Manners Matter: Friends Drink Too Much

Dear Mary Pat,

My girlfriend and I have a group of people with whom we socialize on weekends. We don’t have all that much in common with them but they were fun to kick back and drink beer with…in the beginning. The problem is that now most of them drink to excess and within a couple hours of being around them – or worse: upon arriving to hang out with them – they are drunk, rambunctious and incoherent. I try to talk with them and they will either talk over me, get into shouting matches with each other, or walk off mid-conversation to crank up the music or switch the station mid-song. It’s exhausting to be around them but my girlfriend thinks it’s rude to back away from these semi-friendships because these people expect to see us every weekend. Honestly, I’d rather spend a quiet night at home reading a book or watching TV than go into battle trying to speak and connect with people who aren’t interested. My girlfriend won’t budge, and she’s not okay with me staying home while she goes to hang out with them. What’s a fella to do?


Not a Party Animal

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

Dear Not a Party Animal,

I can’t say I blame you. Who wants to be around people who shout and talk over you and slur their words? That doesn’t sound like a great way to spend your time. So my question for you is why does your girlfriend want to spend time with them? Is it just because she doesn’t know how to gracefully distance herself from these people or does she somehow think that this is enjoyable? If it’s the latter, you might want to also take a look at what you and your girlfriend have in common. If she “won’t budge” and isn’t willing to compromise (three weekends on your own, one weekend with the boozers for example) then maybe your issue is a little closer to home.

If you leave your girlfriend out of it for a minute and just consider your weekend group of friends…what would happen if you did just walk away? What would you really be losing? It doesn’t sound like you have a genuine friendship. No need for any grand speeches or lectures; maybe just fade out of their lives. You can remain friendly and maybe even see them every once in a great while, but you won’t be having to put up with their toxic nonsense every weekend. Weekends go by too quickly as it is. It’s better to spend them with people who you value and who value you in return.

Good luck,

Mary Pat

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