Tag Archives: bar alone project

Learning how to learn :: Bar alone report

Learning how to learn is a funky(and free) course I’ve started recently. Being lean and easy to digest, it doubled number of tricks I know to succeed with new stuff : )

Coursework did not lower my level of excitement, I feel exactly the opposite. I’ll be reporting my experiments to the people as well as will be discovering what are they learning themselves – that naturally fits into my favorite paradigm of project-oriented relationships(or basically doing useful stuff together).

In my most awesome peer assignment ever, I’ll be describing concepts from the course using my Bar Alone Project: I was improving my fluency with having conversations with people I never seen before and here I’ll reflect on the experience.

Stick with a supporting mindset

“Life begins at forty” (c) proverb

You’ve probably seen people being super-easy going and having super nice conversations. Some time ago I’ve learned about introverts and thought I never will be able to talk to people smoothly(at least until I’m forty according to the proverb).

It’s better to have a supporting mindset and the course told me a one. Deliberate learning says that most of the things can be learned by practicing enough(and I think by making enough mistakes).

social skills

My first day was super important in terms of kicking off with the whole adventure. As an engineer, I’ve started with researching existing studies in the field. I was reading a lot about what people can do in a bar, what types of bars are there, movie scenes etc. Although, this strategy helped me a lot in the past, it just delayed me from entering a bar now. Welcome to einstellung – a type of mind trap where by having a particular hammer in my head, I was seeing nails everywhere.

Beat procrastination with something simple

I could have spent ages in this known and pleasant state(you’ve probably heard about the procrastination), but then I’ve decided to kick start myself with something real simple. I was just supposed to get into a bar and just buy myself a drink. No expectations, no strings attached – nothing to worry about. That helped a lot. Generalizing the idea – it’s easier(and more pleasant) to be focused on small step(one at a time) and thus a process. The end product of the multitude of steps will come naturally.

Rinse and repeat

Although, my first experience was really exciting(making me feel like I should party 7 days in a row), better results in learning(and in this case in preserving state of my liver) can be achieved by spacing repetitions of a thing you’re trying to master. Neural pathways take time to be formed and the more you use your newly formed connections, the more persistent they will be. Probably that’s why I remember just nothing from my university – everything was learned just the last moment ^_^

TL;DR: Learning is fun and easy

Spending <10 hours for the course(yay 2x video replay speed!), I learned how to be more productive with learning. I already have 4 additional learnings activities 3 of which(driving, sailing, French) are nicely covered by AnkiWeb / AnkiDroid(basically cards in your phone for spaced repetitions) and time sponsored by the public transit system ^_^


P.S. Yes, I’ve found a date, though that’s a completely different story : )

Bar alone project :: Day 4 – Visit a bar during a working day

So today(Thursday) I visited Uptown, highly recommended by one of my friends. Uptown is a dive bar(meaning for neighbors mostly).

A few bar guides were suggesting that on a working day bars are empty and you can have a nice chat with a bartender. It was not the case for me, maybe Thursday is a day off in San Francisco – who knows?

Also I’ve been there with the intention of trying a formalized(ha-ha, I’m a nerd) socializing process I’ve picked up somewhere on youtube:

  1. Walk around the place
  2. Have eye contacts with people in the bar
  3. Use conversation starters
  4. Don’t stick with the same set of people for too long(you can always return later)

So the log:

  1. Entered and had a walk
  2. No eye contacts at all – everybody in tight groups doing something
  3. $8 tequilla + cider + tip
  4. $1 -> pinball, yay!
  5. 3 newjoiners at the pool -> I can bee 4th
  6. A game, nice chat -> mission accomplished

A few conversation starters:

  1. Off-the-wall stuff(e.g. do you need 4th person for the pool game)
  2. Where are you from(I hear that in first 30 seconds during 99% conversations)
  3. What’s your name / my name is xxx (I’m xxx for some reason does not work well for me – have to reiterate :) )
  4. What you’ve seen so far / what can you recommend
  5. How you’ve met / where do you know each other from

Total: $9

P.S. Uptown itself was the most pleasant experience for me so far – cheap, relaxed people, pool/pinball, music does not interfere with conversations.


Photo credit goes to noisejockey.

Bar alone project :: Day 3 – Stay at home and do nothing

Although some of my excitement about going to bars alone is related to experimentation, a large enough part is just fear of staying alone. So this particularly promising Friday I’ve stayed at home and did NOTHING: no music, no reading, just sitting and observing my thoughts and feelings.

Recently read Illusions by R. Bach is probably the most contributing factor to blame : ) I particularly loved idea of human magnets, which suggests to:

  1. Stop doing common nonsense(in my case it’s going to bars as I’m yet to discover what do I love about them)
  2. Be selfish: do stuff you’d like to do
  3. Enjoy some loneliness, knowing that ‘my’ people gonna appear around at some point
  4. . . .
  5. Profit !

P.S. As it’s bar alone project, I had a nice collections of drinks in my apartment, which all survived through the night untouched – not every visit to a bar is about getting wasted, that’s probably the next thing to try : )

Bar alone project :: Day 2 – Hang out with people sharing similar interests

I’ve done some CouchSurfing in the past so today I’ve been to Noc Noc at Lower Haight with CouchSurfers(thanks Olga for the idea ^_^ ).


  • Nice chat with a bartender before the start(I traditionally arrived 10 minutes earlier)
  • There were close to 15 people all over the world
  • As a result, this weekend I’m gonna be hiking, what’s unusual for US(at least from the words of the people I knew before), that’s gonna be overnight stay  : )
  • Also I’m fed up with drinking and smoking
  • Bonus: now I know how to get from the office to home with no BART whatsoever

Total: 3 hours, ~$30.

Bar Alone project :: Day 1 – Get myself a drink on Friday

What can you do on a Friday night if you’re a nerd? Probably blog about that. That’s what I’m doing. Another option is to find a place with a low entrance barrier for people with nerdy guys. Or pack a few less nerdy people to form a group with an acceptable average nerdyness level. I’m alone here so that won’t work. It’s 3 more weeks in San Francisco(and I live just in the heart of the Mission!), so I can’t sit idle. I’ve read a few articles about the topic and uhm… they lack stories. It’s kind of scary to kick of in Clint Eastwood fashion(given I left my horse in Europe). So I’ll start easy: go and get myself a drink.

If you’re read till this line, you’ll know that I’m doing this for sake of science – I love learning new things ^_^

  1. White whine just observing people, meditate if you can
  2. $20 bill and $6 wine resulted in no change
  3. Another barmen approached
  4. Ask if that’s a deposit or I’ve used any trigger words saying that’s all –> you should get the change in any case
  5. One drink on the house, tip it all over
  6. Dance the shit out of my body
  7. Get a few puffs hash as a reward for the lighter, complemented my dancing
  8. Tip it all over and get a few more drinks
  9. Outside hysterical girl and a guy, yay, justice!
  10. More drinks
  11. Girls 30+ flirting
  12. Dance, dance, mingle with the crowd
  13. On my way home spotted by some Carols saying he’s gay and suggesting to have some fun
  14. Blog about the thing
  15. Now I know a DJ, bouncer and a few patrons = profit!

Overall: $35.


Greet a new resident!