How to Handle Intoxicated Guests

Let’s face it - it’s sometimes a challenge to deal with a drunk friend or family member; though, it’s sometimes necessary when someone insists they are ok to drive, a fight breaks out, or a group of people are doing something unsafe at your party. Do your best to deal with each situation without putting yourself at risk.

  • Stay calm.
  • Don’t argue with the intoxicated guest.
  • Don’t embarrass the guest, especially in front of other people.
  • Invite the problem guest to an area away from other guests, where you can talk.
  • Deal with the situation in a calm, friendly way. Speak to the person directly, and firmly explain that what they are doing is unacceptable at your party.
  • Listen and empathize with your guest.  Acknowledge your guests anger or frustration, but also remind them that it is your house, and you are responsible for their safety and don’t want to see them get hurt.
  • Point out that if they were sober they would agree that what they are doing is a bad idea.
  • If you cannot calm the guest down or convince them to stop what they are doing, ask a friend of theirs to try.
  • If you decide to ask this person to leave, remember that you are still responsible for their safety (call a cab, get someone to drive them home, or if the situation gets out of control – call the police).

How to stop an impaired person from driving:

  • If the person will give you their car keys, take them and store them away.
  • To get their keys, try:

    • To be calm, joke about it
    • Ask a good friend of theirs to get the keys from them
    • Find the keys while they are distracted and hide them - they’ll probably think they’ve lost them and will be forced to get a ride with someone else or spend the night
  • Speak to him/her privately and suggest someone else should drive (they will be less likely to be defensive when there is no audience).
  • Politely, but firmly, tell them they cannot drive because you care about them.
  • If someone has had a few drinks and insists they are not drunk, rationalize that they are buzzed and shouldn’t be driving (You don’t have to be completely blitzed to have impaired judgement and driving skills).
  • Tell the guest that even the first drink starts to impair your reasoning, judgement and memory.  “You could hurt or kill someone else if you drive.”
  • Make it clear you are doing them a favour – this will be appreciated in the morning.
  • Encourage the person to spend the night.
  • Call them a cab; you may want to pay the fare in advance.
  • Drive them home in their vehicle and call yourself a cab to get back home.
  • Stick to your guns, don’t allow anyone to drive after drinking.
  • If an impaired person drives call 9-1-1.

The first time you try these strategies will be the hardest, but remember that your actions could save your friend’s life or the life of an innocent person.

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Revised: Thursday March 28 2019

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