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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Flying Solo




I woke up a little after 4am this morning and started thinking of work.  There was a certain buzz that comes with when a new week begins on the first day of a month which also happens to be the beginning of the second half of the year.  Then there’s the extra buzz that comes from having had a little too much champagne to drink the night before.  So, the combination of both factors is the reason why I’m writing this banter at 4.50am this morning. I feel so pumped. I can almost tell the rest of the year to bring on whatever its got… I’m ready to take it on. Let’s hope this initial gragra doesn’t die with traffic on Ikorodu road.

So, let’s talk about the champagne I drank last night.  When you’re single past a certain age, everybody and their dog tends to have an opinion on why you are single; and you hear “you don’t go out often” or “you go out with too many friends. How will you meet people?”. So, bearing these in mind, I decided that this weekend, I was going to drag my head out of the books and actually go for the EbonyLife TV launch… ALONE! I got to Eko Hotel in my really nice gold dress and matching gold shoes at 6pm. I took a deep breath and walked into the lobby, holding my breath the whole way. Going to an event is a scary venture for me… really scary because I have to sit through more than 2 hours just twiddling my thumbs or pressing my phone to dispel the awkwardness.

The agenda yesterday was cocktails for 30 minutes before the event started. I can handle 30 minutes. However, the cocktail lasted for over an hour so I was going round and round the really tight space trying to find someone, anyone I knew just to chat with. I gave up and just found one corner to perch and sip on my cocktail and experimented on canapes. I honestly didn’t mean to be anti-social but I find this awkwardness every time I have to go out alone. Luckily, my Blackberry was charged so I could communicate with the outside world. I lamented to Tolulope about how much I hated being alone and she said my being on the phone was making me unapproachable. She suggested I talked to someone. I looked around, everyone was in groups or in pairs. Won’t it be rude if I just go and join some random person’s conversation? I told her I couldn’t wait to get inside; at least, when I’m sitting down I could bring out my Kindle and read my Marie Claire.

When we went inside, it was worse. On the table, I had three girls giggling and speaking in different flavoured accents on my right. On my left hand, I had a couple who looked perfectly fine with keeping each other’s company. I grabbed my phone again to lament. “Oh God! I’m bored out of my brains. At this rate, I’m going to meet Kola and beg to help him take photos.”
“Talk to them now? and put your Kindle away. That’s anti-social.”
“No. It’s keeping me company”
It was in the middle of the chat that the lady on my left leaned toward me and said “You look really lonely.” I almost screamed “Hallelujah”.

She was so nice and friendly. She asked what I did for a living and introduced me to her husband. It was a really lovely evening from that point till I remembered I lived on the mainland. It was time to go home. But honestly, this thing happens every time. It’s the reason I don’t like to go to movies or weddings alone. When I told my friend that I’d never do this again, she said “It’s because all you Lagos people like to form for yourselves too much. What is wrong with starting a conversation?”

What do you guys think? Am I weird? How do you deal when you have to go for an event/party alone? Or when you attend a wedding where you know just the couple? Do you enjoy yourself? Some people say it’s good to move around solo to max out your enjoyment… is it true? I’ve never experienced this oh. I always end up being a wall flower when I’m somewhere I don’t know anybody.

Okay guys! Have a fantastic week ahead. Let’s start Q3 2013 with a bang! Go out there and be the champ you are!

Peace, love and cupcakes!

Photo Credit:

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore.Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. Bleed blue

    July 1, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Atoke my darling, without you Monday is a chore! 🙂

    • Doll

      July 1, 2013 at 10:33 am

      4real!! Been coming back n forth checking if she’d posted yet! 🙂

  2. Vee

    July 1, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Lol @ different flavoured accents! I think I would have struggled to break into the 3 giggling gils convo and wont have wanted to disturb the couple either. On another note, wow its the 1st of July 2013, thank God for His mercies 🙂

  3. charming

    July 1, 2013 at 10:48 am

    On the table, I had three girls giggling and speaking in different flavoured accents on my right”’Atoke pls indulge mi..what kind of flavours..hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. laffed so hard after reading dat. by d way u didn’t tell us hw u drank d champagne ohhhh

    • Atoke


      July 1, 2013 at 10:59 am

      During the 75 minutes of cocktail time na… then while waiting for them to start the show… Veuve clicquot was everywhere!

