We’ve seen this before, the drunk guest who threatens to wreck everyone’s night. Learning how to deal with drunk people is something we all learn on the go, when faced with these situations. They’re never easy to deal with, right?
As the host, I’ve been in many situations where I had to deal with drunk guests. From house parties to work parties, it’s something I’ve always kept in mind as an eventuality. It’s embarrassing enough if it’s people you know who are out of hand; it’s even worse if it’s your boss or friend. You pray you can intervene in time before things escalate into anything worse.
Knowing how to deal with drunk people effectively is a useful skill to have and I have some tips to share with you. But before we get to them, there are some prevention measures you can have in place at your party to limit guests getting too tipsy.
Getting Drunk Prevention Tips
1. Provide food at your party
Make sure you’ve got plenty of appetisers, such as meat and cheese platters, laid out on your party table. People are going to feel hungry before and during the course of your party so it’s good to have some nibbles available. I prefer to use platters for snacks over bowls of nuts and crisps because these give guests something more substantial to eat.
I also like to provide cooked food, like a simple stew or pizza, in case I get really hungry guests. If people are coming straight from work, I’ll definitely lay on some grub, as they probably won’t have had time to grab any dinner on the way over.
2. Serve non-alcoholic drinks too
Yes, you can have alcoholic drinks as well, but I like serving up a variety of drinks. Not everyone will be in the mood for alcohol and not everyone drinks alcohol either. I like to make up pitchers of homemade lemonade and have bottled water on my party tables. I keep the kettle out in the kitchen along with tea bags and coffee in case guests fancy a hot drink.
3. If you’re gonna have alcohol…
Try and limit what you serve. When all the beer/wine provided is gone, don’t go on a special run for your guests, tell them that’s it. I once went to a party where all the alcohol was finished by midnight; but the party carried until 3am regardless. The point of a party is to socialise. If people can have a good time with minimal drinks, that’s a good party.
How To Deal With Drunk People: Tips
In my experience, I think there are 3 levels of escalating response, when dealing with drunk guests.
1. Spot the warning signs
More than likely, a guest under the influence may at first deny they’re drunk when confronted. They might say, “I’m not drunk” and slur their speech, or fail to walk in a straight line but pretend it was a concentration lapse.
Bumping into walls or other guests? That’s a sign. Mumbling to themselves or getting emotionally upset about something in their life? Another red flag. Trying to pick fights with guests or rummaging through your home for no reason? No more excuses, it’s time to take action.
You can also learn how to deal with drunk people by simply paying attention to the mood of your guests as they arrive. If you’ve got an inkling that someone might act up later, keep it to yourself and monitor them as they go.
If other guests complain to you about someone acting up, make sure you listen. Your role as host is to protect everyone else as well and ensure their night is not disrupted too much.
2. Helping the guest sober up
Try and get the guest to switch over to drinking water immediately. Make sure you’ve got plenty of water already out so it’s easy for you to fill up a glass. Drinking water helps keep the alcohol down; you don’t want them to suddenly vomit everywhere. Persuade the guest to come and sit down with you in a separate space away for the crowd.
If you feel the guest is becoming a bit rowdy or a bit of handful, don’t be afraid to ask a mutual friend for help. If the guest has brought friends with them, let those people know what’s happening.
Try and be compassionate when dealing with the drunken guest. You want to help them feel better about their situation, not make them feel bad about themselves.
You want to try and sober up the guest as much as possible, before persuading them to go home. This way, you ensure the guest doesn’t hurt themselves or cause trouble on the way home. Get them something to eat and seat them away from everyone as they eat. Keep an eye on them while they recover.
You also want to start dropping hints, that it’s time for the guest to hit the road. Say something nice like, “It’s been a long night, let’s try to get you home.” You might get knockback at first; drunk people don’t like being told what to do.
If you’re facing heavy resistance, then the next step is to get firm with the guest with something like, “Okay, you’ve have a lot to drink tonight and I think it’s time you went home.” Learning how to deal with drunk people effectively means you need to be firm and assertive sometimes. Remind yourself that you’re just being the responsible host who wants to ensure the guest gets home safely.
Make sure you don’t wander away from the guest at any time. If you need to deal with another issue or make a call for taxi, make sure a friend has taken your place. Try to prevent the guest from wandering around the house.
3. Helping the guest get home
Under no circumstances should a drunk guest get behind the wheel! It doesn’t matter if the guest is trying to convince you they’re sober enough to drive – absolutely refuse them. Take their car keys. The last thing you want is to be responsible for your guest’s drinking after they leave your party, let alone any road accidents that might occur.
Get them safely home by arranging a taxi from a reputable service. Remember, your guest will be vulnerable, so you want to make sure they’re driving off with the right people (and with a cabbie whose dealt with drunks before). Never, ever let any of your friends drive the guest home either; if anything bad happened to them on the drive, you don’t want to live with the guilt of it.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling generous, you could also let the guest sleep things off on a couch at your place.
Learning how to deal with drunk people can give you the confidence you need, whenever you find yourself in these uncomfortable moments. Knowing you’re there to take care of everyone, drunk and sober, is something your guests will thank you for. Everyone will feel great about you having their back during these times.