How Not to Make Friends in Perth

Unlike many 20-something world traveling nomad types, I’m not backpacking or staying in hostels, and while I’m not complaining about my accommodations or transportation, there is one big downside; It’s harder to make friends.

Now that it’s been a year and half, we have all settled in quite comfortably with each other (maybe even too comfortably, some might say) but when I first arrived in the land down under and we weren’t yet moved onto the boat, I was little girl in the big city.  I hadn’t met my other crewmates and I was sharing an apartment in Perth with my bosses and the baby.

For some reason, I had this image in my head that when I would be out and about everyone would just pick up on the fact that I was flying solo and in need of friends and instinctively start talking to me.  Silly me.  The fact that 90% of the time I was pushing a baby in a stroller probably didn’t help much.

After about a month, I knew I had to take action.  There was only so much I could (or wanted) to do by myself.  I had explored the city, gone on a bus tour, taken a ferry ride to Rottnest Island, and basically anything and everything else I could have possibly done.  It was time to make friends.

My first plan (there were a few others I may chronicle for you at a later date) was to head to a bar around happy hour and grab a drink and see if I could strike up some friendly conversation (Who wouldn’t want to talk me up at a bar? I’m so interesting…).  After walking around town all day on my day off, I went back to the apartment to freshen up before making my way to the ‘Lucky Shag’ which was conveniently on the water about a half mile from the apartment.  It seemed like a laid-back place to grab a drink and watch the sunset.  This all might have gone according to plan had I not arrived right at the peak of happy hour on a Friday after everyone had just finished their work week.

The scene of the crime.  It looks suspiciously less crowded here...

The scene of the crime. It looks suspiciously less crowded here… (photo from

Walking up to the bar (which was right at the entrance) I asked for a beer and then asked if I could start a tab.  I assumed plan A was foolproof and that my future best friends and I would obviously be staying and drinking for a while so a tab would be necessary.  But lo and behold, I couldn’t just “start a tab” by leaving my credit card, so the bartender handed me my card back and I walked away with my beer to find a place to sit.

Trying to find a place to sit or even stand was no easy task.  The bar and adjoining deck were overcrowded with happy hour urban professional types and I could not have looked any more out of place.  Then, to make things even more interesting, I realized I was being chased through the maze of people by the bartender.  Making a really good impression for myself, let me tell you.  While I couldn’t leave my credit card with the bartender, apparently they just hand you an oversized number plaque and I being the foreigner, didn’t know to wait for it to be handed to me at the bar.

After being publicly shamed as an idiot and having to wander around like a lost puppy with nowhere to sit (and feeling awkward stares the entire time), the only option was to squeeze into a tiny spot against the deck’s balcony right at the exit next to the bouncer.  Things were going downhill quickly as this wasn’t exactly the scenario I had imagined for myself.  But hey, at least I had a beer in my hand.

Yes, it's really called 'The Lucky Shag'...(photo found on google)

Yes, it’s really called ‘The Lucky Shag’…
(photo found on google)

Unfortunately, It had been some time since I had had a drink so in no time I was feeling tipsy. I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but yes, one beer got me tipsy.  This ended up being problematic because at this point I just wanted to go back to the apartment and be a loner in the comfort of my own room but there was a $20 minimum for credit cards (I still don’t understand why they couldn’t just hold on to my card and save me having to carry around the monstrosity of a number plaque).

Going back to the bar to grab my second beer, I tried as quickly as possible to drink it, and forget the whole situation as quickly as possible.  Having completely forgotten about my original objective in coming to the bar in the first place, of course it was then that someone would start talking to me.  Apparently I’m more appealing with an annoyed look on my face…to 50 year old men with an obvious agenda.  We don’t need to go into details, but after about three minutes, I was out of there and on my way back to the apartment to annihilate a heaping bowl of ice cream with milo.

Fret not, here's proof that I eventually made friends.

Fret not, here’s proof that I eventually made friends.


7 responses to “How Not to Make Friends in Perth

  1. The “Lucky Shag” Bar! And that was your first choice! C’mon. Even forgetting who I am, that sounds a little desperate, and a lot potentially disastrous — but not, I’m sure, for the fifty-somethings happy to frequent such places looking for twenty-somethings (like you). I’m exceedingly happy you were decidedly “unlucky” at this establishment. BTW, TMI, IMO! ISLY

    • To be fair, the ‘shag’ is a water fowl similar to a loon so it’s more of a play on words. And honestly, it’s more of a yuppie spot from what I experienced as it is right in the city. I would never go if it was really legitimately called “the lucky f***”. Have some faith, dad 🙂

  2. Love your stories! May I have permission to refer them to a literary agent friend of mine? This one about being so lonesome that you found yourself to work at making friends struck a familiar bell from many years ago. Your style of writing makes a person feel like you are there just talking to them only! Godspeed, Arielle.

    • Thanks! Of COURSE you can- it is on the Internet for all to see, after all. But in all seriousness, that would be amazing and I would really appreciate it! Thanks for the kind words, I’m glad you liked it 🙂

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