  4. hot momma of two creche bound babies

    July 1, 2013 at 10:50 am

    ha ha ha so real atoke dear. very real…

  5. ushees

    July 1, 2013 at 11:09 am

    LOL, same here…this happened 2 mii wen i went 4 a frnds wed i knew no one except d bride…it was kinda of awkward 4 mii cos wen i got dere i had 2 first sit on a table of old pple…God saved mii dat d battery of my fone was full nd dat was my life saver…i cldnt talk 2 any1,tho deir were young pple but dey all wif deir frnds nd were just gigglin away…i promised mysef NEVA 2 go 4 a wed alone…
    it isnt a bad idea 2 go out alone,its even agreat idea…but d society has made us sii goin out all by onesef as being Lonely nd smthin wrong wif u esp. wen one is single>>>

    • Lana

      July 1, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Please comment in English next time.

    • slice

      July 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      actually that wasn’t very hard to read. probably just typing on a phone in short form but the grammar was pretty clear.

    • DREAL

      July 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      What I don’t get is how turning me to mii became the shorter form. DUH @ ^^^

    • Wow

      July 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      I have to agree with you! Smh

    • uh-huh

      July 2, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      God bless u!!!!!……call me old fashion but the way they type things these days make me wanna take a hammer to whatever device they are using……GOD!!!!!

  6. jinkelele

    July 1, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Never bothered me going alone was never really conscious of it until recently. I think that the more you are conscious of it, the more it shows

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      July 1, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Exactly. If you’re conscious of being a singleton, the self-conscious awkwardness builds right up.

      Was reading the article and saying in my mind, “Nooooo, Atoke, don’t be that person who stays glued to her phone during social events!!”. But I completely understand how painfully uncomfortable it must be to attend certain events as a single gal in Naija. My online moniker isn’t Mz Socially Awkward for nothing, I used to be that chick reading a book in the middle of a party just so I could avoid speaking to other people. Hahahaha!

      Slayed that dragon in my 30s (I’m telling you, turning 30 was frightening and then once I hit 31 and onwards, it just became LIBERATING) when I realized I’ve been missing out on meeting amazing folk just because I’d been focusing too much on my lone ranger status. I became bolder and left my comfort zone, started introducing myself to unknown faces at events & the well-behaved, cultured ones say “hello” right back ….. We don’t have to be besties, it’s just nice to have an amiable party to carry out social conversations with (Warning- no dey “engage” conversation anyhow with certain men oh, dem go think say you dey toast dem… or their irate babes/wives fit begin quarrel you)

      It’s okay to be shy, Atoks, just don’t let it hold you back from showcasing the brilliantly interesting & fantastic chick that you are to the many people who would absolutely love to meet you. 😉 (Also, I forbid you to ever bring out your Kindle at parties again. That’s an order.)

    • Que

      July 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      I second that order biko!!!

  7. Amaka

    July 1, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Atoke boo… you are not alone o! It happens to almost everyone including myself but really the best way to handle such situations is to start up a conversation:)

  8. Berry Dakara

    July 1, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Awwww. My dear, I know how you feel. I can be painfully shy sometimes, wanting to melt into the ground. But all you have to do is look for a friendly face and say hello. Or better yet, compliment someone’s dress, shoes, purse, hair… Whatever. And then you can segue into a conversation, eg. where did you get it, and so on.

    Try not to be the antisocial wallflower.


    July 1, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Awwww. Atoke darling, you are not weird at all. it happens to me alotttt. Even the thought of walking into my favourite lebanese restaurant to pick up my take out, gives me the chills. Close friends get sad and sorry for me when we are to meet up and they are running late. Lol. My worst nightmare is going out to have a meal alone, talk more os going to a social event alone….jeepers! lol

    • DEEVAH

      July 1, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Talk more of*

  10. Masked

    July 1, 2013 at 11:14 am

    I have this my very good friend,a guy, hes getting married in a few weeks and i already told him i wont be coming cos hes d only one i know and how do you know just d groom and sit in a crowd…he’s being saying if i come, he would hook me up with someone to kip me company but naaa i don’t wanna risk it…what if i come in when hes having his ‘couple’s dance’ or whatever than i’d sit down there wv noone even asking what I’d drink….No! i will pass….i hate solo outings,can get really awkward.

    • Bishop

      July 1, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Invite me. I’ll keep you company.

    • Speechless in River Niger

      July 5, 2013 at 10:34 am

      BABE!!!! You can do it, just keep telling yourself you can do it, being shy is not helping you at all. Please o! don’t bring out your phone to be chatting it doesn’t encourage conversation. I go out alone a lot and remember to smile, NOT bring out my phone, and most importantly look approachable and i always always make a new “friend”, acquaintance etc..

      Just keep telling yourself you are awesome and you’d start believing it and your confidence would grow.

