When it comes to drinking there are two kinds of people: those who are familiar with alcohol – they know their limits, drink responsibly and know how to have a good time – and those who have to be carried home by annoyed friends who can’t go to bed because they’re cleaning up your vomit.
Which would you rather be?
Here’s a handy guide on how to drink without being an idiot about it:
Don’t try to impress people
“Down it! Down it!”
“Chug, chug, chug!”
Here’s an idea: if the instructions need to be chanted… don’t follow them. Any “respect” you earn from binging will quickly evaporate when you become that friend who can’t stand upright, has to be babysat and gets everyone kicked out.
Learn your limits
Different drinks affect different people in different ways. Maybe 3 pints of cider just makes you feel merry, but 3 glasses of wine knocks you out. The only way to learn how drinks affect you is to try them and see: but do so slowly, carefully, and without mixing (choose one drink that night and stick to it; mixing different kinds of drinks is a recipe for being sick).
Know when to put on the brakes
When you really start feeling the drink affecting you, that’s the time to take a breather: make your next drink something non-alcoholic; have a bite to eat; get some air. Allow your body time to recharge.
Avoid rounds: they encourage everyone in the group to drink the same amount and at the same speed as the fastest drinker. This is another express train to vomit city.
Don’t be afraid to say no
Sometimes you don’t feel like drinking. Some people never feel like it. Don’t fall into the mistaken belief that you have to drink to have a good time.
Be mindful of what you say to others. Ask “would you like a drink?” not “what are you drinking?”
If you don’t feel comfortable announcing that you’re not drinking right now, just buy a single bottle and use it as a prop. Or pour a soft drink into a glass and people won’t even know.
Eat food. Drink water.
These are basic things everyone has to do in order to live, so you’d think this would be obvious. But it’s amazing how many people drink on an empty stomach, forget to eat when out/getting home, and neglect non-alcoholic drinks.
A hangover is your body screaming “I need water!” The more you stay hydrated the night before, the less chance of a hangover in the morning.
Listen to your common sense
A lot of things seem like brilliant ideas when you’re drunk. That’s because you’re not thinking about the consequences. Getting a tattoo… stealing or breaking something… having unprotected sex… would you still think this was a good idea if you were sober? Listen hard enough and that voice of reason is still there in the back of your mind. Don’t do something you’ll regret and might not even remember.
Don’t assume someone will always be there to rescue you
“I don’t need to worry about how much I drink because I know my friends will look after me.”
This is not a clever attitude. Losing control can be dangerous and there’s no guarantee your friends will always be there to intervene, especially if they’re drunk too. And, as we’ve established, babysitting a drunk friend isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time; just because a friend will look after you if you drink too much, doesn’t mean they want to.
You really don’t want to end up wandering the streets at night, so drunk you don’t even know what you’re doing. While Cardiff does have street pastors and kind strangers who can help you out, there are also dangerous people looking to take advantage of people in that state. Make sure you have a plan in case you find yourself separated or in an unsafe situation: some credit on your phone and money for a taxi home.
Know when to call it a night
Just because Metros gives out toast at 5am doesn’t mean you have to stay for it. Be mindful of how you feel: are you getting tired? Are you hungry? Have you spent all your money? Are you still enjoying yourself? Head home when the time feels right for you. You’ll probably find others were thinking about leaving too, and just didn’t want to be the first one to say.
A lot of these tips can be boiled down to: “be aware of how you are feeling”. Make this your golden rule on a night out and make your night enjoyable and memorable for the right reasons.