excessive sweating and all the other unpleasantries that come with drunkenness are complete turn-offs. Anyone who would be accepting of this behavior and receptive to someone in this condition when first meeting, is a person who should be steered clear of.

2. Having the Wrong Friends Accompany You

We don’t always plan on meeting new people when we go out. Sometimes, it’s simply a night out with friends. Whether planned or the opportunity arises, know well, how the friends you’ve brought along or met up with are in social situations like these, or it could cost you everything you’re working for. If you have friends who can’t handle themselves appropriately when drinking, ones who have no respect for your privacy, those who hate that you get all or most of the attention, any, who are competitive and only want who you want, friends who are whiny and soon want to go home when their night isn’t going well, or ones who routinely don’t want to spend more than 10 minutes in a bar before they’re ready to hit the next one, leave them home! This also applies to the troublemakers who always want to argue and fight and the friends who do everything they can to embarrass you in public. Friends like these might be good for a laugh or even the most dependable people you know but they are killers of social engagement. Though buddies like these come in both genders, for safety reasons, it’s not advisable that a female go to bars alone but whenever possible, males should. Particularly, if they have friends like these. On a side note, there is another reason women prefer to converse with men who are alone. It’s a matter of personal safety. She doesn’t want to imagine being hopelessly overpowered by two or more men, once she leaves the place or wonder if the guy she is talking to, is hoping to talk her into being double-teamed later in the night.

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3. Spewing Cheesy Pick-up Lines

There are a few pick-up lines that at one time were quite clever and maybe even humorous. But fellas, we’ve heard them all before and we really don’t want to hear them again. You’ll find that most women are far more receptive to a man who approaches with a sincere compliment rather than some ridiculousness he practiced in the car on his way to the bar or picked up from a friend or a movie. Even a simple hello and offering your name is a better way to kick things off. If you choose to go with a compliment as an ice-breaker, then select something that actually pertains to her; something that really captured your attention. Let me clarify . . . you aren’t going to walk up and spurt out a compliment about any specific body parts. That would be inappropriate and quite uncomfortable for the young lady. Well, for a lady of any age. Let it be about the shine of her hair, the radiance of her eyes, the meticulous application of her makeup, the color of her dress against her skin, the sexiness of her shoes, perhaps the pleasing sound of her laugh. In any event, think before you speak. Always be mindful and respectful. If you are naturally humorous and witty, go with that. Most women would choose to spend time with a funny guy over a stone-faced Adonis any day.

4. Bouncing From One Man/Woman to Another and Another . . . 

This type of behavior appears too eager and desperate for attention. Making yourself look both promiscuous and easy with no regard to being selective, is not the impression that you want to give of yourself. Do not confuse this with simply being a social butterfly. There is a big difference between being convivial by introducing yourself to listen in or chime in on various conversations and showing a lack of self-respect and decency by throwing yourself at anyone with a pulse.

5. Trying to Gain Interest Through Jealousy

Most everyone knows the disappointment of not being able to get close to someone they have a deep interest in, for whatever the reason. Well, trying to make them jealous by openly flirting with or hanging all over someone else is childish and just plain tacky. It’s certainly not going to win them over. If anything, it’ll push them further away from you. The object of your affection is not going to suddenly have stars in his or her eyes just because you’re trying to “fear-of-loss” them into going out with you. This tactic is best suited for sales calls not romantic endeavors. Not to mention that the person used for the charade could be negatively affected by all of this. Especially, if that person was actually interested in you. It makes no sense to risk alienating one and hurting the feelings of another. If he or she doesn’t feel an immediate connection with you, it can’t be forced. So accept it and roll on. If something is to come from it down the line, it will happen in its own time.

