Also relevant: The 5 Stages of a Hangover.
Quite often, the hardest part about going out is not so much the logistical strategy, the sartorial undertaking, nor answering the all-too-frequent question, “Where should we go?”
The hardest part is making the right decision about when to put your drink down, call it a night, and go home.
The wrong choice can put you in one of two unfavorable situations. Leave too early and you could miss The Night. The Night occurs on rare, magical occasions, like shooting stars, leap years and Kanye West’s rants on Twitter. The Night happens like love and lactose intolerance — when you least expect it — which makes it hard to effectively prepare. You know The Night: your crew almost didn’t go out. Everyone wore sneakers and the kind of sauce-stained gym clothes that double as pajamas when laundered. You go home because you’re a little tired, a little sober, a little bored.
Then half an hour later Bill Murray walks into the bar, buys everyone shots and starts a disco on the dance floor.
Excruciating as the post fomatic stress disorder may be, it’s often more tolerable than dealing with a morning of regrets which are the result of an evening-turned-marathon — the semi-sketchy party ripe with opportunities to politely bow out and songs that would have made satisfying exit scores long after the crowd was dwindling and yet, you decided to stay.
But how do you know? How is a mere mortal expected to make the right decision to go. the fuck. home?
With this guide.
Note: the below tips are most effective between the hours of 12 – 3 a.m. Any earlier than that and you need to suck it up. Any later than that and you need to haul ass into bed, stat. The witching hour starts promptly at 3:01 — nothing good happens between the hours of blackout and 6 a.m.
Before you begin, rule out security concerns. Will I be stranded? Is my phone dead? Am I comfortable in this situation? Will I still be comfortable in this situation in 5 hours when the sun is coming out and all of my friends are gone? Where are my friends?
Play your own mother and listen to your gut here. If an alarm goes off in your head — even if the ringtone is “Samba,” go home.
Where Are My Belongings?
If you don’t know, especially if you’re asking this question with the contents of your purse in a pile on the bar’s bathroom floor, go home. Resume search in the morning. Lost phone > lost dignity.
Only Boring People Get Bored
If you find yourself whining the b-word, ask yourself if it’s the location, your present company, or you.
Location: If the bar truly “sucks” — and this happens (crowds get weird fast and awkward ghosts-of-hookups-past appear out of thin air) — then allow yourself to try one more spot. However, unless you’re on a bar crawl, very rarely does third time equal a charm on nights where venue-hopping feels like the answer.
Present Company: Theoretically speaking, you and your friends should be able to have fun in a cardboard box, but squads can have off-nights. First, try to revive the team. Play Your Song. Play a game. If no one’s having it, hug ’em and ditch ’em. Don’t let their bad vibes become your problem; don’t be a social martyr for the sake of an Instagram. There will be other nights. I promise. I swear.
You: If you’re the one not having it despite your pals charging forward, go home. If you’re the only one still hyped, however, make friends with a safe stranger and hang! Part of going out is meeting new people — just be sure you review list item #1.
Appearance Is Key
A simple question to ask yourself is: Do I look crazy? If the answer is, “Yes! You’re a confirmed psychopath,” go home. If you need a second opinion, ask the bartender. Where your mascara is relative to your lashes is often a good clue as well.
Don’t Chase the Fun
Fun does not have legs. It is not running from you, so do not go running after it. Ever. The only time fun should make you work up a sweat is on the dance floor, at the beach, or while eating spicy foods with funny friends. Fun is like a butterfly in that it will come to you if you let it. If it’s not happening, say it with me: put the the drink down, stand up, call it a night, and go home.
Infographic made by MR summer intern Hannah Kellner. For more weird thoughts de Amelia, check out her October horoscope round-up. Looking for more helpful tips AND have curly hair? Rita Ora’s hairstylist is here to help. On another note: dude, what’s up with The Gap? It’s also Summer Friday. Open your fridge, take out a bottle of rosé, shove a wedge of watermelon in your mouth and celebrate.