03 Oct Party Advice from Peers
From a young adult woman:
I never partied in high school. It wasn’t my thing. But after graduation I felt I missed out, so to fill that void I seemed to go out more. Things I learned:
- Almost everybody is drinking. So much of what is said, done, or promised is usually not valid. Just keep that in mind.
- It’s not about popularity.
- It’s a good time with friends, but have a plan. Where you are staying, how you are getting home. I only took $20, that way I wouldn’t lose any amount of money and I wouldn’t over do it.
- I never did drugs and was extremely grateful I didn’t. It’s a moment of peer pressure and the after effects are with YOU and only you for life. Same with cigarettes.
- Wear comfy clothes.
My only experience with potentially dangerous parties consists in two grade 12 parties: graduation party and prom party. At both of these there was some parent supervision, but there was still marijuana and sex. So they were probably ‘mildly’ dangerous parties. To be able to go and be with my friends while not exposing myself to too much danger, the following were useful.
- Plan when you will leave. Arrange a ride before. Do not sleep over. Leave before the party gets too wild. Stick to the arranged time, even if you feel like you’re having a good time. You don’t want to be there when things get wild.
- Plan how many drinks you will have. Better to bring your own, that way when you’re done your drinks, you are done.
- Have some good friends at the party. Try to stick with them.
- Stay where things are ‘safe’. In the summer, around the fire is a great atmosphere.
From a young man:
I’ll admit that I never was huge in the party scene. I typically had other things that I found more enjoyable.
That being said, I think something that can be helpful is going with a friend to a party. Ideally, this friend has similar values so that if you don’t feel like drinking at a party (or any other activities that are taking place), you have someone else to support you, or join you in that decision. Also, having an agreement with that friend that you will not leave each other at the party alone at the end of the night, or let them wander off with other people, can help you protect each other (particularly important for young women). While it could be a bit of a challenge to help your friend think clearly after a few drinks, if you had a conversation before going to the party and clearly established some boundaries while you were thinking clearly, it can be helpful.
From a young man:
- Keep close to friends.
- Only go to parties where your close friends will be there too. BUT if you have no friends at this party, the usually “tame” areas are the kitchen and the dining room. [addendum]: I would actually totally avoid parties where your friends won’t be. But sometimes plans change last minute.
- Pour your own drinks. ALWAYS.
- If you don’t feel like drinking, but want to look cool, just walk around with a drink container in your hand anyways. Can be a cup or a bottle of beer. For an even better effect, fill your cup or empty bottle of beer with soft drinks or water. Ginger ale looks like beer, and 7up, water, Cola, or root beer look like you may have a mixed drink. The aim is not to drink yourself to sickness, but to socialize.
- If you drink, find a designated driver who will drive you home at about the same time that you’ll want to go home – a lot of times they either want to leave much earlier or much later than you do. Or bring extra cash to call a cab.
- If YOU offer to be the designated driver, make sure you are well-rested, because driving your friends home can take many hours.
- Always pour your own drinks – very crucial
From a college guy:
- Never get black out drunk.
- Don’t have sex.
- Always have a buddy system thing and try to travel in packs.
- Start hanging out with the niche of people that suit you. Then go to work your way up to bigger parties that include them and their friends if you want.
- Have a way home.
- Be friendly but never put out.
From a young professional man:
I’ve seen a lot of girls used at parties. Some guys are like predators and know a girl with a few drinks is easy target. Her inhibitions are gone and she craves attention and affection. So many girls are used and the guys know they can take advantage because nobody will believe a girl who has been drinking. I avoid these kind of parties and encourage girls to stay sober and keep their standards for their own protection and well being.
From a young man who graduated with an MBA:
- Understand who will be or not be at the party. Will this affect your decision making or actions?
- Always have a pre-planned way home. Often have an option A and an option B, that way you won’t get “stuck” nor have to make a poor choice in getting a drive with someone who has been drinking alcohol or doing drugs.
- If your somewhere a long way from home i.e. a road trip – do you have a pre-planned place to sleep the night? Hotel, friend’s house, etc?
- Is there a possibility of drugs to be at the party? How does this affect your comfort level…i.e. how does peer pressure affect you? Refer back to who will be there.
