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Designated Party Pooper?

There’s something that’s been bothering me, something I’m worried I may have done wrong. The “victim” assures me that it’s ok, but I still wonder if I violated etiquette.

It was my BF’s birthday, and I wanted him to have fun. I gave him permission to be free to get really drunk if he wanted to, and I would take care of him.

His birthday celebration was a smash hit. Everyone had a great time, and I was lavished with praise by him the entire night for being such a wonderful sport (I was his designated driver, and drank nothing but water an energy drinks to keep awake, and made sure everyone was having fun).

It was going amazingly well, but in a very short period of time, where several people bought him several rounds of shots, he went from drunk to out-of-control, unable to speak cohesively or even stand up drunk. I called it a night immediately when I noticed him unable to stand upright without help, which upset some of the other guests who were having a good time. I already had his car keys, but also had to take his phone to keep him from drunk dialing people.

A large group of his friends wanted to keep the party going at a swimming pool they owned, but I told them, “No, he needs to rest,” in a tone that I admit was rather curt. At that point, I was scared about alcohol poisoning, which may have been overly dramatic of me but I was honestly frightened that I may have to take him to the ER. I’m sort of known as the party killer now.

Was it wrong of me to stop the party that was made by and being held for someone else? In my eyes, I was invoking “My heart will break if he dies of alcohol poisoning tonight because I love this guy” rule but part of me wonders if that was really my call to make to end the party. 0202-11

The only opinion that matters is the guest of honor at the party, your boyfriend.  If the agreement was that you were his caretaker while he consumed alcohol freely, then you performed within the parameters of your agreed upon duties which you’ve stated BF appreciates.   You were thinking of him and putting his welfare first whereas the other guests were selfishly thinking of their own need to continue the fun regardless of how that would affect the guest of honor.

{ 61 comments }

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  • Wheelchair Bling February 22, 2011, 4:07 am

    Saving people’s lives always trumps wild partying. Better to be known as the “party killer” than the “boyfriend killer”, eh?

  • aventurine February 22, 2011, 4:13 am

    I have to agree with the comments. Some friends, to not be able to see beyond their momentary enjoyment. Let yourself off the hook, OP. It may feel in hindsight as though you were overreacting, but better safe than sorry.

  • Tara February 22, 2011, 4:51 am

    Meh, people will puke before they get alcohol poisoning. I don’t think you ruined the party though, he’d had enough. You should call it a night before the puking starts.

  • Lynne February 22, 2011, 4:53 am

    Wait — what was to stop his friends from continuing to party, while he went home to rest? I understand that it was a party for him, he was the guest of honor, and he was going home… but if everyone else really wanted to keep on socializing, they could have done so. It seems that you were not the hostess, so your leaving would not have forced the others to leave as well. Protecting your boyfriend in no way made you a “party killer.”

    Also, alcohol poisoning is serious, and you were right to stop his consumption at the point where you became worried about it.

    It sounds like this incident may still be bothering you because of how you are now perceived by your bf’s friends. Do you think that the tone of your delivery (“curt” — which I am sure you felt was necessary at the time) is the primary reason that they took offense? I don’t know how long ago this entry was written, but if the topic of your being a “partykiller” comes up again, you could certainly remind them the reasons that you acted as you did, and issue an apology for being curt or abrupt when deciding to leave. There is no need to apologize for your decision, but if you want to “make peace” with this group, you may want to acknowledge any way in which they were offended.

    If your bf’s friends give him a hard time about it, I would also expect him to defend your actions to them.

  • beckstar February 22, 2011, 5:34 am

    A bit of a no-win situation here with friends like these. You took your grateful boyfriend home to safety before he could get so drunk he ended up in hospital, and you get called a party pooper. If you’d let him carry on drinking until he passed out covered in his own vomit and had to be taken away in an ambulance, you’d have been called irresponsible. Personally, I know which I’d rather be called…

  • jen a. February 22, 2011, 5:46 am

    Thank god, a story of someone actually acting responsibly when it comes to their friend/significant other’s fun night out. Good for you! You took care of your boyfriend. People who are drinking sometimes need a “curt” voice to assure them that you are not joking. And they wanted to keep it going at a swimming pool? Not a good combo.