      However, before the event practice, go out alone every evening, it could be to the cinema, mall, to eat or for drinks. DON’T BRING OUT YOUR PHONE or it will look like you are waiting for someone and make you less approachable. You could listen to music with just one ear piece though so you’d be relaxed.

      Sorry for all this long epistle but sometimes shyness can be a serious obstacle to progress so we must approach it seriously *hugs*

  11. Mase

    July 1, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I think it depends on you…

    I went for a male friend’s wedding coupla years ago and the Groom was the only person I was really friends with. I recognised 2 of the grooms men as well, but they were obviously sitting far away from me so I was on my own. To make matters worse, an ex I was barely on talking terms with and who I hadn’t fully recovered from yet, was also going to be there. But the groom was a good friend and I decided I was not going to miss the wedding cause of anybody! I travelled all the way to Naija for d wedding o! I’d planned to go with a friend but the babe disappointed me! …Well, I made up my mind that I was going to enjoy myself either way. With my fly looking self, I ended up having a great time! I chatted with the other ladies on my table, struck up a conversation with the Bride’s mother and got myself onto the dance floor when it was time to dance with the newlyweds.

    That was the first time I’d done something like that before. At the end I was glad I went for the Wedding! I made the couple promise dat when my turn reach, they better not disappoint o! 🙂
    My friend was extremely grateful that I travelled down for his wedding.

  12. Amazeballs!

    July 1, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I cant go to an event solo oh! this isnt even about shyness, talk about looking like a loser!!!!! On the other hand, i do lunch and the movies solo well, in fact it is a preference!!

  13. Priscy

    July 1, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Azzin very very awkward…It happened to me recently at a friends wedding where I knew just the bride. Unfortunately for me, my phone was not fully charged. Even to stand up and collect food was a problem. One guy was just making eye contact with me, I was hoping he would come and chat me up at least I wouldn’t feel so alone but he didn’t bother. I left that wedding frustrated and I won’t try dat again.

  14. Bolanle

    July 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I think there are different dimensions to going out alone. Sometimes you’re lucky to meet acquaintances but most times you are alone dying of boredom.

  15. man of the year

    July 1, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Atoke let me start by commending you on your monday morning banter cos it is such an inspiration to start the week and now back to the topic at hand for me i fink this is a gal’s fing cos i cant really see a guy not chillin out for fear of being lonely cos we guys we dont form and we have a lot to gist about example u can start a conversation about a football match and every guy joins in to say something about it which will definitely make u less lonely.

    • Chidimma

      July 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      True talk! It’s a woman’s thing! Men don’t have issues making acquaintances but females….whew!…..I hardly go out alone for fear of ending up miserable. This is something I really want to overcome because most people around me are beginning to think I’m one proud chic but it’s all shyness disguised in poise and nice outfits. God help Women!

  16. Retrochic

    July 1, 2013 at 11:57 am

    @masked, then he is not your very close friend

  17. Abana

    July 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I was antisocial until I had to start networking in the UK. Imagine going for a networking event and no one around you is African! I had to learn to deal with uncomfortable situations and make myself stand out. Plus, most people are shy anyways and looking for a friendly face. Now, I make sure I get to events on time so I mix with people before they form their groups. And I always make sure I exude confidence. The way I walk, carry and introduce myself will force you to ignore whoever you were with and talk to me.
    I have carried this attitude into social settings and now I have a blast every time I go out.

    • Babe...

      July 1, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Interesting….It makes no difference to me I approach everyone the same way. But I’ve noticed that it’s the Africans who I sometimes notice are busy forming. I’m not sure the Oyinbo man knows what it is, lol. Cause if you think about it, why would one come to a Networking Event to form????

      Once I notice any forming, I jejely move on to the next person!

    • slice

      July 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      non-Africans have the same fears as well. When you’re all in school preparing for those events, they express the same concerns. The same thing in the work place. Everyone wonders what will i say, will they also talk to me, will they walk away while I’m speaking. It might be tougher for some of the Africans you’ve met just because they are not used to the networking events so the next time you see someone like that, just walk over and say hello and help them. God could use you to help the person actually network instead of the person having a horrible time. God bless you in advance 🙂

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      July 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      @ Abana, God bless you. Walk in there confidently, speak intelligently and, hopefully, you’ll find a decent person to start a conversation with.

      @ Grace, that forming thing… I don’t know, I think a lot of us don’t really understand how to have conversation for conversation’s sake. Nigerians may be one of the loudest people on earth but we don’t really know how to communicate properly (i.e. not enough open lines between couples, parents-children, bosses-employees, etc.). It definitely affects our social skills.

