De-stressing and letting loose with friends can be fun. However, it’s also important to keep your group together and ensure everyone makes it home safely. Here are some ways you can look out for your friends this weekend.
1. Nail down your plans
Who’s in your group? Identify who you want to go out with, and make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of what parties you want to attend or houses you want to go to. It’s usually best to choose a group of friends that you know will take care of you even if you’ve had too much to drink.
Stick together. Make a commitment to stick together and agree on how you will meet back up if you get separated. This can decrease the chances that someone in your group will have to rely on lesser-known friends or strangers to get home.
Check in with each other. It’s also important to establish a way to check in with each other throughout the night. Save each other’s cell phone numbers and consider starting a group chat, so you can communicate with each other in case someone needs help. You may also want to make sure that everyone has their sound on, so they don’t miss any important notifications from the group.
Share your location. Finally, make sure everyone knows where you’re all going. Google and Apple Maps are a great way to make sure everyone ends up where they’re supposed to be. If you do get separated, try using the “share my location” feature with the group, so they can find you and regroup. If plans change, make sure everyone knows and is in agreement.
2. Keep each other accountable
If you’re planning to drink (or use substances), make a commitment to watch out for each other and keep each other accountable. It can be helpful to set a limit before you go out, so your friends know when they may need to step in. In fact, 91% of students find it acceptable to let a friend know when they’ve had too much to drink.
You may also want to make an agreement with your group about discouraging each other from doing embarrassing or dangerous things at parties. For instance, if someone wants to ‘table smash’ you may want to pull them aside to share your concerns or pull them into a different activity. Similarly, if someone has drunk too much, it’s likely time to switch out their drinks for water or help them get home.
3. Know your out
Create a code word, sign or text emoji that means ‘get me out of this situation!’ Proactively keep an eye out for sketchy situations, especially if someone is intoxicated and may not be able to communicate their discomfort with the group.
This can include things like someone pursuing one of your friends in an unwanted or predatory way. Watch for people who hit on the drunkest person at a party, encourage others to drink, try to get a drunk person alone or away from their friends or are persistent about pursuing someone sexually.
If you see someone in a potentially harmful or high-risk situation, you can do something to intervene. Bystanders are particularly important in situations where someone is being targeted because of their level of intoxication, or if a person has been intentionally drugged at a party. Remember that impaired or incapacitated people are usually unable to protect or advocate for themselves.
4. Get home safe
Make sure everyone gets home safely.
Commit to not ditching someone if they have too much to drink or become unwilling to stick with your plans to stay together. Consider whether someone offering to walk a person home or look after someone who has had too much to drink is trustworthy and being helpful or is potentially looking for access to someone who is vulnerable.
Never leave someone behind with casual friends, people you just met or don’t know very well, especially when someone has been drinking or using other substances.
Looking for a ride home? Give CU NightRide a try! This student-operated program provides free night-time transportation for all CU Boulder students, staff and faculty.
Naloxone is an FDA-approved nasal spray that can be used to temporarily reverse opioid overdoses. Students can pick up naloxone for free on the third floor of Wardenburg Health Center.
Students living in residence halls can order a free Buff Box full of safer night out supplies, including naloxone, fentanyl test strips, hydration packs and more.
OVA provides free, confidential counseling, advocacy, information and referrals for students, staff and faculty. They specialize in addressing current, past, experienced and witnessed traumatic events, including sexual assault, violence, crime and more.