- How publicized is the party? In a good or bad way? Is there potential to get in trouble with the law?
- Do you understand your own tolerance for alcohol? How will you manage this tolerance during the night?
- Will you be going with a “buddy” to the party? Will you both be looking out for each other and understanding where the other one is going, if they choose to leave the party separate; or will you choose never to leave without the other buddy?
- If you’re going partying to a bar, how much of a budget $$$ do you have? Will this budget ensure an enjoyable night? Will you have an emergency fund to pay for a taxi home, food, etc.
- Do you have a sober, trusted emergency contact in the event you get in trouble? In case you are arrested, hospital trip, in danger, etc.?
- You can alternate between one alcoholic beverage and one non-alcoholic beverage through the night.
- You can choose to be a designated driver if you want.
- Never leave your beverage unattended. Very easy to have a drink laced with drugs and lead to date rape.
- Think about your actions at the party. With social media today, could a negative picture impact your school, job, sports team, or relationship with somebody now or in the future?
From a young professional woman:
Partying tips for Clubbing (I’ve lived in Toronto and Montreal and used to go clubbing/dancing frequently.)
- You don’t need to drink when you go out dancing, most of your friends won’t even be surprised if you only get water, and actually, they won’t even notice. I find getting one or two drinks makes the night less expensive and you can still enjoy the rest of the evening dancing and have a great time.
- You can dress modestly and still be super attractive. My experience has been that girls who wear little clothing attract men who care little about values. If you want a gentleman, dress classy. Actually, and if you look like you’re just having fun, you’ll be very attractive and have lots of people interested in getting to know you.
- It’s OK to say no to a kiss. If things seem to be going well and he leans in, it’s totally OK to offer your cheek. My experience is that guys get it when you explain to them that you don’t want to kiss someone you just met, they won’t even walk away; if they’re sober they’ll probably ask you on a date, if they’re not, it’s probably just as well.
- If a guy touches you inappropriately when you are dancing, this is definitely not OK. Just because everyone is having a good time, there is no reason a man should touch you without your permission. Tell them to stop, and if you’re really bothered, tell the bouncer. My experience is that some girls just say yes because they don’t know how to say no, or because they think that it’s OK in the context. It’s never OK, have your girlfriends looking out for you too to get rid of the gropers, and your friends can also speak on your behalf.
- Dancing is great and can be a celebration of life, but it doesn’t need to be sensual. Actually, just have fun. If a guy wants to “grind” with you, you can say no and just dance with him in another way. I find few guys know how to dance, but many are willing to learn, and most are just happy to spend time with you. Salsa and swing clubs are great for those who really just want to dance and want to avoid the pick-up scene.
- You don’t need to get drunk to have fun. Actually, I’ve seen many drunk girls have less fun. Be careful about taking shots, especially if they’re being offered to you by mostly well-intentioned acquaintances. Once you feel a bit tipsy, that’s usually a sign to stop drinking. If you don’t know if you’ve reached your limit, take a breather and just say no. Sometimes you can’t tell you’ve reached your limit before it’s too late, a friend of mine was sick for a whole weekend for this reason. Decide on a limit before you start drinking and keep count of how much you have drunk. I’ve seen a few drunk girls get left behind, and nobody likes to babysit anyone who can’t stand up–it’s not funny. There’s nothing more unattractive than seeing someone puking, and the fee for puking in a cab is currently $85. It’s really easy to be taken advantage of, so stand your ground and don’t drink past your limit.
- Don’t leave your faith at the door, clubbing can be great fun and doesn’t need to hurt your relationship with God! A good choice of a club and a good choice of friends is the guarantee for a great night out!
From a first year university girl:
Here are my top 5 tips for college parties:
- Always, ALWAYS know how you’re getting home. Have the number of a cab company handy as well, just in case it’s a bit late to take public transit.
- Don’t arrive with an empty stomach, because if you plan on having a drink you’ll want something in your stomach.
- If you’re going to drink, (you don’t have to!) have a drink or two, not a drink or twelve. I think it is perfectly fine to enjoy a drink with friends, with the key being moderation. Just because the dude in the corner is binge-drinking doesn’t mean you have to cheer him on for it. Seriously, that’s not classy.
