Dealing with difficult people…by difficult we mean drunk.
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Alright men. Get settled in. We’re about to tackle a tricky subject: “handling” a drunk woman. Actually, let me open this up. I’m going to use mainly female pronouns and nouns throughout for simplicity’s sake but if you prefer men, you could definitely apply this to a man. Basically anyone you might be romantically linked to or interested in or feel responsible for in some way. I want to note that these tips apply to people who don’t have a serious drinking problem, and who aren’t doing (or about to do) something criminal, abusive, or dangerous. In those cases, of course, getting help from law enforcement or a medical professional is the safest solution for all parties involved.
1. Don’t take advantage of her.
There are few women who will wake up the morning after a night of heavy drinking and thank the stranger–or previously platonic friend–lying next to them for the boink. To me, it’s an ethically grey area–people are responsible for themselves, and sometimes they drink a bottle of wine and decide to sleep with a random person. That can be a minor bummer or it can be a huge one with serious consequences, depending on whether the parties involved were coherent enough to use protection, and then whether that protection worked, and so on. So people are responsible for themselves. On the other hand, if you are sober and you pick up a wasted woman, even one who is flirting with you, that’s poor form. You have to know that the odds are good this person wouldn’t sleep with you normally. As a moral, decent person, you have an obligation to be respectful towards other people, and sometimes that means saving them from themselves.
2. Don’t expect reason and logic to work.
If you and your partner begin to argue while one or both of you is tipsy, trying to have a logical conversation to resolve the conflict does not always work. People forget what they just said, what the other person said, even what started the argument in the first place. Don’t try to reason with a mad drunk person. Do whatever you can to halt the discussion in its tracks. Tell the other person, as lovingly as possible, that you’re not going to talk about this topic anymore. This may need to be accompanied by departure from the room so that you’re actually physically removing yourself from the situation (of course, this only works if you’re at home or a trusted friend’s house). They may or may not accept this, but trying to find a resolution with someone who is sotally tober is a fool’s errand. In the morning, if necessary, you can still resolve the issue. But I find all is usually forgotten, especially when both of you need a couple aspirin and a morning spent lazing on the couch.
3. Intervene, if necessary.
If a friend or girlfriend is at risk of making an ass of herself–telling TMI stories about her (your) sex life, mooning passerby or other outrageous behavior–try to step in. Gently capture her attention and subtly guide her away from the person she’s talking to–tell her you haven’t gotten a chance to talk to her much this evening. How’s she doing? What’s new? This strategy does not work if you preface it by saying, “You’re making an ass of yourself/You’ve had way too much to drink/What the hell is wrong with you?” I’ve found that drunkenness and defensiveness go hand-in-hand, so someone you scold is going to be prone to insisting she is fine, and then demonstrating she is fine by getting another drink or confiding in her boss that she was actually on a long weekend getaway last month when she called in sick with the stomach flu.
4. End The Evening.
Drunk people don’t like to the leave the bar. We’re drunk! We’re having so much fun! Courtney just got here! But ending the evening is sometimes necessary. If you suspect the person you’re with will resist or become defensive, make it about you. You’ve had too much to drink, you have a headache, you’re too tired to stay. The odds are better that your other half will acquiesce if it’s not about her. If the person in question is not your girlfriend, but it’s clear they need to go home, well, that’s a harder scenario. If it’s a friend, you can try to get her to come home with you, so you can make sure she gets into a bed (not yours) or on a couch safely. You can point out to a more sober female friend of hers that she probably needs to go home. Women are usually good about taking care of each other that way. You can also get a taxi for her…if she’s cognizant. If she’s really gone, don’t do it. She probably won’t stay awake long enough to tell the driver where to go, and she might vomit up that bar tab all over the backseat and end up with a pricey cleaning bill.
5. Be kind
Is there anything worse, especially as responsible, mature adults, than waking up the morning after you’ve had too many, and feeling like a fool? It’s not fun. Be nice to your wife. Tell her it happens to everyone. Be nice to your female friends. Next time you see them, no need to reenact how they busted their sh*t on the steps out of the bar. If you feel that some kind of behavior was really out of line, by all means, address it with her. But having too many glasses of wine and singing show tunes for your group of friends isn’t anything to make a federal case about.