Murder on the dancefloor

By Olivia Marrins

How to navigate a night out

The group in which you surround yourself with on a night out can be the difference between a great night and a night where you find yourself home from the club hours earlier than expected. There are many details to take into consideration as a student when going out: have I got enough money to stretch my mixer to a 2-litre bottle of lemonade or will it be diluting juice again; which flatmate’s wardrobe will I raid for the perfect going-out-top; or which oven meal can I slam in the oven quick enough to eat in time? Such dilemmas feel insignificant as you and your group cram into an uber and you realise everyone here is very different to one another…

Diversity in personality within a friendship group can often be very rewarding. A variety of perspectives on life; an eclectic mix of introverts and social butterflies – a group of people exactly of the same mind would become extremely monotonous. Though this dynamic seems the ideal, it can flip a 180 on a night out.

Friend groups can almost always be divided into different archetypes. Let me briefly introduce a few of these characteristics which constitute the average social group. The one with the agenda: whether this is reflected in a planned itinerary or goal to ‘accidentally’ bump into one person you’ve been chatting to for a couple of weeks. The one who dreams of an early night: they agreed to go out but deep down they are conjuring up a plausible excuse to dip out of the club queue. The one who disappears: one second, they are next to you on the dancefloor, soon they’ve escaped – maybe to another room, bar or uber home. Put all of these subtypes together, it is clear to imagine how conflict and misunderstandings can disrupt a night out.

Although it feels like, for the most part of one’s university experience, going along with the majority feels obligatory. For years, certain nights out seem to fit the mainstream narrative of a uni night out (usually an evening the union). It is difficult to break away from the traditions which force many into just going where their friends want to go. The key to a worthwhile night out lies in the quality of the club. By that I don’t necessarily mean modern interiors and a great DJ. A good quality club, bar, or event is based on how much it aligns with your own taste. It’s all good and well experiencing new sounds in spaces your friends love, however it can sometimes leave you feeling a bit lost from your own identity. That’s why a massive part of your late teens/early twenties are centred around going out – it gives you the opportunity to find the places you love and those you will not be stepping foot in again. So, embrace stepping out of the queue for the club you’ve been going to every Thursday for the past two years and make sure you get more out of a good night out than a faded stamp mark on your wrist and the weight of unprovoked anxiety the next morning.

There are many other ways to navigate a night out in the hope it gets mostly everyone’s needs: Don’t have such high expectations. We are all familiar with the feeling, desperate for everyone to stay till the bar calls for last orders. However, accepting that not everyone thinks the same, especially when it comes to a night out can save a great deal of stress or confusion. By remaining aware that half the people in your group will probably want to leave early; two will crave cheesy chips from the corner chippy; and the rest are on a war path of tequila slammers and momentary flirtations with strangers, will free you from the expectation you had to all stick together. 

Sometimes the best nights out come from the most unexpected and spontaneous plans. Therefore, leave each to their own. Don’t remain so hung up on the friend that called her ex when she promised she wouldn’t and embody the precarity of a night out. By accepting that not everyone wants the same thing, you will have the energy to perhaps chat to the like-minded people in the queue or stay dancing in the room that fits your music taste. I must reiterate, find the spaces or communities that suit you but the key to good night out is finding at least one person that enjoys the same thing as you. Not only for a dance or drinking partner, but so you don’t have to pay the whole taxi fare on the way home.


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