Suggest that your date limit his or her number of drinks. If you are already aware that the person you are dating drinks too much at events, set the limits early on and set your own ground rules as well. Tell them that it’s no fun being with them when they’re drunk and that you won’t stay to see the results if they do this. Naturally, if you’re unaware that your date gets drunk yet, this step is not relevant.
Keep an eye on behavioral changes during the event. If you notice unpleasant changes that bother, worry, or even frighten you, take heed that you are probably going to have to react to look after your own interests. Even if your drunken date does nothing more than make pigheaded jokes at your expense, it is more than enough to ruin your evening.
Decide whether you are able to help sober up your date. If it’s early enough yet and your date is responsive to you, try the sobering up route first (provided that your date is not behaving violently or vindictively.) Usually this step works when the drunkenness has not gone too far but is still very evident. Take them to the kitchen, make a cup of coffee and put some food in front of them. Demand that they eat the food, drink the coffee, and talk with you. Sit down and talk to them in clear, simple language about going home, or going to do something that doesn’t involve drinking, such as watching a DVD or sleeping. Be polite but firm; this isn’t the time for acting demure or coy, as you’re dealing with someone who is losing self-control.
Make a decision to leave. If your drunken date is ruining the night for you, it is a good idea not to stay around. This won’t always be easy though, depending on the situation. If it’s just the two of you, it will be more challenging than if you’re at a party and can slip out unnoticed:
For a situation where it is just both of you, offer to drive your date home, or order a taxi. If this offer is not accepted, loudly inform them (if other people are around) that you’re going home now and they can do as they choose.
If there are no people around, and you feel threatened, you will need to tread more carefully. Look for excuses that you can make to leave momentarily but take that chance to leave altogether; for example, say you are going to the bathroom / to get some food/more drink / to shut a window / to put the cat out / to phone your parents or a friend / to turn off lights, etc. Whatever seems viable enough given the context that will buy you get away time. And leave quickly!
If you’re at a party, leave your date with his or her other mates to get over it. Perhaps take the car keys if he or she drove there, to prevent them from making any fatal mistakes. They’ll understand when sober, and if not, it’s possible you need to rethink the relationship.
In the situation where you are not able to escape a drunken date, self-preserve. If your date is simply a nuisance and rude, obnoxious, and loud, try ignoring them and moving to another part of the room or yard. If they are beginning to become violent, get help from others to restrain your date, or shut yourself into a room or place where you can ride this through. If you have a cell phone and you’re alone, dial for help.
Think about where this relationship is going. If the drunkenness is a one-off or a phase, and you think that it is something that will either pass or will lessen, you might be prepared to work through this but place ground rules firmly in place, such as refusing to remain near your date if it occurs, or not even going to certain events with them at all until they reform and learn to hold their liquor consumption to normal standards. If, on the other hand, it becomes rapidly clear to you that your date has a real problem and few prospects for change, it might be necessary to end the relationship on its dating grounds, especially if you’re experiencing fear or threats every time. You can still be there as a supportive friend if you feel strong enough, and can even help them to obtain medical or therapeutic assistance. But don’t do anything that endangers your health and long-term emotional stability. People make their own choice to drink and only they can make a change in how they behave around alcohol.
Drunks left in public around strangers, especially female drunks, are vulnerable to attack. In such a situation, do your best to get the drunken person to a safe place to sober up if the two of you were in a pub, nightclub, or similar location. If you’re not able to help, get the barman, doorman, etc., to help put the drunk in a taxi or a room to sober up. The judgment call that you make in this situation is very hard but you do have resources; even calling the police for help is better than leaving a vulnerable drunk to possible rape or beating up.
There is a fine line between helping a drunken person stay out of trouble and getting into trouble yourself if they lash out at you. Use your instincts to guide you.
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