  • Katie February 22, 2011, 5:47 am

    OP, you didn’t stop the party. You took your BF home to rest, and it sounds like he needed it! (Once someone can’t speak or even stand, it’s home time.) There’s no reason why the rest of the people couldn’t have partied on without you, and he wouldn’t have been much fun to party with by that point anyway. Plus, a really drunk person partying in at a swimming pool sounds like a recipe for tragedy. So don’t worry about his friends, as it doesn’t sound like they really had his best interests at heart. Maybe the alcohol also contributed to their unreasonableness at the time. If your BF says it’s okay, then it’s okay. He probably had a great time and is thankful to you for looking after him so well.

    I’ve seen alcohol poisoning twice – once as it was happening and once the day after, and neither was pretty. Once you’ve seen a teenage girl still vomitting while passing out after apparently sculling vodka neat, and taken her to hospital – against the protests of her friends, who were worried they’d get in trouble – where she had to get her stomach pumped, you tend to be much more cautious about drinking. Both with yourself and other people.

  • lkb February 22, 2011, 6:04 am

    I admit that I’ve never been much of a partier, but all I can say on reading this one is, “Wow! Is this even an issue?”
    If you are concerned that someone’s life is at stake then that trumps all other concerns. Take care of that person first.
    (BTW, if the friends disagree, there’s nothing to stop them from going to the swimming pool without you and your BF. Personally, if he’s already having trouble standing, I certainly wouldn’t want him near a swimming pool either.)

  • Bint February 22, 2011, 6:21 am

    I hope you don’t get bombarded with a lot of superior comments about ‘I would NEVER let my boyfriend get drunk’, or ‘I have never understood what’s so fun etc etc’ since these are neither relevant nor helpful. People have different attitudes to life.

    No, you did nothing wrong. Yes, you will be called a party pooper by those friends. Ignore it. What they say may well not be what they think, which is ‘Actually, he was lucky she was there’. He got too drunk, you took him home – this is the right thing to do and he was no doubt grateful you did.

    It’s a very common situation – don’t blow it out of proportion. They’ll have forgotten about it the next time someone else does it anyway. Trust me, I’ve had years of being married to a rugby player. This is standard.

  • Mojo February 22, 2011, 6:33 am

    I’m with you on this one. Alcohol takes time to get into your system, even after you’ve drunk it.
    So of he’d kept on drinking when he was already falling-down drunk, then yes, he was at risk of poisoning himself. You did the right thing. I hope someone would do the same for me.

    As for taking a group of drunk people to a party at a swimming pool – that’s just asking for disaster!

  • Sarah February 22, 2011, 6:58 am

    You definitely did the right thing, I’m surprised his friends don’t see it that way – I don’t really think they are friends at all if they’d put a party above his safety.

    I’d ignore the comment from Hal – someone who, once he starts drinking, is unable to keep from drinking himself into oblivion, and who does this on a regular basis and thinks nothing of it, is not rational. Someone who gets this drunk at his own birthday party when he knows that he has someone to look out for him and take him home safely is not irrational IMO. And while giving an alcoholic a bottle of vodka and the car keys is enabling dangerous behaviour, saying “since it’s your birthday, I’ll be DD and I won’t get mad if you’re drunk” is not.

  • Auryn Grigori February 22, 2011, 7:33 am

    When she said that he had permission to get drunk if he wanted to, I am assuming that getting drunk is not her boyfriend’s usual MO. I gave my boyfriend permission to do the same at his party, hosting it at our house. He didn’t go overboard on it (possibly due to the fact that when he was younger he had moderate Torrette’s. He had gotten over the more obvious symptoms by adulthood, but being medicated for it when he was younger has resulted in him not liking to go overboard on mind-altering substance. The result is that he is a light-weight drinker and will stop after 3-5 drinks, if not sooner).

  • Aeva February 22, 2011, 7:44 am

    Yeah, no need for apologies whatsoever on your part. Also, your BF needs better friends.

  • kingshearte February 22, 2011, 8:08 am

    I agree with the general consensus. I would say that part of agreeing to take care of someone if they want to go ahead and get hammered is recognizing when it’s been enough, and it sounds like you did that. Dude’s friends should wish they had someone around to take care of them like that.

  • Harley Granny February 22, 2011, 8:11 am

    I agree with the others…you didn’t stop the party you just took BF home to sleep it off….not rest.

