SuperCity: Top 10 ways to succeed in (night)life

Sep. 11, 2013 | 0 Comments

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BY CHRISTA WITTMIER / Special to the Star-Advertiser

It seems like there are more lists than ever these days.

185What happened to us? Can we not sit and read a proper piece of journalism without it being numbered or full of bullet points? Has the current decade chopped up our information so much that we find ourselves losing focus after scanning photo captions and the bold print?

A friend of mine recently was recently dubbed a “social climber,” which prompted quite a bit of discussion within my crew.

While the term definitely has a negative connotation, I told her she should see it as a compliment. Why wouldn’t you want to know everyone who is making a difference and have access to them to make things happen? To me, that sounds like a good networker. Of course, your intentions must be pure.

Either way, I figure now is the best time to share my personal findings on Honolulu scenesters and share my advice for those interested. There is definitely more to getting ahead than just figuring out who the “IT” people are and following them.

Here you go:

1. Go Out — Every Night

If you really want to be all up in the scene, it’s not that hard. Just go out. Every night. Mondays at Lulu’s Waikiki; Tuesdays at Tsunami’s on S. King St.; Wednesdays at Manifest in Chinatown, then Safehouse at The Republik; Thursdays at V-Lounge on Kona St., then Addiction in Waikiki; and weekends at M Nightclub at Waterfront Plaza, Ginza Nightclub on Kona St. and The Study at the Modern Honolulu.

You can do it. It’s consistency that’s key to really start meeting new people.

2. Be Early

Visiting bars during off hours is when you can really get to know the staff and management. This is what’s important if you’re really trying to be part of the scene. These people are the ones who will take care of you when you need it.

If you’re only going to NextDoor on First Friday or Addiction at 2 a.m. on a Saturday, you’re just another face in the crowd. Sit down at the bar early in the evening on an off night and listen for a while. Then engage.

3. Tip Well

Just when you think you’re getting somewhere and bartenders are starting to learn your name, it turns out you still can’t get a gig or make any true connections.

Guess what? Industry people talk. We all know money is tight these days, but a large part of being all up in the scene takes some investment. Don’t be one of those people who are blacklisted without even knowing it because you don’t take care of your bartenders and servers. And you should always tip for drinks or bottles that are comped by others.

4. Remember Names

This is by far the hardest one. I try to get someone’s name again once we’ve had a conversation. Trying to remember a name during the first five seconds of meeting someone for the first time never works. It’s usually better to get their full name, too.

People probably think I’m a huge, narcissistic dork because I always introduce myself by my full name, but it’s really just so they are comfortable telling me their full name in return. It really helps me with remembering — and Facebook lurking later, duh.

Physically saying their name out loud back to them also helps. And it’s okay to ask someone, “what was your name again?” after your initial meeting, because they most likely have forgotten your name as well.

5. Shop Local

Sure, a weaker economy and lower salaries make Ross and Nordstrom Rack appealing, but paying a visit to some of the local shops or boutiques is when you will really start to become part of the scene. Supporting local retailers is a huge way to represent not only locally, but when you travel outside Hawaii.

And like the bars and clubs, the more you visit these establishments, the tighter connections you will make.

6. Stay Positive

It might be hard not to gravitate toward gossip-mongers, since they’re so damn entertaining. Just remember, however, if they’re habitually talking about everyone else — you are definitely included in their conversations when your back is turned.

Keep your immediate surroundings as positive as possible with people who are working hard. If you can’t find them, follow them. It’s ok to mute your friends if they complain too much on Twitter. There is absolutely something good in every person and situation, even if it’s just a lesson to learn.

7. Don’t Try Too Hard

Figure out what you want to accomplish and work towards that. Set real goals. Be genuine. Model your vision after those that are successful, but don’t mimic them. Make it your own. Look at Pinterest to soothe your brain and find out what you really do love.

Once you figure out your true self and find your own voice, the rest falls beautifully into place.

8. Focus On the Big Picture

Remember that it’s not just about you. It’s about the scene. Nightlife in Honolulu is nothing without the people who are all up in it.

Never try to bring someone else down. Offer up help whenever you can. Don’t always expect things in return. Be cognizant of how you treat others.

9. Just Do It

You know what happens when you don’t do something? Someone else will. It might not be as good as you can do it, but at least they are doing the legwork to make it happen.

Do you want to stand by and let that happen? Does our scene deserve the mediocre? Absolutely not.

Make that website. Plan that event. Write that business plan. Get the right people involved. You can do it.

10. Celebrate Diversity

Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s crap. If you can’t keep an open mind to all genres, social circles and methods, you have no business trying to be all up in the scene. That is what makes it amazing. Everyone has a place to go.

This post was written mostly tongue-in-cheek, but I have been thinking a lot about the future. Bar and club openings and closings are one thing, but it’s a constant influx of new promoters and new faces out and about that changes the entire dynamic.

We need to keep the magic intact. I know we can do it.
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Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young’s Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular “Bacardi Pool Party” on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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