- Never feel obligated to accept drinks from others, even if someone else has paid for them.
- Most importantly, know what type of party you’re attending. You’ll have a good idea of this by checking how many people are attending (if the event was on Facebook) as well as who you were invited by or the people associated with that person. If you walk in and something doesn’t sit right, leave.
- ALSO: “If you wouldn’t say it in front of your Mom, keep your mouth shut.” We’ve all seen those people who, once they have a drink, get really inappropriate in their conversation matter (which makes it awkward for everyone). Don’t be one of these people.
From a university gal:
These are more geared to those in university rather than high school.
- Always go to a party with at least one good friend that you can trust. If either of you drinks too much, then you can help one another out.
- Always watch your drink. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Do not leave the party alone with anyone you do not know well, even if it’s to go to McDonald’s or what not.
- Have at least two taxi company numbers in your phone. I say “two” because sometimes one company will be too busy to respond to your calls.
- On a related note, bring enough money to take a cab home.
From a young female professional:
I did not attend parties in high school and in university I went out a lot in my first two years before realizing that I would rather dance without drinking or have a few drinks at home while playing board games.
- Know that not everyone drinks or is promiscuous and that is a valid choice. I sometimes came up with crazy, elaborate back stories as excuses for why I couldn’t drink when I didn’t want to.
If you do choose to drink when you go out, space your drinks, do not pre-drink. Do not drink or drink less if you haven’t slept a lot, eaten a lot or are sick or just off in some way.
- Always have friends who know you and can watch your reactions. This will help if you do drink too much, or worse. (My roommates and I once went to a party and think that we might have been slipped something. We were all offered shots as soon as we entered and then each had a cup of beer. After I started to slur my words, my roommates decided that this was unusual for me and then realized they felt like their reactions were slower too. We locked ourselves in the bathroom, washed our faces and then planned to head out. I don’t know why we didn’t think to report that until much later but I wish we had immediately as it was a very scary experience. When we came home, my one roommate lay on her bed saying she felt like she couldn’t move!)
- For the same reason above, never accept drinks from others especially people you don’t know. And apparently there are cases of bartenders slipping things in drinks now too.
- Even if you have to be the unpopular person who takes away the keys or does not let someone who is drunk drive, it is totally worth it. I constantly used to get into arguments with friends and cousins and now choose not to go out with those people or offer to be designated driver if it is unavoidable. Always have a plan for getting home and an escape plan or excuse if you choose to leave early.
- If you are out dancing and someone touches you or grabs you to dance, turn around and say “NO” really loudly. This used to throw them off and they would back away.
- DRINK LOTS OF WATER while out and at least a glass or two when you come home before going to sleep.
University age young man:
A big thing I found was go to parties with the right people. If you have a few close friends with good values, go with them and you can rely on each other to make good decisions and still have fun. At the end of the night, you all know you will be going home together. It takes a lot of pressure off when faced with certain negative peer pressures.
- Decide what you are comfortable with, BEFORE you get to the party. If you don’t think about if you are going to drink or how much, it is much easier to be negatively influenced in the moment.
- Go with someone you know has your back and will watch out for you. And if that changes while you are there and you no longer feel safe or supported, it’s okay to leave.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Many negative situations at parties can be averted by a simple distraction. Do you notice someone else being pressured to do something and looking uncomfortable? Go interrupt by asking them to help you with something or inviting them to do something. It may give them an out they are searching for.
- Be honest about where you are going. Build trust with your parents, and reach out to them when you need help. They love you, and if something bad does happen, they want to be there for you, to help you, and to keep you safe.
- Have a designated driver if you are going to be drinking, and a back up plan you are comfortable with.
- Talk to someone older, ask them how they dealt with similar situations.
- Set boundaries for yourself, and let them be known as required. Not just with regards to substances, actions too. If someone is interacting with you in a way that makes you uneasy, explain your boundaries.
- Above all, know your values, think about why they are important to you, and stick to them
Young Professional Woman:
- Go with a friend who shares similar values and can hold you accountable to stay on track.