  18. Moi

    July 1, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Me too O! I thought I was alone with that awkward toe curling finger twitching awkwardness!! (yes awkward twice cos i could be such a klutz in public places!!) I trip on my heels, drag chairs while trying to lift, bump into people and thier wine glasses… *sigh* and I never find someone to talk to. And I’ve lived here all my life o! Atoke, darling, cheer up, I’m still worse than you are! lol!

  19. Omozo

    July 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Hi Atoke. I understand your anxiety and awkwardness when flying solo. I go solo to events and God being sooooooooooooo kind I meet one or two people I already know. And when there is no one I know, I struggle really really hard to meet new people for the purpose of not being the “Eya she came by herself” chick in the room! It can be tiring to be honest. Let us also remember though that there are times husbands or wives go to events without their “other” so … But here is my offer Atoke: if you have an event you want to attend and you don’t want to fly solo, give me a shout: who knows I might be available to accompany you. Solo does not have to mean sorry or sad. 🙂

  20. ebony

    July 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    hmmn!!! that the main reason i am contemplating the wedding i am to attend on the 13th of this month.. i know the groom and bride but none of his or her family members or friends.. i am already a shy person and the thot of being there with no familiar face is giving me the shivers. its just like goin on vacation alone. people, flying solo is BORING…

  21. bj

    July 1, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Atoksy……..LOL! i fully get you, I was at the event as well but not alone (actually wished i went alone now). But truth be told is we really are not that stuck up in Lagos we just need to summon courage to start a conversation without being too self conscious. I am happy you enjoyed going and dressing up in all your glitterati was not a waste of time.

    Gosh my colleague here is chewing gum as though she is on a mission to get into the Guinness book for loudest gum chewer…………………….gotta go! One love

    • Chinenye

      July 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      LOL @ your colleague chewing gum loudly. I so hate when people do that. It just distracts and irritates me. Totally unrelated to the post: While in church yesterday, the guy sitting next to me kept picking at his beard (from the corner of my eyes, i actually saw strands of hair on his hand) and generally moving around in his chair. It was so distracting, like can’t you just sit still for a while. I had to make a conscious effort to ignore him and focus on the preaching. Atoke, your posts brighten my Monday. Thanks

  22. Peaches

    July 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Atoke ooooo…flavored accents. You just give me a full Monday. Riding solo is never so easy. But its good u experienced it … Next time please buzz me so I can go with you.. Lol

  23. X- Factor

    July 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    You can say this again gurlfriend…..Thank God for smart phones, twitter, BB, facebook,video games et al
    However on a more serious note, I guess the panacea for this is to expand your social circle…strategically and deliberately join social groups that aligns with your interests,learning and or passion, that way, you are setting yourself up to get to know more people(who knows you may just bump into them in gatherings like this)

  24. sinquanon

    July 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Atoke you must be telepathic or something! I went to bed yesterday and woke up this morning with the thoughts of what you have written about! I’m terribly shy and it can be crippling sometimes. I’ve been to one or 2 events solo and I left feeling like ‘Billy no mates’, which in a way I am. I’ve got very few friends and these very few friends have either gotten married or relocated to naija, america and wherever. Not to say you can’t go out with your married friends but. So I’ve decided to make some new friends. How? I dunno given my shyness but somehow somehow sha. So BN readers any good tip on making friends is welcome

    • carliforniabawler

      July 1, 2013 at 11:35 pm

      If your friends are married, I’ll go out on a limb and assume you already graduated college, I thats the case then it’s hard to make new friends out there. Most people already have their crew, routines and all. The best you can make from this point on are acquaintances. My friend goes to meet-up groups (but that might be a yankee thing). Also if you’re religious you can change your place of worship and/or get a little more involved than once-a-week meetings. Personally I make acquaintances on the go….just today I met a lady at the African store, we chatted for a minute and I got her number. I’d send her a text or something later today, not like I plan on becoming bffs or anything but at least I sha don sabi someone new today be that….lol.

    • slice

      July 2, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      A few things that may help, check out the friends of ur married friends that are single. If there’s anyone that u think is fun to hang with, invite that one the next time u r going somewhere. I call it reorganization of life. U guys’ mutual frd is busy with her new marriage and u two now get closer and hang out. Also, invite ur married frds out especially those that ve been married for a couple years. See the freshly married ones r usually more reluctant to step out without the spouse but all tend to calm down after a while :). Third way to ve pple to go out with is outright blackmail. When my frds got married and I was still very much in the “market” I told them they had to go for “guy hunting” activities with me. Hey u’re my frd so u’re coming with so I can ffind a man too. In fact, usethem to bring the guys to u when u’re at the event. If the see a nice guy. They can say do u want to meet my frd? All hands on deck till u find urself one too. A good church with an active singlesdept is always a plus

  25. Bellabells

    July 1, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    , If I went for an event here in America, I will probably try to strike up a conversation with somebody but in Lagos, I wouldn’t try it. People are to snobby for me to try that. Even those you know from high school sometime pretend not to know you, not to talk about striking conversation with a stranger. Mba, I no do.

