A script to address friends who are drunk
DEAR AMY: I know that "friends don't let friends drive drunk," but the last few times I've been in a situation in which I've offered to drive or call a cab for friends who had been drinking, they've insisted they were "OK to drive." One friend was so obviously impaired that I refused to get into her car and ended up walking. She was angry with me, and we didn't speak for some time after the incident. Recently, a different acquaintance had been giggling about how "tipsy" she was but refused my offer to drive her home, and when I texted the next day to see if she'd made it home safely, she was irritated and said she never would have driven if she didn't think she was OK. Amy, these are professional women in their 40s. I don't think I'm coming across as judgmental when I offer; I'm actually pretty nonconfrontational. In fact, I think I should be more assertive and just take their keys, but I don't know how. Can you suggest any sort of tried-and-true script I could follow that would be effective in convincing people that even if they feel "OK," it's not worth taking the chance?Sober Friend
DEAR SOBER: You attempted to intervene and drive a drunken friend home; when she declined, you were very wise to walk.
I shared your query with Dorene Ocamb, spokeswoman for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (madd.org), and we agree that a more assertive way to approach this would be to agree before the drinking starts that you will be the designated driver. The friend would relinquish her keys at the beginning of the evening.
Drunk or impaired people often report they are "fine," but they are impaired and are in no condition to judge their own sobriety.
Ocamb adds, "The other alternative -- and we only suggest this with hesitation -- is that you have the option of calling the police. You have to figure out what's right for you and for your relationship."