6. Neglecting to Balance the Drink Scale

Often in a bar setting, a man will ask a lady if he can buy her a drink. Sometimes he buys it unannounced and has the bartender place it in front of her. In either case, this is considered an ice-breaker. How it develops from there depends on the parties involved. So what is a drink worth? Well, let’s be honest. To some men, buying enough of them for a particular lady, entitles him to some payback of a sexual nature. That’s his way of thinking anyway. Take that same woman and her thoughts may be ‘As long as he’s buyin’, I’m drinkin’. But he’s crazy if he thinks he’s gettin’ some.’ To that woman, a few drinks certainly doesn’t hold the same value and this is where the scale is tipped. If a man, under his own accord, chooses to buy a woman a single drink, it is fair to say that upon acceptance of that drink, he should expect a smile and a “Thank you” or at the very least a smile with a nod or even a raise of the glass or bottle. Beyond this, a woman shouldn’t suck down drink after drink on his dime, without even so much as a few kind words to the guy. If you’re not interested in at least having a friendly conversation with him after the first drink, then you certainly shouldn’t be accepting any subsequent drinks. It’s just a matter of human decency. Sure, you may not have asked for his generosity, but if you continue to accept it, at least sit with him for a nice conversation. Also, realize that not all men who buy drinks for a lady feel they should also be the first one to approach the other for conversation. He’s done his part to set things in motion. Now it’s her turn. There is nothing wrong with the woman who accepts drinks beyond the first one, to walk over to the man for a bit of conversation. In fact, it would be the polite and gracious thing to do. There’s no obligation to go any further than that. After all, it’s just drinks. But at least make the effort to even the scales with some friendly conversation.

So let’s say the first hurdle has been conquered and you two are mutually interested in getting to know each other. Here are 4 more things that you want to avoid in order to keep things running smoothly.

7. Paying too Much Attention to Your Phone, TVs, Etc.

Most of us can agree that our cellphones are an extension of us. We feel almost naked without them. But while in a conversation with someone you have a personal interest in, your constant interaction with your phone could put the brakes on everything before it really gets revved up. This can be perceived as you not truly being interested or simply that you are inconsiderate and self-absorbed. If you happen to be in a sports bar, there’s usually at least one TV suited for each seating angle. It is natural for our eyes to wander towards a TV screen, even if we are not actually focusing on its content. So be mindful of this, so that it does not appear that you are more interested in it than the person in front of you. If your plan was to enter that bar specifically to watch the game, match, fight, or race then perhaps choose a different night or afternoon for the purpose of intimate socializing, if you know that you honestly would not be able to give someone your undivided attention. In some cases, you may get the best of both worlds and meet someone who is just as interested in what’s on TV as you are. If so, that becomes your ice-breaker. Otherwise, remember that no one likes to feel that something else or someone else is more important or more interesting in that moment. So maintaining eye contact and truly focusing on the other person and what they are saying is paramount for helping to move things forward.

8. Talking About Your Ex or Showing Their Photos

Unless asked and you’re comfortable with the subject, don’t talk about your ex to the person you’re interested in. It’s ok to say that you’re looking for something serious with a person who is loyal. But avoid saying things like, “Every time I turned around, my ex was cheating on me. Even with my best friend!” These more in-depth conversations are for another time. At this early stage, they would introduce too much negativity into the conversation and can become a real downer. Believe me, you don’t want to go down that rabbit hole. As far as showing photos of your ex . . . don’t do it. No one wants to feel like they’re in competition with someone from your past. It may not be your intention but that’s how it will be perceived, if you just bust out a picture of them. Also, if the usual background or screensaver on your phone includes an ex or someone else showing some type of intimate affection towards you or you towards them, replace it. Even if you can’t bear to delete it yet, just make sure it’s not showing for all to see before you go out. It doesn’t feel good for anyone whom you share a mutual interest in, to see that. These types of photos and sometimes too much said about an ex, leads people to believe that feelings may still exist and that you may not be able to fully commit, should things head in that direction. In all instances, keep things upbeat and light-hearted. Try focusing more on positives and ideals and make the person you’re with feel like they’re the only one who matters at that place and time.

9. Becoming Prematurely Territorial

It is the instinct of man to protect what is his. But hey, you just met her! She isn’t yours yet, so don’t act like it! You can drive a woman away in a hurry, trying to be too possessive or territorial in public. If you find her attractive, there is a good chance that many other men in the place will find her attractive as well. So there are two things you must understand about this. First, you can’t stop another man from approaching her. Yes, it is extremely rude when another man feels he can step in during your conversation and try to avert her attention. But let her handle the situation. If she is truly interested in continuing her conversation with you, she will let the other guy know that his presence is not welcome. If she does not and instead engages in conversation with the other man as though you aren’t even sitting there, then she was a waste of your time anyway because she clearly wasn’t all that interested in you. Now, there could be two exceptions to this. One, is where the man who approaches is someone she already knows. Let’s say a long-time friend of her brother who just wanted to say, “Hi.” Then in a case like that, even if she doesn’t introduce you two, she should at least acknowledge that you and she are mid-conversation if it appears that the guy wants to engage her in conversation that’s going to leave you on the outside for several minutes. The other exception would be, if the man who comes over is being inappropriate with words or actions towards the woman, like trying to physically pull her away from your conversation or getting belligerent because she wouldn’t give him the time of day earlier in the night. Some women appreciate a man stepping in to defend and/or protect her in such situations. This is something you can usually pick up on through her eye contact with you, her expression, or body language during this type of uncomfortable situation. So in cases like these, standing up for her is usually acceptable. The second thing to understand about being territorial is that trying to give others the impression that you and the woman are closer than you are or are an official couple, is a wrong move by all accounts. The moment you start standing way too close, or heaven forbid, placing your hand on her waist or on the small of her back, you’re going to make her uncomfortable and possibly chase her away or perhaps piss her off. Not just because you are violating her personal space and crossing boundaries, but in many cases, more so because she has caught on to your act of trying to convey to the other men in the room, “She’s mine and she’s off limits.” You cannot claim what is not yours and tactics like these which are premature and unwarranted are a great way to destroy any chance you may have had.

