DR. WALLACE: I’m in college, and my boyfriend and I have been invited to a nice holiday party this coming weekend. I am actually the person that the hosts know, and my boyfriend would be my “plus-one” and would attend as my date.
I know these friends pretty well, but they are by no means really close friends, so in a case like this I’d enjoy going but would only stay for a few hours, behave myself and then thank the hosts profusely before leaving a bit early. I’ve always felt comfortable with this strategy because it allows me to get to know people a bit better on a different level. I keep things short and sweet so that hopefully I’m well positioned for future social opportunities with a wider circle of friends and acquaintances.
This is where my boyfriend fits in, or shall I say, perhaps will not fit in so well. I’ve been with him for about six months, and so far I’ve noticed that he tends to drink a bit much at parties, and he becomes a bit too loud and boisterous for my comfort level. And worst of all, he never likes to leave a party early!
All of these factors have me worried enough to consider skipping this party entirely for these reasons. What do you think now that you know a bit more about my situation? — Hesitant to Attend This Party, via email
HESITANT TO ATTEND THIS PARTY: I feel that you may want to at least consider reassessing your priorities. You have a style and methodology that clashes directly with your boyfriend’s usual behavior at public gatherings.
You may prioritize your friends and your social circle opportunities more than you prioritize your boyfriend, for example. And if you truly feel the other way around, you’ll have to admit to yourself that you may be facing a possible lifetime of uncomfortable parties together or several skipped events to avoid bringing him along with you. Either way, it’s certainly something to think deeply and carefully about. Happy holidays!
I KNOW THE FACTS ON THIS TOPIC
DR. WALLACE: I’m a current college student, and my boyfriend and I are both over 21 years of age. We don’t go out drinking too often, but sometimes when we do my boyfriend wants to drive his own car rather than having us use one of the ride-hailing services.
My guy doesn’t drink enough to be staggering drunk, or to the point of physically getting sick, but he will absolutely have three or four drinks during an evening out. I know from following your column and from the news and other sources of information that even a small amount of alcohol can cause an automobile driver’s reaction time to slow down.
I’m not usually the type of person that overly worries about a variety of topics, but when it comes to mixing automobile driving and alcohol, it is one topic I truly pay a lot of attention to. As a child I lost my most beloved aunt to a tragic automobile accident that involved alcohol.
So when my boyfriend and I go out for the evening and he decides to have a few drinks, how can I get him to stop driving after he’s had what I feel are one or two too many drinks in an evening? — His Concerned Girlfriend, via email
HIS CONCERNED GIRLFRIEND: if you were asking me this question live during one of your actual evenings out, I would tell you not to get in his car for the ride home. I would then encourage you to tell him to lock his car and leave it there and have the two of you take a rideshare service home. You then put him in the position of having to drive home alone or return home with you using the safety of a rideshare service. And since you’d be paying for that ride home anyway, there would be no logical reason for him not to accompany you, since it wouldn’t cost either of you any extra money to have him ride along with you.
But since my advice is likely to reach you at a time that you are not currently in the middle of an evening out with him in which he has already driven, I feel it’s far better to approach this topic with him in advance. Explain calmly to him that you would prefer using a rideshare service to and from your destination for both of your personal safety and security. You should tell him that if he does indeed drink as he usually does, you will not be returning home with him in his car.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.