How to Act the First Time You Go to a Bar

Everyone remembers their first time at a bar. Whether they were 17 with a fake ID, or they actually waited until they turned 21, it’s a relatively exciting experience. It’s like when you don’t have to sit at the children’s table for holiday dinners anymore — you finally get to play with the big kids.
That being said, it can sometimes be pretty obvious when someone is at a bar for the first time. No matter how hard you might be trying to fit in, that’s probably exactly what’s making you stand out. And trust me, you don’t want to be that girl. Sometimes, no matter how much everyone drinks, there are some things people just don’t forget.
Here are a few handy little tips on how to handle yourself the first time you make an appearance at a bar — from one bar veteran to a bar virgin, trust me on these.
Dress appropriately. I can’t stress this enough. You might think you’ve finally found a place to wear that skin-tight, super-short, leopard print dress you got at Too Cute, but consider your surroundings first. Most bars are relatively casual, especially local ones. I can’t tell you how many bars I’ve been to where everyone is in jeans and a cute top, and in walks an 18-year-old girl in a tiny dress and sky-high heels looking completely out of place and completely 18. Those outfits are usually better suited for a club. Not that you can’t look cute at a bar — you should. But I would say it’s definitely more of a casual environment.
Maybe don’t get on top of the bar. Everyone has those blackout drunk nights that end in waking up in the morning and seeing a hundred pictures of themselves dancing on top of a bar tagged on Facebook. All of my friends, myself included, have found ourselves up there at one point of another. But you probably don’t want to get the reputation as the girl who’s always slutting it up there. You know, the girl who goes up there in one of those really short little dresses so that everyone can see her underwear (or lack thereof), and clumsily pours shots down guys’ throats and shirts and then proceeds to dance like she thinks she’s J-Lo. It’s not the best look…for anyone.
Not everyone cares how drunk you are. You don’t need to loudly proclaim how wasted you are to everyone in your vicinity every five minutes. I can guarantee that no one cares, except for maybe that creepy guy in the corner who’s been watching you. In other words, keep the screeching to a minimum. Nothing is worse than a group of underage girls shrieking about how much they drank and how they don’t know how they’re going to get home.
Keep your friends close. Yes, what your mom has always told you is true – you should definitely use the buddy system when you’re out at a bar. You’ll have to deal with a lot of creepy guys — guys who don’t know what the word ‘no’ means, those guys that just hang around looking at you and muttering under their breath. Or maybe you’re not sober enough to realize the guy you’re eagerly chatting up is actually NOT cute (this is where a friend comes in). Or maybe you’ll get lucky and find a cute guy who needs someone to entertain his friend — hello wing-woman! Also, you just shouldn’t sit alone in a bar. It’s sad.
Try not to spend the night in the bathroom. Don’t get so wasted that you’re leaning over a disgusting bar toilet bowl for hours on end. This one is helpful for you and your girls — none of your friends want their night out wasted by having to hold your hair back as you puke. And you don’t need to be seen looking like the definition of a hot mess when you walk out at the end of the night, dried vomit on your cute shirt, your hair stringy, and looking like you’re about to hook up with death.
Tip generously. Especially if you plan on returning. You will learn that building a friendship with your bartender will be one of the most important relationships of your college career. No, but seriously, being buddy-buddy with the bartenders can only be a good thing. Not only will they make your drinks extra strong, but you’ll usually get free drinks and shots out of it, and they’ll also notice you even when it’s super crowded. Not to mention they make for some pretty great conversation at the end of the night.

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