Falling out with friends after drinking

Never mind who started it, it’s not worth losing a friend you’ve known for a long time. If you’ve had a drunken row with a good mate you’ll probably both feel bad about it. Don’t sit there letting it fester. Read our guide and learn how to avoid falling out with friends after a night on the booze.

A group of young people are walking down a street. They are discussing falling out with friends when drunk. This is a full-body image.

Why do drunken rows with mates happen?

Alcohol is known to lower inhibitions. This can help you feel more sociable, and bring emotions out from the dark depths of your soul. Without your usual standards of self-control, falling out with a mate is more likely to happen, even with close friends – and often over insignificant little things like who ordered the last round. This can be even worse if you’ve previously had a sober row with the same mate. At least this time you can blame it on the alcohol.

Read more about how to handle rows and arguments with mates here.

Put friendships first

No matter how bad things are between you, it’s vital that you swallow your pride and put your friendship first. OK, so you might have said some very bad things the night before. But if you can take responsibility for your behaviour and apologise for any offence caused, it’s hard to stay mad. They can only really respect you for it. If they don’t, they probably weren’t a good friend in the first place.

Don’t delay apologising to your friends

It’s far better to eat humble pie at the earliest opportunity – even if you haven’t had time to work up the appetite. You’ll feel so much better, and they’ll be flattered that you made such an effort. So it’s a win-win. If you delay apologising, your friends might start to wonder why you don’t feel bad and get all sorts of ideas in their heads about what kind of person you are. Take the chance to prove to them that you’re not too proud to say sorry and that you value their friendship in the long term. At least, that way, something positive came of the experience. There are slightly different scenarios with female friendships and male friendships, but the underlying consensus is that someone has to break the ice.  

It doesn’t matter who started it

Well, you could wait for an apology, but what if your mate assumes you were to blame? But you’re probably gonna be waiting a long time. You could even end up never speaking again over a simple misunderstanding. Alcohol can make the facts slightly hazy, which means the only certainty is that you have a friendship to save. Nothing else matters more than that. It’s not really worth losing a friend because you told them you thought that your dog was cuter than theirs (even if you still might think so the morning after).

How to avoid falling out with friends after drinking

The simple answer is to cut down or quit your alcohol intake. If you’re prone to getting pressed when you’re pissed, it could be a sign that you’re relying on booze to escape from difficult feelings. If it’s your mate who’s always picking fights, however, you might need to chat to them about the issue. But only when they’re sober – and less likely to react badly. If you need help figuring out their perspective, click here. 

You can’t force them to review their relationship with alcohol. Nevertheless, you have every right to flag up how their bad behaviour is affecting your friendship. Looking out for each other is what a true friend would do. They may not change overnight, but it will give them food for thought. If you feel trouble brewing over your next quiet pint, be the first to steer the conversation onto safer ground. Harry Potter may well be faster on a broomstick than the wicked witch of the west, but it’s not worth taking the debate out onto the streets. Just walk away!

Next Steps

By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 10-Oct-2021