    Maybe a little over dramatic but that’s nothing…if they drank as much as the boyfriend they probably don’t remember anyway.

  • David February 22, 2011, 8:52 am

    I think you did great. If his friends don’t agree, they really aren’t good friends.

  • Chocobo February 22, 2011, 8:57 am

    This is so not even an issue, so put your mind at ease. It’s clearly a safety issue, and honestly? Drinking gets kind of boring later in life, (I’m assuming here that the OP is younger) so most likely you’ll either all have grown out of it, or out of each other, and no one will care. Be assured that you did the right thing and don’t let it get to you. Although if you ask me it sorta sounds like BF needs some better friends…. Ones that will look out for him like you do.

  • bookworm February 22, 2011, 9:06 am

    Those “friends” would have gladly let your boyfriend drown in his own vomit if it meant their partying did not have to end soon. You did the right thing, looking after his well-being, because none of his guests would have!

  • A February 22, 2011, 9:12 am

    Health and safety always come first with something like that. If the other guests wanted to keep partying wherever they were at then they were still free to do so.

  • Just Laura February 22, 2011, 9:21 am

    Tara – logically, if people puke before they get alcohol poisoning, then there’d be no such thing as alcohol poisoning, right? But there is, and I understand the OP’s concern.

    I’ve had people get angry with me when I needed to take my fiance out of the party to go to bed when he’s sloshed. I don’t mind that he’s sloshed, but when he’s stumbling and babbling incoherently, he should be removed from the situation. I’ve had them tell me I’m “controlling” and “no fun.” I’ve even had to tell them bluntly to back off so that I could navigate him up the stairs to bed (if the party is at our house). These people are drunk too, of course, and usually don’t recall being angry the next day.

  • Goldie February 22, 2011, 9:36 am

    Did they really expect your BF, who was so drunk he could not even stand, to continue the party at the *swimming pool*? where he could have drowned? Wow, great thinking on behalf of these friends(?) Don’t listen to them, you did the right thing. I’m very glad to hear he understands and appreciates it too.

  • Shaw February 22, 2011, 9:36 am

    @Tara- not always the case. Some (especially those with a cast iron stomach) still get alcohol poisoning and end up in the ER without throwing up once.

    @OP- You did the right thing. If you’re honestly concerned about his well being, that trumps party time. You didn’t stop anyone else from still partying.

  • toni67 February 22, 2011, 9:47 am

    @ Tara – nothing like puking and aspirating said puke! That usually results in death, or the very least a lifetime of breathing problems. I’d say a little more serious then alcohol poisoning. I had someone very close to me die from a night of partying that way.
    OP- if BF was fall down drunk you did the right thing. Let the immature so called friends call you a party pooper.
    If it were me, I would rather be called that then attending a funeral.

  • Louise February 22, 2011, 10:31 am

    You were the designated driver, you kept an eye on your boyfriend, and you stood up for both of you when you saw it was time to call it a night. You acted responsibly. If anyone calls you a party pooper, tell them alcohol poisoning is a reality and leave it at that.

  • Noodle February 22, 2011, 10:31 am

    Meh, being the responsible one while everyone turns slobbering drunk and childish is a thankless job. Everyone regresses and then whines at you for preventing bad things from happening. I applaud you, that was a big gift you gave your boyfriend! And I hope he wholly supported your decision after hearing about it the next day, else don’t ever do him the favour again.
    If you get any stupid comments that bother you, stick it out. Stay cheerful: “Aww, I’m sorry I had to poop on the party but it was definitely time for us to leave.” Smile in a bright but firm fashion and then change the topic to other fun stuff. You don’t need to feel guilty for anything and these people are just immature.

  • Aje February 22, 2011, 10:55 am

    The moment I read the line, “I really wanted him to have a good time so I gave him permission to get as drunk as he wanted.” my heart sort of sank. That line right there sort of predicted future disaster… how exactly does one enjoy the company of friends/family when completely plastered?

    In any case, you certainly did the right thing to take him home. The best gift you could have given him for his birthday was the decision that he might be alive to see the next one.

  • TheOtherAmber February 22, 2011, 10:55 am

    Who on earth would think that taking someone so drunk he can’t stand to a swimming pool would be a good idea?!? That’s just insane. OP you did nothing wrong, and chances are if you hadn’t taken you boyfriend home then he would have been leaving the party by some alternate means of transportation, like an ambulance.

