What to do when drinking games are played?

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You hear that a drinking game is being organized

Drinking game

Let’s say you hear about a drinking contest some people are organizing somewhere on campus or in someone’s home. Some drinking games are even played online with people from other countries. You might be invited to participate, as either a drinker or a spectator. We know it’s hard to say no. You don’t want to look like a coward or a wimp or someone who’s “above” the others.

This is when you remind yourself that binge drinkers are really a very small minority. They make a lot of noise – but they don’t represent a significant percentage of people.

Whatever the type of drinking event, remember that binge drinkers need an audience. This is a group activity and the fewer the people around, the less likely it is to happen

Rule number one is never to stand alone against the binge drinkers. Don’t isolate yourself: get together with people who think like you do. You and your friends can then let the binge drinkers know that you’re not interested in their stupid games and you have better things to do. The goal is try to get them NOT to play the game. You can express your disapproval in various ways, but whatever you do, don’t sit around and watch: that’s exactly what the binge drinkers want you to do!

You find yourself at an impromptu drinking game

You’re hanging out with some friends, and suddenly someone suggests a drinking game. Or you’re in a bar and you realize that a contest is being organized, even though it was not publicized.

Once again, don’t do this alone. Get together with others who are against the activity and voice your disapproval. Let the organizers know that you’ll all leave the party if they proceed with the drinking game. Be strong and assertive!

You’ll probably be surprised to see the kind of influence you have. But even if people start laughing and making fun of you, don’t let them intimidate you. Express your disagreement; if they decide to go ahead, make good on your threat to leave – but don’t sneak out quietly. Make sure people know you’re leaving and why.

Finally, if something bad does happen, DO NOT feel guilty about it. You did what you could and if the others behaved irresponsibly, it is not your fault. Those who participated have to be accountable for their actions.

If you are in a licensed establishment (a bar, tavern, brasserie, restaurant, etc.), DO NOT confront a customer or a server, either alone or with a group of friends. Leave the premises, call the police (911) and let them know that a drinking contest is taking place or being organized.

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