How To Avoid Looking Like a Hot Mess at your Next Social Function

November and December are very festive months. If you are American, chances are you will be heading home for Thanksgiving. For the rest of us, there will be work Christmas parties, end of the semester parties and so on. There is one thing that these events almost always include: alcohol. Drinking with your three roomates is one thing, but drinking in front of coworkers and extended family and friends is a whole other thing. There is nothing appealing about being the “drunk messy girl” from the holiday party that everyone is talking about in the office. As an avid social (and individual) drinker, I have collected some tips over the years on how to keep it together during outings where alcohol would be distributed freely.


  1. Have a meal before you start drinking.

I always make sure I never drink on an empty stomach. Not only is it unhealthy, it makes the little amount of alcohol in your system feel like a huge one. If your event offers finger food, stack on those before you have your first drink. I know it’s tempting to go straight to the bar, but trust me, the fall will not be worth it. Corporate holiday parties usually offer a three course sit-down meal. In this case, eat your entree before sipping on the glass of wine standing next to your utensils. Wait until you had your entire meal before refilling that glass. Even if dinner is offered, I would recommend having some sort of filling food before the evening. Classy food comes in small portions and may not sustain you the whole night. Therefore, stop by A&W or McDonalds before heading to the dinner party.


  1. Drink a glass of water for each two alcohol beverage you take.

If you are into strong liquor, or have a small tolerance, make sure you stay hydrated throughout the night. Some people advise to drink one glass of water for each glass of alcohol, but I find it kills the whole purpose of drinking (if you are trying to be at least tipsy) and it also is tricky to manage. Drink one tall glass of water for each drink and I promise you will feel in control.


  1. Once you’ve reached your limit, stop and enjoy the party.

We all have an individual limit. For some, it might be two glasses of Merlot and for others it might be 9 glasses of rum and coke. If you have drank before, you most likely know when you start to be in your happy place. If you have recklessly drank before, you know what it feels like when you drink past that place. This tip requires a lot of self-discipline. You are going to have to say “no” when offered shots and drinks--but it does not mean the night is over. Ride that vibe for as long as you can! It does not matter if you are lit by 10 p.m.! It just mean you get to start having fun earlier (and that you will most likely be better-off than if you recklessly kept drinking until the end of the night).


  1. Have a chaperon.

Now, what if you don’t have self-discipline? I chaperoned my friends often (sometimes against their will, but that’s another story). If you have a tendency to drink whatever is presented to you, you might want to choose a qualified friend to keep an eye on you during the night. What makes someone a qualified chaperon? This person must have your best interest at heart (trustworthy), be a disciplined drinker or a non-drinker (preferably, your ride home), and aware of your drinking patterns. Do you get worse when you mix alcohol? After how many drinks should you stop drinking? Are you the kind of drunk girl who calls her ex-boyfriend to tell him she misses him? The chaperon should know the answers to those!


  1. If you have to puke, make it subtle.

I have had times, despite my best efforts, where sickness was part of the ride. It might be because of that new type of alcohol you tried that night or the greasy food from your first meal that isn’t going down so well. If you know you need to vomit, follow these simple steps. Graciously exit the main room, try to walk as straight as possible (if you can’t, at least appear focused), do not talk to anyone until you have puked (if you are like me, there is a time-bomb count on that eventuality), and once you finally find a stall: vomit and flush simultaneously to cover the noise. Repeat the last step until you are done and make sure you have brought your purse with you to freshen up your appearance before you enter back into the main room. If you feel the urge to vomit, exit right away, if you wait it out, you have less time to contain the outcome.


Voila! Here are my tips and tricks on how to not be a hot mess at your next social function. Remember to have fun, but not too much! There is a time and place for everything.