Updated: May 18, 2021
Being solo in a new city can be an amazing new adventure and segment in your life. I personally like to look at it as a challenge, which is the way I look at anything I'm scared of. I moved to Dallas in 2012 and didn't know a single person. Dallas is a tough city to crack, so you've got to put yourself out there. You can't just sit in your apartment and wait for friends to come knocking at your door (I should know, this was my approach for the first 6 months in Dallas). Maybe you're solo because you up and moved to a new city where you knew no one, or maybe you're solo because you've just been through a breakup. Whatever the reason, if you just sit at home, you won't make new friends. If there is one thing I've learned, it's that people don't miraculously appear out of thin air and ask you to come out and play. You've gotta do the leg work.
This evening, I'm joining my absolute favorite Dallas resource, D Magazine, at their Newcomer Happy Hour being held at the beautiful Marie Gabrielle. In honor of this evening's event, here are my tips to not feel self-conscious while getting out and exploring Dallas.... solo!
1. USE A WING DOG
Veenie, my Jack Russell is my wing dog. I obviously love my beagle General more than anything, but have you ever tried navigating a patio with a beagle-----SQUIRREL! SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL MOM MOM MOM MOM SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL SQUIRREL!!!! So Veenie is my go to for walks downtown to explore Klyde Warren Park, walking the Katy Trail, or patio sitting on a Spring Sunday afternoon at Mutts. You aren't solo with your best wing pup!
Don't have a pup? You can take one out of a shelter for the day. See that cute face above? His name is Gizmo and I took him from Dog and Kitty City for a day out on the town! P.S. I shared him on my instagram and he got adopted less than a week later! Double win!
2. USE YOUR CAMERA AS A CRUTCH
When you have a camera in your hand, it makes you appear to have a purpose. Oh, she's a photographer and she is working right now. Or, oh she is a tourist! Or, oh, she is new here!
All of these scenarios could even lead to a conversation with a stranger/new friend! Keep in mind, this post includes tips to make you feel better about being solo. No one around you cares who you are or what you're doing alone -- it's all in your head!
3. PLAN THINGS AROUND FOOD
When you're at the beach or on vacation, isn't food a source of entertainment?
Use food as your entertainment in your hometown too! Whether it is visiting a food truck or taking yourself out for sushi, eating gives you something to do! You've gotta eat on the weekends, right?
I would recommend making a list of restaurants you've never been to, but have heard are great. I keep my list in the notes app on my phone, organized by neighborhood. Maybe they have a great view, a killer patio, or the best ahi tuna in town. Then start crossing them off, or instagramming them as you visit! If you visit somewhere great, be sure to tag #DallasLoveList (shameless plug, YW).
4. HOTEL BARS ARE A GREAT PLACE TO START
I'm personally at the point where there ain't no shame in my sitting alone game. I actually kind of enjoy it. But if you are new to this whole solo lifestyle, start with hotel bars.
The majority of people will be alone, so you won't feel uncomfortable or out of place. Are you going to make a new friend who lives near you? Probably not, but you will start to feel more comfortable being by yourself in public!
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Midnight Rambler bar in the basement is a great choice because there will be both locals and guests from the hotel
5. UTILIZE SPORTING EVENTS
When the Rangers, Mavs, Stars or Cowboys are playing - use that to your advantage. Every time I've gone to watch a game at a local neighborhood bar, I've struck up a conversation with someone, or they've struck up a conversation with me. I plan when I head to the bar/restaurant based on what time the game is, then I have something to watch. Voila! I'm now less uncomfortable because I have a purpose - to cheer on our boys!
6. ALWAYS SIT AT THE BAR
Sitting at an actual table is not only uncomfortable when you're alone, but you're going to make your server mad by wasting their table that could potentially sit a party of 4, on a party of 1.
Sit at the bar and you'll have the bartender to talk to, televisions to watch and you won't feel like you're a waste of perfectly good space. Plus, the vibe is just better for a single at the bar!
Dallas can be super intimidating if you are new and solo. I know, I've been there done that. You HAVE to put yourself out there though, if you want to make friends. Whatever you have to do to make yourself feel comfortable and confident in public as a single ---- do it! It'll be worth it when the day comes when you have a packed social calendar and friends for every different night of the week!
What tips have worked for you here in Dallas that you'd add to my list?