  • Lola February 22, 2011, 11:01 am

    I’m with the Dame and other commenters on this one. I’d also add that in a situation where a party goes late into the night, it should be perfectly acceptable to excuse oneself to retire, even if one is the guest of honor. At some point, you have to decide that your social obligations for the night have been fulfilled and staying out is detrimental to you and/or those around you.

  • Lady Lelan February 22, 2011, 11:05 am

    @Harley Granny:

    And if these so-called friends still remember it and resent OP for it, then they’re less a bunch of friends than a bunch of blithering idiots.

    As for the rest, OP, rest assured that you did absolutely nothing wrong. That’s even all the contrary.

  • Elizabeth February 22, 2011, 11:06 am

    The party could have certainly continued – just because it was time for your BF to go home doesn’t mean the party had to stop.

    But, I question the judgement of these friends. Alcohol and swimming do not mix – AT ALL.

    OP, you are the level head here – be proud of that.

  • lynda February 22, 2011, 11:07 am

    I wonder how much they really remember if they had been drinking alot themselves. When I was young and drank (I didn’t drive-either took a bus or a cab) I know I couldn’t have remembered all the details of a night when I drank. I think we remember the high points and the low points–and it’s probably the low points the ‘friends’ think they remember.
    You’re the one who wasn’t drinking, call them on their memories and see if they can even remember how many drinks they had. I think what they think they remember are false memories.
    When I was married my husband’s drinking problem became more apparent and since I learned how to drive, I was the one who stayed sober and did all the driving. I would think he was sober enough to remember what was going on–we’d have good talks about what we wanted, what our plans were, etc., and I’d find out the next morning he wouldn’t even remember when we left the party. “I don’t remember” became the answer for anything that wsa wrong.
    One New Year’s Eve party when he promised he’d drink only beer, we walked into the house (having brought plenty of beer to share) and the host said, “I’ve a bottle of Wild Turkey, want a shot?” So much for promises….he was rude to other guests and embarassed me more than ever before. I made him sleep in the workshop that night and in the morning told him what he had done. Of course he either had an excuse (“I had to be sociable”) or ‘forgot’. I told him from then on if he went to a party he’d go by himself and he’d have to be responsible for his own drinking and driving.
    So, among his drinking buddies (many of whom were already divorced due to their drinking) I got a reputation of being all the usual: “hardnosed” “a b—–“, etc. I told him, and I told them, if I wanted a character reference, I wouldn’t go to someone with a drinking problem.
    He said he didn’t really have a drinking problem and I finally said, ok, then I guess my problem is not with your drinking, but with you, and left. That was a long time ago, but since we still have mutual friends I know he still has the problem with alcohol and still says he doesn’t.
    Bottom line: People who regularly drink to excess cannot be trusted. They may say when circumstances change (the job, the location, etc) things will be better.
    His ‘friends’ may have drinking problems and your control of his situation challenges what they think about themselves. Next birthday, why not try to find a way to celebrate that has an element of risk-taking (white water rafting, paint ball, etc) without alcohol.

  • Xtina February 22, 2011, 11:18 am

    This is exactly why this arrangement was made in the first place–a drunk person is not in the proper state of mind to make the right decisions–hence both the drinker and the designated driver are clear beforehand on when it needs to stop. OP, I commend your sticking to the plan; I’ve seen many DDs break their promises on being the “safety” for the group and end up getting more hammered than the people they were supposed to be watching out for.

    I would be far less worried about being known as the party pooper than the one who allowed something awful to happen. The friends were also in no condition to make calls about who was in good enough a state to continue to party and frankly, any of them who remembered it the next day and were still calling you a party killer need to grow up; mature adults may sometimes screw up with drink, but when they sober up, should be able to recognize why you did what you did, and THANK you for it. If they don’t, they’re idiots!

  • DGS February 22, 2011, 11:18 am

    Good for you for allowing your boyfriend to have fun but stopping the party when the situation evolved in one that was potentially dangerous! If those friends call you a party pooper, ignore them. You did the right thing, and hopefully, your boyfriend (once he sobered up) has expressed his gratitude to you for taking care of him.