10. Quick Assumptions and Moving too Quickly

There’s no easier way to let ourselves down, than to set our expectations too high. Although things like attraction, desire, and even loneliness may make us want to fast forward the entire process of getting to know someone, “Slow and steady wins the race,” as they say. So let’s not expect more than what is clearly in front of us. First and foremost, don’t expect sex that very night. It’s not to say it never happens. We all know it does. But intentions like these can be easily read and often deflected. To address the first point – – – Just because she says, “Hello” or smiles at you as she passes by, doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s interested in getting to know you. Discreetly look for other signs. I say discreetly because you don’t want to look like a psycho because you’re endlessly staring her down, especially while she’s eating. Women hate that! No following her around or peeping around corners. From time to time, simply look in her general direction and take notice if she makes meaningful eye contact. Preferably more than once. By meaningful eye contact, I mean, that she doesn’t just merely happen to meet eyes with you then skim right on past you. But instead, her eyes linger for a moment, locked with yours and she either smiles or gives you some other suggestive look that says she’s interested. So let’s say, that all went well and now you’re deep in engrossing conversation with her. Laughing, joking, having a real good time. With that said, don’t rush to get the phone number 5 minutes into the conversation. Show her that you’re interested in the here and now; that you are with her in the moment and that’s all you’re thinking about. Before you part, instead of asking for her number, say that you’d like to exchange numbers with her. Doing it this way is better because now it’s not just on one person to keep things going. You both now share the responsibility in moving things forward. When a guy only asks for a number but doesn’t offer his own, it can sometimes give the appearance that he is already attached/unavailable or that he’s guarded. Which may be a sign of bigger issues down the line, like the inability or unwillingness to open up and/or commit. So the exchanging of numbers at the same time is more important than many realize. Okay, so now you have her number. As a nice and caring way to close this initial meeting, tell her to give you a call or drop you a text, no matter what the time (that’s important), to let you know that she got home okay. She will appreciate this so much. Even if she actually forgets to do it. The fact that you wanted her to, will make her feel like you’re caring and protective and all women want that from a man. Whatever you do, completely bypass the 3 day rule. I don’t know who started the rule of not calling the woman until after the third day, but that is some of the stupidest advice I have ever heard and I don’t know why so many guys adhere to it. Forget you ever heard it, because believe me, while those 3 days are ticking by, that woman, even if she is still holds onto a bit of hope that you will call, is slowly but surely losing interest in you because she thinks you have wasted her time and weren’t truly interested to begin with. So ignore the crap about if you call within the first 3 days that it’s going to look desperate or that you’ll be smothering her. NO! It’s going to look like genuine interest! This my friend, is not moving too quickly. She gave you her number for you to use it. So do it! But in these earlier stages, please only call at appropriate times. A good rule of thumb is 11 AM to 9 PM. But don’t call when you know she’s at work or late at night and into the wee hours, unless she has requested or given you permission to do so. Take everything one day at time with no pressure and no ultimatums. From here, just let things develop at their own pace. The cues will be there when it’s time to take the next step. Which is whatever you two have agreed that should be.

Like stated earlier, there are many more things to avoid. But these words of advice are a great start for those who may be new or repeat offenders of these mistakes or anyone looking to do things right the first time. This information should clarify why those tactics and behaviors aren’t working or why they are unacceptable and what you should be saying or doing instead. Use these tips with confidence and if all goes well, perhaps you’ll find a need to contact us for lots of goodies to make your special times together hotter, wilder, and wonderfully memorable.

All the best to you, from Romantix!

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