  26. eniola

    July 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Darling Atoke has done it again. mwuaaah! Well, i rarely go out, to talk of going alone. The few times i’ve gone out alone are countable. Once I attended a wedding which was scheduled to start at 10a.m, I got to the venue at past 1 and they were still doing decoration, cleaning the venue etc, i got down, took pictures of the venue and 1 or 2 pictures of myself to show to the celebrant in case i’m accused of not honoring his invite and went back home. Another time was last Saturday, i got to the reception late, took pictures of the high-table and myself in the aso-ebi and left.

  27. uby

    July 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I love this banter Atoke!
    Meanwhile, Lagos people dont form o, compared to the ones in abj……
    Abj people can kill ur self-esteem especially if u re out alone…..
    But once in a while, Imdont mind going out alone.
    Thats when I get to meet people…..

  28. missy

    July 1, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    am so guilty of this,i think I enjoy my own company so much so me and my solo self keep a straight face 1st, then when its time to loosen up I down about 3 or 4 glasses of wine or champagne depends on what they are serving after that,it is dance! dance!! dance!!! for me. yea the single chic dancing on the dance floor for a long time and not wanting to dance with anyone that doesn’t know how to dance but wants to strick a convo; yea am so guilty. so Atoke you are not alone.

  29. Wale

    July 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Atoke, this happens to the best of us single people. It can be more of a challenge during the cocktail hour since most people are already engaged in their little groups. But you had an opportunity at the table. Next time, before seating go round to introduce yourself- I had to master doing since I am a sales professional and it was required for networking. Another approach would be to say hello to everyone as you grab your chair. Do this with a friendly smile. Your table companions are afterall going to be the closest people in the world to you for the duration of the event.
    Sometimes that very device you are fiddling with can work to your advantage. I went to a performing arts show once and during the interlude my seat companion took a peek at the gossip blog I was browsing and she struck up a conversation with me. But smile and be interesting.

  30. Damsel

    July 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Solution: fast and pray before going for any social event. The purpose of this fasting and prayer is to ensure u meet at least one familiar face you can stick with throughout the event *jokes of course*
    On a more serious note, I can relate Atoke. Many times I drive solo, eat solo, have fun solo…so I have adapted to my solo life. When I attend events, I undertake a survey of the environment and do one of the following:
    1. you’ll usually find someone smiling at you, stylishly move to their side and start smiling or quickly find something on them to start a conversation about e.g. Did you attend Unilag? You look quite familiar (i know, that’s a popular line) or Hi, how are you finding the event, quite enlightening innit? I’m Atoke, you?
    2. If everyone is already in groups, bring out your most expensive phone, you have to set P nau. Scroll through the phone like you’re reading an important mail, have intermittent smiles on your face. The essence of this is to form ‘busy’ so it doesn’t seem like you’re anti-social.
    3. If music is on in the environment, bop your head and move your body. Even if you’re not glad, fake happiness, act like you’re enjoying your “soloness”
    3. this is the most extreme, take a magazine or novel with you or have an electronic one which you can read when there’s no hope.
    4. It’s not by force to remain at the event when you want to die of boredom, you won’t get fined for leaving. So carry everything you brought, if there’s takeaway, abeg pack that one too, remove your car key (or house key, to form like you get car) and leave.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      July 1, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Hahahaha! You’re a clown… but yes, that’s good advice there. Particularly no. 4. If things aren’t turning out the way I planned and the music sef no dey help matters in a wedding/party, na to bounce go catch one movie for cinema or something… I can think of other ways to entertain myself, mbok.

