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My new friend drinks too much: Should I say something?

Published: October 24, 2011 | Last Updated: May 8, 2016 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
Do you think this reader should say something to a new friend who drinks too much?


Hi Irene,

About 3 months ago, I made a new girlfriend. She has a personality that is a lot of fun to be with and we’ve enjoyed shopping and hanging out. The longer we’re friends though, the more alcohol is playing a large part in our time spent together. That in itself is not the problem.

Last weekend we went to dinner and she drove. She drank five shots over dinner in just about two hours. Ever since riding home with her I have been unsettled. I had too much to drink myself to stick to have the good sense to call my husband. The following day when I talked to her about it, she said she was fine to drive. It felt as if I had pushed the issue any further, she would have gotten upset.

Since this friendship is at an early stage, I feel it would still be easy to downgrade it. Do you feel that is
justified? It doesn’t feel like we have to foundation to discuss the issue and that it may be indicative of deeper differences between us. Also at my age, 36, I am not so interested in a friendship that revolves around alcohol. She tells lots of stories about her other friends, all involving lots of alcohol. I would
appreciate your thoughts.

Signed, Kailey


Dear Kailey,

Your writing about this reflects your obvious concern about this incident and the viability of the friendship. You realized that drinking five shots of liquor over dinner is much too much. (In fact, binge drinking is defined as a woman drinking four or more shots on one occasion [five or more for men]).

Perhaps, your friend drinks to loosen up or to become more affable when she’s with other people and that’s one of the reasons why she is so much fun to be with. As you suspect, given what she has said about
drinking with other friends, I doubt this is an isolated incident.

If you want to keep up the friendship and you don’t feel close enough to tell her at this point that you are concerned about her drinking, you at least need to let her know that you don’t want it to affect you or to jeopardize your safety. You could suggest that you get together in alcohol-free environments, perhaps during the day or at a shopping mall. This would also be a good measure of whether she has the same appeal as a friend when you are both sober.

It’s easy for someone to get caught up in excessive drinking when the individual is in a social situation (as you have been) so I would suggest heading off a bigger problem before it begins. From my perspective, if you want to save the friendship, you HAVE to say something for both your sake and hers.Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

Other posts on The Friendship Blog about drinking and friendship:

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Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    To be honest, I do not have any real concerns she is an alcoholic. I do see her at numerous day times events, such as soccer practice, where we have spent many hours visiting. We did get togethers, before we decided to get together in the evening, bringing alcohol into the picture.
    The issue is actually more one of how do you handle a ‘ designated drver’ and when is one needed…I must apology also. When I wrote 5 shots, that was my guess at teh amount of alcohol in 4 of the grande mariguaritas. I myself drank 3 of just a regular mariguaritas. Other ladies and myself will go to dinner, have drinks, but someone always agrees to limit themselves to 1 drink, and the rest of the group covers their meal.
    Since our nite out she has invited me other places that would involve drinking, and I am not going to put myself in that situation again. Unfortunately I can now see that this friendship is not going to progress beyond bump into each other chats, with lots of” we ought to get together” statements..which I hate becuase I really like her so much.. but I don’t trust myself not to jump into her car again. And I think I another conversation would just make it very awkward between us.. BUT if she directly asks me, I will absolutely be honest with her. I am actually hoping she does.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If your friend is an alcoholic, you will find out quickly because it won’t matter what time of day it is or where you are. Alcoholics work in drinking anytime and anywhere. They’ll say they need a “hair of the dog” drink in the morning or they’ll drink wine with lunch.

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