- Set a time to leave so that you can go and have some social fun but not stay into the time that the crazy things start to really happen.
- Have a code word with your parents that means “come and get me now“ so that you can feel safe to leave without worrying about someone overhearing and making it a big deal for you.
- Get involved in other activities so that there are lots of other social things to do and parties do not become the main hang out.
Ask who will be at the party. Parties with a good group of trustworthy friends, a team or school club are more fun anyway since you can share stories afterwards. But if there is going to be a bunch of random strangers, there is pressure to do things inconsistent with your identity, to be unexpectedly surprised and not know how to react when there is a fight in the back yard, people having sex upstairs, some stranger passed out in the bathroom. We cannot confront strangers as effectively as people we know. If we know someone, then they know we care about them, and will let us help them. Strangers can just blow us off.
What is drawing us into the party? Are we bored or lonely. If we want to get closer with our friends maybe we should go camping with them, spend 1-1 time working out or cooking dinner. If we want to meet new people why don’t we go out for dinner. If everyone is at someone’s house and bored then alcohol and sex and attention grabbing behavior are appealing. We can include a purpose, make something, bake something, fix something.
We can harness the natural desire to spend time together and create something we can look back on and say ‘I did that’. Build a skateboard ramp, back yard ice rink, make a music video, 3D print something, hike a mountain, sleep outside in the forest. If we have a project then we don’t want to spend our precious time at parties with strangers who pressure us to take on an identity we feel guilty about the next morning.
We can be the inviter. We can host our friends and have awesome game nights. Now-a-days there are apps for classic parlour games like charades, celebrity. If someone is bored then we can challenge them with ice breakers, or something that will make them stage-fright like improv, impromptu speeches, making silly home videos with funny accents, rapping, embarrassing stories. This is all wholesome fun with no pressure to impress anyone. We can ask our parents to be home, but give us our space, so that the people we invite over don’t get out of control.
Having fun isn’t evil, but it certainly can be dangerous and if you’re a teenager with some reservations towards partying there is one particular subject you need to think about: drugs and alcohol. Both of these substances alter your state of mind. When you consume drugs or alcohol your judgment is impaired and while you might find yourself suddenly inspired with loads of courage, you are neither yourself or the person others need you to be. I believe that courage can be found through less damaging methods. The easiest method is as always the most dangerous, but the hardest method is as always the most fulfilling. It’s hard to answer the tough questions about who your are, who you want to be, or who you are meant to be, especially when all you might want to do is go out and party. But at least ask yourself this one simple question, why do I need drugs or alcohol to have fun? Most people need drugs or alcohol to have fun because having fun is all about themselves and their enjoyment. I can say that drugs and alcohol only leave you feeling empty and alone, literally. When you are at a party, be there for your friends; don’t be there for yourself. When you are at a party, be in control of yourself, don’t let others control you. Being good isn’t all about suffering and not having fun. You might be good, but you can never do good, if you aren’t there for your friends. The party scene now more than ever needs people (especially guys) who know what’s good for their self and others, and are happy being good to them self and others. It’s nice not to know or care about what’s good, but you’ll never be happy until you do. Of course you can never know everything, or be prepared for every moment, I’m a guy with faith and know that in those moments I can ask my guardian angel for help.
From a young professional single man:
A lot don’t look at the end result. I have had conversations with friends of mine who have drug problems. I asked them, “So you are still partying (as in doing cocaine)?” They say yes, then I ask them why? They respond, “Well I don’t do it that often.” I then say, “So whenever it is offered to you? They basically say yes. So I then ask them when do they plan on saying no. They look confused. Then I ask them, “Well you’re 30 yrs old now. Do you plan on stopping when your 31, 32, or 33? Or are you going to continue until 40? If you ever have children, are you going to continue the abuse? They look at me confused. I then ask them when are they going to make their finish line? Today? Tomorrow? Or never? Because it’s up to them when they want to end that lifestyle. No one else. I think the key is to establish confidence before being in those situations. Instead of going to a party alone, go with a group of friends your comfortable with. Establish your friendships at sober events, like playing sports. I think a lot of people turn to drug and alcohol abuse because they have nothing to do. Or nothing to wake up to the next morning.