The 10 Commandments of Social Situations

Hear ye, hear ye! Fret no more about awkward social situations because sarah On The Go is here to help you (and rightfully bitch you out), for some of the biggest pet peeves among young adults regarding a night on the town. I am really feeling this idea, so now and then I will be back with a new version of “10 Commandments”, because, well, I have a lot to blab about. Also, giving advice is loads of fun, I feel… important. My qualifications for this blog post are as follows: I am a connoisseur of the night out. I observe others’ behaviors like a hungry hawk on a chipmunk. I mean, try not to get me wrong, I am totally capable of having fun without staring at the pretty pretty princesses two bar stools down. After a couple of hours in a bar setting, however, it is just human nature to observe. I also have some pretty loud-mouthed, never-spare-your-feelings type of friends, so when I am acting a straight fool, they are the first to let me know.

My half-hearted apologies to all ya’ll religious folk out there, I need not offend a single one of you. I am just having some fun with this. Although, I will have you know that each of these ‘commandments’, I believe, is to be taken seriously in an effort to prevent public humiliation as well as successfully achieving the polite, people-loving, balanced party-goer you set out to be before you entered the building.

1. Do not pregame to get wasted.

Drinking a cocktail or two with friends before a night out to the club or even a weekend bar visit is totally acceptable. Drinks can add up in cost throughout the course of the evening, and to get a little “feel-good” buzz going on is definitely all right. However, getting completely wasted before you even get to your destination is not only a bit trashy, but it will most likely spell disaster an hour or two down the road. Know your limits and pace yourself. I guarantee your friends do not want to babysit your pukey breath at 11 p.m., when their night has pretty much just begun. Anyway, you want to be coherent and have fun, the weekends are not one big drinking contest!

2. Dress appropriately.

Nothing irks me more than a female in a hoodie and yoga pants that spell out D-I-V-A on her behind at the bar, or worse, a restaurant. If you can take the time to find a matching workout ensemble that best represents your big ole booty, you can certainly find at least a pair of clean jeans and befitting blouse- you know, so you do not look like a total bum wherever you go. Although I am a firm believer in not caring about the opinions of others, representing yourself in public is important. I promise that a dab of makeup, a comb through the hair and a cute floral top goes a long way. Have some confidence in yourself, whether it is a Monday night at the local pub with friends or a Saturday night date, show off your best assets. You are only young once!

Zoë (SexyTofu.com), Sean, and myself (far right) dressed for a night on the town.

3. Avoid taking too many pictures.

Guilty! I am such a picture-whore. If my friends are in a comparable manner (nothing too riskay!) I love to snap a picture. The memories are great to have and my Facebook albums call for a new set of pictures every so often. On the other hand, I have learned that taking a picture at every picture-worthy opportunity can be annoying. Not only are the people around you being constantly blinded by that iPhone flash, but your friends most likely do not want to spend the night photo-shooting at the bar counter.

4. Do not be the loud one.

Guilty! At times. It is one thing to be the life of the party and another to be the obnoxious know-it-all. Depending, of course, on circumstance, being overwhelmingly outspoken can draw negative attention to yourself from the people in your social circle that are not regular staples of that social circle. Of course, your friends know your tendencies to be loud and crazy, so save it for when it is just you guys together, having drinks in the apartment over a game of cards. There are those instances when our close friends bring their friends from work, school or other cliques out to mingle- a pleasant collaborative gathering that normally promises a good time. You can easily lead others who do not know you too well (aside from what your mutual friend as said about you) to judge based only on what they see in your drunkest manner. Who wants to have the “obnoxious” label hovering over them until your redemption at the next unplanned event? Not me.

5. Do not be cheap.

This especially goes out to those trying to woo the opposite sex. Sitting at the bar, making great conversation for 20 minutes is a fantastic start on a potential relationship (whether it be friendship or more), so offering a drink of their choice is a mature gesture. By no means should the guy sit and pay for his date, or female acquaintances’ drinks all night, that is a bit outdated now. Oh, and if you are out to dinner- first dates, guys pony up. That never gets old. After that, it is all fair game. Try not to skimp on an appetizer or signature cocktail. Who is to say you will be on a date again any time soon? Food and drink options are readily available. Start with a nice dip, toast to the evening out with a glass of wine and do not focus so much on the money aspect of it.

Myself (grey) and friend Nicole met some people who bought us ONE round of drinks. Perfectly normal gesture!

6. Make eye contact.

I was told the other day by a friend that I am terrible at making eye contact. She told me that throughout the entire duration of her story, I would look around the room, meet eyes, look down and repeat. Maybe it is nervous habit, as I will assume it is, but I found that people could think it is disrespectful. No matter who you are listening to or conversing with, looking your pal in the eyes will prove their attention is yours, even if you are disinterested. For people like myself, working on eye contact can be challenging, but I believe it is something that is worth the discomfort. I would want the same attentiveness when I was talking, even if it was a ramble, tell-all of my predictably boring day.

7. Tip your waiter/bartender.

Not only are most of my friends in the food and drink business, but I used to bartend as well. If you are a regular somewhere, and you are overly familiar with the bartender (by this I mean, they know your name and you can hold conversation with), tipping 20 percent is necessary. While, as cheap as you may now consider me, I do not feel the same for food service. Depending on the quality of their work, 20 percent is a generous gesture. They are at work for you, and your needs should be met, considering the high price of the bill and the nature of their business. Unless it is terrible, however, same rule applies. Moreover, tipping the bartender you know so well leaves the potential for discounts, comped beverages, and my favorite- stronger drinks! Overall, properly tipping is just one of those things we as adults need to get used to.

8. Do not trash talk.

This is somewhat self-explanatory. But for the ladies who think it is acceptable to pick apart everyone at the club, newsflash, you are too old for that. Guys, same goes to you. You are not proving anything by picking a fight with the smallest Guido in the place. Be nice, mind your business and focus on a good time, not impressing others with your so-called clever name-calling.

9. Engage in group conversation.

Oh, the wallflower! We were all one at some point in our lives, but the time has come to get past those insecurities and mingle with the new. If someone brings up a topic of conversation that interests you, go for it! Don’t linger around your best friend, or hide behind the words of your boy/girlfriend all night. Interact with the entire group, be the personable character you know is inside of you.

10. Be classy.

Taking tequila shots off of your friend’s body in front of a crowd of jeering men is the polar opposite of classy. Save it for Cancun. Slamming your beer on the bar twice before doing a routine “let’s get trashed” handshake is borderline trashy. Behave like an adult-at-play. By this I mean, handle your liquor, dress like you knew you were going to the populated nightspot that you are at, enjoy the sea of conversations around you, dance to the jukebox tunes and have yourself a damn merry night. There is no need for awkwardness, drama or… alcohol-poisoning.