You have a friend, let’s call her Ashley. Ashley likes to dance on tables and stumbles down the street in stilettos. Every weekend is a blowout for her. She likes to have a little too much fun and then feels humiliated the next morning. You hate to see her like this, but she barely even remembers the night before. You want to be a good friend and help her, but you’re not sure of how to approach the situation. What do you do? HC has some advice for every kind of drunk friend you might be dealing with!
The Wandering Drunk
There’s always that one person who stumbles from place to place without any notice. She may walk out the door, into the street and tap on a local police officer’s shoulder, or even worse, a seriously creepy guy’s. The best way to help your friend is to keep an eye on her.
“Sometimes you just need to let them wander,” says Emory and Henry College junior Hannah Rhodes. Hannah’s friends like to make stops at Wendy’s after a long night. When she tried to fight it and failed, she decided to instead provide them with safe transportation. “I just ride it out,” she says. “They’re going to attempt to do what they want anyway, so I might as well make sure they’re safe.”
Going out of her way to take her friends to Wendy’s probably wasn’t one of Hannah’s top things to do on a Saturday night. She hadn’t been drinking so she was able to give them a safe ride and made sure they stayed out of trouble. By following her friends and not forcing them to stay home, a plan that probably wouldn’t have worked, she was able to take care of her friends.
But what if she was drinking? Don’t worry, you can still go with your friends and make sure they’re safe, but you have a responsibility to yourself too. There’s plenty of public transportation around most college campuses. From buses to cabs there’s always an alternative. At my school (James Madison University) there’s a volunteer program called SafeRides where students pick up other students for free and offer them safe rides home. Just make sure you have a reliable way of getting home.
The Dial-Your-Ex Drunk
Drinking and driving is one of the worst things you can do, but drinking while texting can be dangerous too. When alcohol’s involved, every girl does things she wouldn’t normally do, such as text or call her ex-boyfriend.
As you may have already guessed, there’s an app for that. The iPhone has created the “Designated Dialer App” for 99 cents, which will let you lock out certain contacts before you start drinking. If you call them, you’ll get the service’s number instead reminding you that you shouldn’t be calling them. To unlock the app you must perform a coordination exercise to prove your sobriety.
There’s also an “iDrunk Dialer App” which sets a list of people that it’s ok to drunk dial. So if it’s impossible for your friend to stop, consider this option instead. And for those without an iPhone, stick to the trusty name-change. Better yet, let your friends change his name for you, so you have no idea how to call him!
The Emotional Drunk
It’s hard to have a good time when your friend is sobbing in the middle of the party.
“When it comes to emotional drunks, whether they are angry or sad, I’ve found that it’s best to take everything they say with a grain of salt,” says Pryor. “Arguing with a drunk girl gets you nowhere. The next day it’s better to just laugh with them at the stupid stuff they said, instead of trying to reason with them that night.”
Not only is she upset in the moment, but she may be equally embarrassed tomorrow. How can you get her to stop or at least get her out of there?
Try to get her out of the center of the room. Ask her to go outside to get some air or get a glass of water in the kitchen.
Most of the time your drunk friend will be unable to reason with, so it’s time to get creative and think outside the box. If you’re a good friend you’ll do your best to keep your friends safe and embarrassment-free.
The Belligerent, Angry Drunk
She’s yelling at the party and the cops could be coming any moment. What do you do? James Madison University junior Cammie Little has had experience with these kinds of situations. Her friend was shoving and screaming at multiple people all night. The party’s hosts weren’t too pleased so Cammie did her best to intervene.
“I tried to bring her into a separate room and just agreed with her about everything she was mad about,” she said. “It really calmed her down to have someone on her side and agreeing with her was enough of a distraction that we were able to leave without a big scene.”
But what happens when this anger is focused at you? First of all, it’s important to remain calm and get creative.
“Try to focus the anger to a different source,” said James Madison University sophomore Katy Brittingham. “Being a girl my guy friends normally focus their anger at me. Once I had a friend throw Nerf balls across the yard to let his anger out, and it worked!”
Every situation’s different, so you always need to be prepared. These are just a few tips and examples from some girls who have gone through what many of us go through in a typical college weekend. As funny as some of the situations can be, they’re also scary. Just make sure that you stay safe and keep your friends safe.
Hannah Rhodes, Emory and Henry, Class of 2012
Sarah Beth Pryor, James Madison University, Class of 2011
Cammie Little, James Madison University, Class of 2012