  • Caper February 22, 2011, 11:22 am

    The only one’s being rude were the friends, who were more concerned about their own fun rather than the condition of your boyfriend. You promised to be his caretaker, and so it was up to you to hold to that promise and make sure he didn’t get in to harms way – and you stuck to that, successfully.

  • Wink-n-Smile February 22, 2011, 11:27 am

    Falling-down-drunk and swimming-pools are not good combinations. If you can’t stand, you can’t swim. Even without the alcohol poisoning, that would be a drowning accident waiting to happen.

    You did a good deed, and do not need to feel bad about it. No, you did not overreact. And as for being “curt,” did they listen to you when you were not curt? I get the feeling the curt “No, he needs to rest,” was in response to several replies along the lines of “Oh, we won’t take ‘No’ for an answer.” Curt shouldn’t be the first go-to option, but definitely has its place. And there’s a big difference between curt and rude.

    If they complain again, just sweetly remind them that you merely took your boyfriend home, for his safety, and didn’t call the police to report drunk and disorderly conduct. A vice squad raid would have been a much bigger party pooper.

    Also, not everyone vomits when they drink too much alcohol. If they did, alcohol poisoning would be incredibly rare (reserved for those who didn’t actually “drink” the alcohol, or are having it forced into them against their will). People can, and do, drink themselves to death. And those that are vomiting drunk can, and do, choke to death on their own vomit. So the argument that it couldn’t happen to him really doesn’t hold water.

  • Ashley February 22, 2011, 12:30 pm

    I once had to do similar for a couple I am friends with at their joint bachelor/bachelorette party. Her coworkers were encouraging both of them to continue drinking alcohol, meanwhile, my fiance and I were trying to get them to drink water and stop them from staggering into things while drunk, while we waited for our designated driver to bring the car around. I don’t care if I “ruined” the party, I wanted my friends home safe.

  • AS February 22, 2011, 12:42 pm

    Under the conditions, you were perfect OP. I hope being called a “party killer” by this group of friends will not discourage you from taking the same stand in the future. The safety of someone is more important than continuing the fun (had your boyfriend not been the guest of honor, you might have left the party at that stage and the rest of the friends would have continued partying).

    Also, I don’t think that you were being over dramatic about alcohol poisoning. When everything is fine, it seems as if you were over reacting in retrospect. But given the condition of your boyfriend (he could not stand without support, etc.), it is better to over react than risk something worse by ignoring the signs and/or not being alert.

  • Barb February 22, 2011, 12:45 pm

    I think what you did was incredibly responsible. It takes guts to stand up to a crowd, and if anyone tries to call you out as a party pooper, just stand tall and tell them you know you did the right thing.

  • Dear! February 22, 2011, 1:12 pm

    I have to admit, this sounds like a case of the good old college “fun” days where birthdays are meant to get the guest of honor chocolate wasted to the delight and entertainment of “freinds.” I have been in the situation before where the “party” trumps another’s well being. You didn’t end the party, you just took the guest of honor home so that he might not create facebook worthy moments to haunt him for life, or you know, die. It happens all the time. Motion sickness at an amusement park preventing you from going on more rides with your eager freinds = party pooper. Not watching to partake in getting chocolate wasted like everyone else = party pooper. Being the DD and not partying like everyone else less you crash and die= party pooper.

    In short, taking into consideration that these people don’t care about your well being creates an environment where you have the right to leave. No etiquette fowl.

    I could be wrong, but this sounds like a group of young people (which I am one.) I am unfortunately friends with people like this. They are good people, but immature. If they can’t see it like that, too bad. When you are at a point where you feel like you might be in an afterschool special about peer pressure, chances are your friends aren’t mature enough to give etiquette much though.

  • Rebecca February 22, 2011, 1:32 pm

    Gasp – put someone who is that drunk in or near a swimming pool? I don’t think so!! OP, you did the right thing and if anyone thinks otherwise they are incredibly immature.

  • Livvie February 22, 2011, 1:33 pm

    I dunno. I mean, clearly you made the right call to get him out of there, no question. But how did you do it? There’s a big difference between OMG by bf is about to die because you idiots got him drunk (which seems to be your attitude, even though his goal for the evening was drunk-time!) And- hey guys, looks like you’ve partied him under the table! Thanks for a great night see you all soon.