  31. slice

    July 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    My two cents having donee some solo networking. I always remember half the battle is in what u do as soon as u walk into the room. So the game plan must be tightn. Maybe walk in, head to the snack table, ask the person next to u an obvious question like is there anythg good on here? As u walk in, u must say hi to people you walk. Just own the room. And if there’s room to sit during the cocktail hr or networking event, u want to arrive early. I’ve noticed the first few pple to arrive always bond fast. I mean if u walk in and see just me, u’re going to ve to say hello and we can strike a very easy conversation but as the place gets fuller, people start finding their own cliques and the new person has a harder time just like in school with new students. Also if u arrive early, u can perch yoourslef on one of the highly coverted chairs in the middle and the gist will come to u bc people will want to sit there as well

    • ij

      July 1, 2013 at 2:34 pm

      may your way never be narrow, thank you so much for this

    • slice

      July 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      awwwww thank you! you just made my day 🙂

  32. Uju Lilian Ikegbune

    July 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Atoke! It happened 2 me yesterday 2, went 4 d Nigerian Television Fashion Show alone, all my frnds didn’t show up, cos of d rain. Atoke! Once, I & a frnd of mine sat in front of d lappy sipping on Juice & hot eggroll reading ur banters tanx 2 dat holiday, that is wat I call lounging,no work & reading ur post was fun. Atoke! How many times did I call u (in yoruba woman’s voice)? I like ur post jooR

  33. truee

    July 1, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    lmao @! flavored accents……well my own advice with respect to attending weddings alone esp if you know the bride is to try and go for the brides bridal shower or hen night, this will give you an oppty to make friends prior to the wedding. esp as most of the guest at the shower would be at the wedding. I used to be shy to eat out alone and do movies alone but now im the queen of it men! I practiced esp taking along a book to read or a well charged smartphone. etc

  34. truee

    July 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    also the average Nigerian is shy and looking to make friends too so don’t be afraid to reach out but don’t be a casper shaaa oo. lool!

  35. Gracie

    July 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Atoke sugar, you won’t loose your taste!!!! As for your quote “Let’s hope this initial gragra doesn’t die with traffic on Ikorodu road.” Hope is what keeps us on motion and makes us to keep trying so “this initial gragra” of Monday Morning Banter won’t go down cause its truly an energizer and a good starter for every devoted reader.

  36. tbn

    July 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Atoke, If its not a strictly by invitation event, would it be too bad if you had invited that friend you were chatting with on the phone? At least its not a strange thing in naija to bring along a friend to a party even though he/she wasnt invited originally. At least that friend would keep you company… I won’t wanna attend an event alone.

  37. pynk

    July 1, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I go alone. I dont even send. I get really dressed up and chat with those around me. Simple! life is too short to give a damn what others really think.

  38. AW

    July 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Try sitting in an academic conference with a room full of Oyinbo people! Your mouth go smell tire because no one will speak to you. During the break they go off in little cliques giving a ‘you are not welcome to join in’ signal.

    • slice

      July 1, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      My experience with that has actually been quite different. I find they always want to say something and inevitably we talk about my accent and then where I’m from etc. Remember though that many people at these conferences already know one another from somewhere. their company may have sent a group of them and yours sent only you or they may have gone to school together. The trick is to enter their group gently or find someone who came alone. Pretty much if I sit next to you during the conference, you are talking to me during breaks. that’s it. Once I sit next to you, I might make a comment about the weather and traffic (oyinbos like to discuss those two topics. lol). Then I might ask why you picked this conference. Is this an area of interest for you? what kind of work do you do. how long have you lived in this area, etc etc. By the way, here’s my business car. Usually, i don’t care much for going to lunch with people because my choice of food may be different. But after lunch, i’ll ask where the people around me went for lunch. If they served us lunch, we might talk about how good or bad it is. And while you’re doing this, draw other people in. You might see someone watching your mouths as you talk and just dying to join the conversation, go ahead and say something to them too so your group can’t get bigger.

    • slice

      July 1, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      *** business card****

    • slice

      July 1, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      sorry last sentence was so your group can get bigger.

    • AW

      July 1, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      I am taking this with me to my next conference and hope it works, fingers crossed! (Law academics can be very stuffy people!)

    • person pikin

      July 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      Omg! i was just going to type the same thing! it is even funny how they encourage you as a young researcher to network and establish contacts, the tell you all sorts to drag you to attend a conference but when its a tea or lunch break na then you go hear am. they’l form small cliques and leave you out of their bants. if you have a poster sef, they’ld hardly even chat to you about it.
      What i tend to do is to go and mix up with the asians, fellow africans or other non-english europeans (i live in the UK). Those ones are a lot easier to get along with than english people.

  39. Naveah

    July 1, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    It is the attitude that you exude that will either draw people to or away from you. If you look bored, if you are playing with your phone, not smiling then you are saying with your body language “Keep AWAY” but if you allow yourself to be PRESENT in the moment, if you are engaged in the moment, taking in your surrounding, smiling, bobbing your head to the music like someone said then you give off an energy that says “I AM OPEN AND AVAILABLE”. People watch and amuse yourself and that little smile tugging at the corner of your mouth will eventually cause someone to enquire as to what you find to be so amusing – presto, conversation starter. Wear a stunning piece of jewelry or shoes or something that is a conversation starter…heck, your smile can be just that, a conversation sparker.

