Dealing with Drunks: A Guide for Nightlife Natives

Part 1
By Gamal Hennessy

Drinking is good. Getting drunk is not good, especially the next day. Dealing with a drunk isn’t much fun either. Unfortunately, encountering a drunk can happen in any type of venue, no matter how high class or hipster. This doesn’t mean that your night has to be ruined. As a nightlife native there are a few things you can do to contend with any drunk that crosses your path or stumbles into your table.

The first tip for any nightlife native is responsible indulgence. The whole point of nightlife is going out for pleasure. But if you drink so much that you don’t remember what happened the night before your pleasure is severely curtailed and you can’t take care of a drunk. In fact, you become the drunk that someone else has to handle. Also, if you drink so much that you are unaware of your surroundings, you won’t be able to handle a drunk because you are too busy sorting yourself out. So the goal here is to drink, but not get drunk.

The second tip is choosing the right approach for the particular drunk that you encounter. People often identify several different types of drunks with labels that remind you of the Seven Dwarves. There are sleepy, happy, angry, flirty, loud, friendly and weepy drunks. These tips don’t deal with all that nonsense. Your objective is to have fun, not try to understand the drunks underlying emotional issues. Let Dr. Drew handle all that stuff. For our purposes, there are only two types of drunks; strangers and friends.

No matter what type of drunk you are dealing with, you have to be able to recognize them first.
The editors at Wikihow offer the following signs that a person has had too much to drink:

● slurred speech
● inability to stand or sit up straight
● a strong desire to lie down or roll over
● stumbling or a questionable walking technique
● unusual, loud, or embarrassing behavior
● violent reactions
● bloodshot eyes
● feeling extreme temperature differences

Keep in mind that a display of any single behavior does not indicate drunkenness. I have friends who do some of these things while they’re sober. Also, this is not an invitation to play watchdog and stick your nose in everyone’s party. Just know that a combination of these or other behaviors in your general vicinity is a clue that you might have to use your anti-drunk skills.

Strangers: When drunken strangers rain on your parade, you’re probably not interested in taking care of them any more than you have to. While you might decide to get involved in extreme cases, your main goal is normally to remove them from your space and continue your fun.

This is more complicated than it sounds, since it is difficult to have a logical conversation with a drunk. It is usually counterproductive to argue with or try to bully someone who thinks they are stronger, faster and smarter than they really are.

There are two keys to distancing yourself from a strange drunk. First, isolate them. This could mean moving out of their general area, misleading them into leaving your space, or enlisting the drunk’s friends to collect their associate and move him for you. The second key is to notify an operator in the venue that the drunk is wandering through the venue since isolation is only a temporary solution. Any drunk who leaves could easily come back.

If you are the type of person who doesn’t like to get other people into trouble by calling the bouncer, keep in mind that you are helping and not hurting the drunk in this situation. Operators often have more training and experience in dealing with drunks than you do including TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS)  and Nightlife Best Practices. It is actually their job, not yours, to deal with drunks in the club. Finally, if the drunk could potentially endanger themselves or someone else, then you could be preventing a problem before it happens.

Again, this is not a suggestion that you blow up the spot of every dude who looks at you sideways. It is a concept to help you go back to your carousing with as little hassle as possible.

In part two of our drunken guide, we will tackle the delicate situation of dealing with one of your friends when they get drunk in public.

Have fun.