    Also it worries me that you gave a grown man “permission” to do something. If you really mean, you promised to take care of him, letting him off the hook for taking care of himself, sure. If he needs your permission, you sound a bit controlling, and might want to consider that is what his loser friends are reacting to.

  • SJ February 22, 2011, 1:35 pm

    I think maybe the only thing wrong was encouraging your boyfriend to get trashed in the first place. (Maybe I’m exaggerating.)

    Otherwise, I think you were right. If he couldn’t stand on his own, he needed to stop partying. I would also guess that of the guests, you were most able to make that call, seeing as you hadn’t been drinking at all.

  • Abby February 22, 2011, 1:56 pm

    The OP definitely did the right thing. I have a feeling everyone accusing her of killing the party was close to being as drunk as her boyfriend, and clearly their judgement at the time and memories after the fact are a bit cloudy.

  • RP February 22, 2011, 2:08 pm

    Your BF’s friends were also drunk and drunk people are not the ones to listen to when it comes to whether or not someone has had too much. You were the sober, clear-headed one and if you feel he’s had too much then trust your instincts.

    Look at it this way, any bartender would cut someone off once they had trouble standing too. Besides, even if they’re not in danger of poisoning at that point (though I think they would be) being unable to walk straight and upright still puts them in danger of injuring themselves, others, and nearby property. As others have pointed out he’d be too drunk to keep himself from drowning in the pool and too drunk to realize he should stop drinking.

    The BF’s friends have some serious maturing to do if even now that they’re sober they think being falling down drunk is OK. Perhaps some literature on alcohol poisoning if they’re really just unaware of the dangers.

  • Chelsey February 22, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I agree with the Admin. And don’t take your BF’s comments to heart. They were also drunk (I’m assuming), and being drunk DEFINITELY does not mean you’re also going to be considerate of other people. You did what you felt was right and that’s all that matters. As one other person said, it’s better to be the party killer than the boyfriend killer.

  • Geekgirl February 22, 2011, 2:39 pm

    On the plus side, at least they didn’t try to get you drunk too! A lot of the time when I and my friends go out, I don’t drink, because I don’t really enjoy getting drunk, and being a woman trying to get home alone at midnight it easier sober than drunk.

    But, as soon as the others realise I’m not drinking, they start. ‘Just one won’t hurt’ or ‘how can you have fun if you don’t drink’ or ‘don’t be boring’. One has even been known to spike my drink (I buy my own now!)

    These aren’t teenagers either, these are people in their mid-thirties, who cannot cope with the concept of someone having fun, even going a bit wild, whilst staying completely sober.

    I suspect it’s a case of ‘I want to get totally hammered, but if you don’t want to, it means it’s not as much fun as I thought which makes me an idiot – so if you got drunk too, I wouldn’t be an idiot!’ type mentality.

  • Calliope February 22, 2011, 2:45 pm

    As usual, I agree with Bint on all counts.

  • Anonymous February 22, 2011, 4:05 pm

    This has happened with my DH a couple of times. Amongst a new set of friends, they tended to tell me I was a party killer when I told my husband he’d have enough. That is, until I let him go on drinking one night anyway, and he threw up in one of their bushes and had to sleep in their hallway.

    Now, when I tell him he’s had enough, the friends say “Listen to your wife.”

  • Lizza February 22, 2011, 4:48 pm

    OP, you definitely did the right thing. They could have continued the party without you, if they were so desperate to keep it going!

    I find myself driving a lot – I don’t drink beer, boyfriend and his friends do, so if we’re playing volleyball or hanging out, they tend to get some pitchers or 12 packs. I don’t usually mind (it does get old sometimes), but I will not hesitate to be a b*tch if the behaviour gets out of control: wanting specifically to get into a fight, trying to yell insults & crap out the car window, talking smack to other bar-goers, etc. One or two sharp, “No. Stop it. That’s enough,” and locking the car windows seems to do the trick. And I am always forgiven if I’m too harsh. Hopefully these so-called “friends” realize that you had your BF’s best interests in mind – and if they don’t and bring it up again, perhaps a cold, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” is in order.

  • Michelle P February 22, 2011, 6:45 pm

    Cheers to the OP and to Lynda. (Good for you for getting out of a marriage to an alcoholic). You did the right thing.