    I believe women are more approachable when they are alone because when surrounded by other cackling females, men see them as a pack of wolves and will not approach. I do not believe that coming to an event alone reads as “lonely, desperate singleton” unless you give off that fragrance. It can also read as “single, independent but ready to mix and mingle”. There are people around you that you have much in common with just listen to the conversations around you and casually add a comment or two.

    • Eve

      July 2, 2013 at 4:34 am

      You summed it up perfectly Girl!!!

    • Naveah

      July 2, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      I was just thinking the same thing about your post as well!!! When I was single, I had no issues going out and about doing things I love to do alone. I went to the movies, museums, theater, bowling, dinners etc alone and I always end up meeting wonderful people. Like you, I am in the States and there isn’t as much of a stigma about being single here as I believe there is in Nigeria. Also, there is a lot more for a single lady to do here by herself than I believe there is in Nigeria though I don’t think that is an excuse to isolate oneself. See, it’s easy here for me to get in my car and take a drive down to the Jersey shore to lay out on the beach and ain’t no big thing to it than I would say it would be to do the same thing in Nigeria. Sha, I believe you aren’t good company for anyone IF you are not good company for yourself. I love my own company but I don’t mind sharing it if it so happens that someone wants to spend time with me. This is how I met my sweetie pie. I had invited a few friends to an event, none of them ended up showing but instead of going home, I went about my jollification by myself and left that joint with husband in tow LOL.

  40. ajike

    July 1, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    @tbn i’m guilty of the follow come kind of invite. LOL. A friend invited me to her colleagues’ wedding at a time so as not to fly solo* on my way two friends met me at the door differently and were dressed okay enough to attend a wedding, just like that, we all enrouted* the venue of the wedding and nicely we all had fun and are friends till date.

  41. Madam the Madam

    July 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Atoke I feel you because I heard that Lagosians can be very cliquey so I imagine that it’s not that easy to go out alone and make friends easily.

    I don’t think I could go to an event like that solo. I probably would not go solo to a wedding or a party/club either because I don’t warm up to people or make friends that easily. But places like restaurants, concerts, the movies are fair game and I have no problem going to these spots solo.

  42. bimpe

    July 1, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    I feel you dear. I hate going out on my own as well, its boring! You have to go in a group to mak eit more fun. However, if you are single, it pays to hang out alone so you can meet guys because guys get easily intimidated by group of girls so even if they fancy you, they wont have the guts to ask you out in the midst of your friends.

  43. DOO

    July 1, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Save for business gatherings where networking is key, at a party that I am alone, I am okay with my glass of champagne, BB & iPhone.

  44. Ada

    July 1, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    I feel just as awkward and uncomfortable when I am alone at an event too…the difference though is that I am very comfortable when I am alone at a movie or eating lunch at a restaurant because I really enjoy those activities with or without someone.

  45. Esco

    July 1, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Read this article a bit late, but here are my 2 kobo:

    1. Check your own facial expressions. Does your body language exude a “come hither” friendly skies ambience or a “if you come near me, I go nearly kill you” vibe? Nigerians, we may be termed the worlds happiest people, but we sabi bone our faces. We do this because we are taught to exude a certain street smartness and a “no send” attitude so that strangers will not “see you finish”. In fact anytime I am abroad, I can identify a Nigerian person by any black person I see squeezing his/her face. Relax your face, and smile inside, and this releases a friendly, approachable vibe around you. If you have nice teeth or cute dimples, display them

    2. Arrive on time at events; especially at weddings. This way you could stake out a vantage spot. For outdoor weddings, this is usually the spot near the fans, as everyone wants to stay cool. Or it may be place close (but not too close) to the food and drinks bar. Nobody wants to be seated where they have to plea to the ushers not to pass them by. Choose a nice spot and watch everyone come to you. And if you are the first person on the table, you can commandeer the small chops and choice wins. And he who controls the small chops tray, is king at a Nigerian wedding. Remember that, African time can be counter-productive, and only works if you are a super-star or famous. But dont be the first person to open the church at the wedding o. See finish is social suicide too.

