Baggage Claim: Beer and loathing 

My boyfriend and I spend a lot of our time going out with some friends of ours who actually met through us, and we’ve all been dating about the same amount of time. The problem is, over the course of the last couple months, there have been more and more times that the evening is ruined by a lot of tension, or even fights, not with us but between the two of them. Lately, it’s gotten really bad, and the thing that seems to affect it most is alcohol. Once they get a few drinks in them, the bickering starts, really bad. I mean, they’ll just start fighting right there at the table if we go out to dinner! Everyone has a bad night now and then, but it’s gotten to the point that every time we do anything, at least one of them has way too much to drink and starts making a scene. It’s embarrassing, not to mention the fact that it’s a miserable way to spend an evening. I’ve tried talking to the girl in this, since she and I are closer than I am with her boyfriend, but she acts like everything is fine with them. She actually seems confused when I ask if everything is OK. Well, I don’t know if it’s that they’re having problems in their relationship or if they just can’t hold their liquor, but I’m almost to the point where if it doesn’t change, I don’t want to be around them anymore. What should I do?

Sick of Drama

Dear Sick of Drama,

Before you start avoiding their company, try a few things. First, you might want to mention your concern that specifically has to do with their behavior after having a few. This is not to suggest that someone has a drinking problem, although too many episodes of abusive drinking can certainly indicate that. But perhaps they aren’t aware of how regularly they’re over-indulging and how antagonistic it makes them toward each other. Embarrassing conversation to have, yes, but it might do the trick to give them a little reality check and help them reign in the booze a bit. Also, find other things to do that don’t necessarily involve alcohol. Maybe make it a quick dinner and catch a concert, movie or other event that will have you engaged and less likely to just sit and drink. But if they aren’t receptive to any of these suggestions, and if the hostility remains or worsens with or without alcohol, you might want to start distancing yourself. Always be available if your friends need help, but there is no need to spend time with anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable. Hopefully, it won’t come to that.

P.S. Always designate a driver too, please.


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