From the moment we are born, we are brought into a world where we are genetically and biologically social beings. And most of us experience similar milestones in life today. Entering a family where we live, eat, and sleep in the same house with certain people whether we like it or not.
Starting an education because our parents can’t teach us everything we know, so we must be in a room full of other people our age and rely on strangers we call “school teachers” to show what it means to be a useful society.
Puberty… Need I say more?
Suddenly, we are teenagers who have lived past a decade, have hair in some weird areas other than our head, and yeah… want to kiss people (or more).
I may be writing off-topic, but there’s a reason I brought these up. And it’s because, at this time of our lives, we engage in social gatherings. Study groups, house parties, etc., around this time, we try to meet people outside of school in a more relaxed environment.
And yet… It is the exact opposite.
Social Gatherings are Intimidating
I’ve witnessed more people nervous about a party more than their GPA scores from my experience. Whether in books, film, or other media, we have been programmed to believe that going to a party is so important that it will change the social experiences you will have for the rest of your life.
And since that is the terrifying idea to be implanted in anyone’s mind, liquor is introduced to help ease the tension.
Stages of Drunk Self
First, you get to experience what becoming tipsy is like. It is the first sign that whatever you may be drinking is working. You become more talkative, even self-confident. Though your reaction time has slowed down, you have fewer inhibitions, making you take more risks. This is your state of Euphoria.
With a few more drinks, you will enter a state of Excitement. It is risky because some people become emotional, lose coordination, have trouble making judgment calls, and in the end, feel tired or drowsy.
You’d think it’d stop there, but no… if you drink more… it gets worse.
At this point, it can get messy. Imagine at this party you may have emotional outbursts, can barely walk or stand, are in an utter state of confusion, and may even blackout. Now, this is dangerous because blacking out doesn’t mean you’d be asleep, but you could be in and out of consciousness.
You will no longer be aware of yourself, your surroundings, or others around you at this stage. You won’t be able to stand or walk, which means a lot of carrying will be involved, and so you’re practically dead weight.
Sober vs. Drunk Self
The next day you wake up, head hurting and feeling like you’re about to throw up. Which you probably should, to get all that booze out of your system? We call this a hangover. Since your body is so dehydrated, you will feel nauseous, dizzy, and exhausted. Some people sleep the day away; others eat really greasy food to get over the hangover. It might take a day or two, depending on how much you drank and how long you take to recover.
So, you must think, this is terrible; why would anyone want to drink alcohol if it gets them practically sick?
Well, for scenarios where we enter social gatherings… our society has coined the term “The Need for Liquid Courage.”
What Could Go Right
If you know yourself well enough and believe the alcohol helps you loosen up, you would probably think getting tipsy or drunk is a good thing. And if you know your limits, you would not drink more than what’s needed to get drunk and not end up in a stupor. So, you’d be a version of yourself that seems fun, excited, and able to handle the social situation.
What Could Go Terribly Wrong
If you don’t know your limits, you may end up creating more damage to your social life or put yourself in danger. If you’re an emotional drunk, you might get embarrassed being told the next day that you were crying or angry about Alex not calling you back. Or you might blackout and be taken advantage of by that creep, Mark. Either way, unless you’re among close friends and family, getting into a stupor might not be the best idea in a public social situation.
How to Make Social Gatherings Less Nerve-Wracking
I would say I am more fun sober because when I drink alcohol, all I end up becoming is sleepy. I like socializing, so I don’t really need liquid courage. But for those who are shy, awkward, and feel intimidated by the crowd, I’d suggest having a buddy system. Always try to have a friend or partner with you when you go to these events. They can help introduce you to people, keep you company, or simply take care of you when you’re too drunk.
I also suggest learning to converse with strangers by asking them questions that you’d consider answering yourself. Start basic, once you observe more detailed answers, then get into more specific topics. The trick is to become comfortable getting to know others, then if they make you feel comfortable to open up, go ahead and do so.
My last tip would be, remember that everyone else there is probably just as nervous as you are. Everyone came to a social situation they’re unfamiliar or tense about, and if they seem totally at ease, they’re probably faking it or are natural lives of the party. And if the latter is the case, then let them be the life of the party. Just enjoy yourself, be yourself, and always stay safe.
Alcohol has its time and place, as long as it’s in moderation.