    3. Learn some conversation starters so you can engage or draw people in. As a rule, most people love talking about themselves, so the key is to get them drawn into doing so by asking subtle but non-probing questions. You want them to feel flattered enough to open up, but not to look patronizing by looking like you are “seeking perch”. Avoid topics like religion or politics or race (tribe). In Nigeria, cursing Arsenal FC’s luck with silverware is a good opener. Forget about commenting about the weather (we no send) but do abuse LASTMA and swear for the Nigerian Police Force or the airport immigration corp. You will get engaging contributions.

    4. If you are shy, there are a few tricks. i was once told to imagine a girl taking a shit, if I was too shy to engage her in conversation. Try it. I am waiting for the day I meet Scarlett Johansson so I could try it. Good luck using that trick.

  46. carliforniabawler

    July 2, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I always look for someone else thats alone(irrespective of their gender) My opening like is always
    ” you’re here alone as well??….” At the end of parry everybody go their

  47. Eve

    July 2, 2013 at 4:26 am

    I can’t believe half of what I’m reading. I’m 31, and I’m single and I go out alone, and I absolutely have a good time. I don’t know how it is living in Nigeria, I live in the US, and I have never had a problem with hanging out alone. I have so much fun going out alone, bc sometimes you go out with friends, and they try to be a Debbie downer. They become too uptight and don’t want to kick back and have a good time, or worse still after a few minutes, they start telling you let’s go.

    I go to clubs alone, I go to weddings alone, I go out to eat alone, I go out to places of interest by myself, I am very comfortable hanging out alone ( I actually promised myself to go somewhere exciting every weekend that I’m off this summer). Depending on how I feel, when I go to eat, I either hang at the bar or get a table for one. I always meet new people, and we have good conversation. Sometimes I exchange numbers with the girls, other times we just leave it at that.

    Like someone said, all you got to do is say hello, and start a conversation. One time I had gone to eat, I was at the bar, drinking and waiting for my food. Once the meal came, this gentleman beside me said…I just ordered the exact time. We laughed at the coincidence, and we struck up a conversation and chatted for the rest of the evening. I love to dance, so I go to the club some weekends. Once I get my drink, I hit the dance floor, I have met a few singles who come up to me and say …hey is it ok if we dance together, and I’m like sure.

    Atoke I think the bottom line is that you have to give people the impression that you are approachable. If you are on the phone or your iPad, or kindle, I think you are basically saying I’m in the middle of something and wish not to be disturbed. I have 2 weddings lined up for this month that I’ll be flying solo 🙂 I have my outfits ready and can not wait to have a good time.

    To all the single men/women out there, have fun bc life is too short!

  48. Ola

    July 2, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Love, Love, Love Atoke’s writings. I was painfully shy in my university days I didn’t really make that many friends. Now that I’m in my 30’s I have decided to set out of my box and can practically talk to anybody and I’ve found out that all it takes is a smile and an hello. I’ve met some great friends by just summoning the courage to speak first. That being said I still never go to a party or big events alone because Nigerian girls can be very snobby worldwide and they tend to stay within their cliques.

  49. Eve

    July 2, 2013 at 5:13 am

    Sorry for the typo. ‘..I just ordered the exact thing.’

  50. bussie

    July 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    reading Atoke, i seriously saw myself in every line! god help me but its so difficult to mix especially in an already established clique-setting. I’ve learnt a lot today already and wil try it out next time (whenever that is 🙂 )

  51. Dawn

    July 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    So most of y’all regular BN readers are introverts just like moi. Lol. I’m 29 this year and I’ve decided to change my ways before it’s too late.

  52. Miss Phoebz

    July 2, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Hmmmm! Don’t have this problem @ all! I can go ANYWHERE alone without feeling left out. Movies, weddings, shows, lunch, dinner… except clubbing sha.
    @sinquanon pls feel free to holla @ me. I believe one can never have enough friends though on different levels.
    I’ve got my crew from NYSC, work colleagues, university friends, even my crew from primary school! I get along with people easily and I’m quite relate-able with both sexes whenever I’m out…
    Maybe making the first move (ie to start the conversation) can help. Just give it a try…u never can tell until u try>

  53. Nomy

    July 3, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Not being able to go to events alone is the reason Nigerians do “mo gbo mo ya”. my Yoruba friends I hope say I no fall hand. We carry uninvited guests to events we have been invited to. For example there is a wedding, you don’t want to go alone, so you call up a friend who probably has a friend visiting and brings the friend along,, suddenly there are three of you going to the event! Anyway all that said, I can go to an event alone, as long as am somewhere in front catching all the action, am fine!

  54. fiesty chic

    July 4, 2013 at 5:20 am

    @eve you have inspired me cos i feel i’m becoming a recluse. will go out by myself henceforth and have fun with my life.

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