dear mean drunk…

I’m not an affectionate drunk but a hostile one.  It begins sweet and loving then corners demanding throughout the night.  I’m a demanding drunk.  Tell me you love me.  Let me show you how I love you.  It’s too in your face.  And shit, sometimes I just cry.  But mostly, I’ve never been called a bad drunk, have never hurt anyone, except myself once in a bad skipping accident which landed me in the emergency room.  I received a text message today from a male friend, at 9:10 am, asking, "What does it mean when a girlfriend is nicest to you when she is drunk?  Would appreciate your honest opinion."  Well now.  I’d pull up my sleeves and take this on, thriving, as I do, over relationship questions. 

Before I share my advice, give him yours because he needs it.  And on occasion, I use this blog to help people out.  Oh, and I know as much about them as you do.  Nothing.

Not that I need to, now that the boy has gotten an earful, but as promised, here was my take on it–it’s along the lines of what everyone else has said: 

It means she pretty much sucks the rest of the time, so keep her liquored up.  Well, it’s never that simple, or we never let it be, but that’s essentially what you’re saying. That really, you don’t like how she treats you while she’s sober.  Maybe it’s her guard, insecurity, but whatever the reason and whatever we analyze it to be, it doesn’t change the fact that you prefer her when she’s drunk, because it’s then that she’s actually nice.  That should tell you a little something about how you feel about her.

Too often in relationships we tend to focus on analyzing the other person’s behavior, trying to decode their everything.  So much so that we sometimes neglect focusing on how we feel, independent on how they feel for us.  It’s a fear, maybe, of being more vulnerable.  Now  maybe, as sad as this is, maybe she just feels lonesome and sad for herself when she’d drunk, so she needs more, gives more to get more, using alcohol and you as a crutch, a stand-in to make her feel upright and good about herself.  But that might be a little too much analyzing, even for me.  The key here is, I imagine your asking has very little to do with her feelings for you and more to do with how alcohol affects her temperament. And as I’ve stated, how you feel about her.  So it says more about you, as does asking the advice of me, instead of just speaking with her outright about all of it.  But perhaps that’s a lesson for another time.



  1. Count your blessed lucky stars! Poor baby, do you want her to be mean to you when she's drunk? My boyfriend and I have the best sex when we're high and I think it's fantastic.

  2. If I am nice to you while I am drunk I probably like you more than I can say. My defenses are down. If I am mean to you, I either hate you and can no longer hide it or I want you more than I could ever say. I am so second grade.

  3. Nice as in giving in bed? If so, my take was to be insulted that she needed to be drunk to make love with me – and hers was that it just lowered her inhibitions. So Emily may be on to something.

  4. She's just not that into you. Seriously! I have dated men I really wanted to like, when we were drinking I could ignore the fact I didn't for a while. If that's to harsh than please remember…why would you want to waste time dating a girl that has issues being nice to you when she's sober???

  5. i'm inferring that the problem isn't so much that she's uber nice when she's drunk, but that she's not nice/affectionate/whatever enough when she's sober. that's the real problem, and if he wants to give it a shot with her, he need to have a conversation with her about it.

    he dosen't say if he likes how she treats him when she's drunk. if he does, if she goes from being cool and snarky, lets say, to complimenty and touchy, then i'd say there is hope that she can be nicer without a cocktail. she may be one of those people that is afraid to show how much they care, or how sweet they are, because they think it's the equivalent of writing "kick me" across your forehead. if that's the case, a conversation could be an opportunity for greater intimacy, and both of them getting what they want.

    of course, that chraming scenario could not happen. when she's sober, does she tease him or others, or pick on people who are very warm, emotional, sappy, etc? she may have something more than a hangup and a few outmoded defenses. if she's not only so uncomfortable with genuine feelings that she can only express them when shes wasted, but also actively denigrates nice folks, well, he may have his hands full.

  6. Girlfriend implies monogamy, does it not? Or have I been out of the dating realm for too long? I would suggest he come out and ask her, rather than try and guess, but that would take a lot of the fun out of dating; the second guessing of everything. Personally, for me it would mean I was nicer because when less inhibited I realized how nice a guy he was, how good for me, how suited, etc. When sober, my guard would be up, or I'd be more inclined to see his faults. Although, it could mean she was just callous and cold, and playing him, horny drunk chick et al.

    Note to self: do not give relationship advice, you suck at it. Also, note to self: Stay married, you'd suck at dating, these days.

  7. The tone of this question definitely makes it sound like the situation is bad news. My comment mostly mirrors those above. The fact that it takes a little bit of the sauce to bring out her best, in my mind, speaks to one of three things:
    1) She isn't that into you, but being drunk allows her to put that on the back burner while she enjoys her buzz.
    2) She has some serious issues with allowing herself to be open to an intimate relationshp while sober (read: control issues) and it a little liquor to loosen her up.
    3) She is just strung way too tight.

    I personally believe that all three of these are a bummer to manage in a relationship. I also happen to believe that this type of relationship with alcohol and personality speaks to a potential substance abuse problem down the road.

    Now for the caveat: If she is actually acceptably nice and intimate while sober, but just gets nicer and more intimate when intoxicated, then you just happen to be blessed with a happy drunk. You luck son of a gun!

  8. I'm nicer to men when I am drunk. Especially the ones that I really like. Why? I hate rejection and being taken seriously, so during my drunken stupors and other such nonsense, I go wild with the being nice. I compliment excessively, pay unnecessary attention, and tell the truth about how I feel.

    Perhaps this friend's girlfriend is nicer when she's drunk because she still isn't ready to say it all without feeling like she's losing a piece of her ability to control whether or not she will be received well. Sometimes it's too early to tell.

    My only additional thought is that he might be giving her signals that she can only open up when she isn't being taken seriously/risking rejection.

    Some people are just nice, happy, affectionate drunks. Better for him to face that than drunkzilla.

  9. Personally I'd run. I might act differently when I'm drunk (talk about sexually uninhibited) but it should only affect behaviors that we suppress due to embarassment or indoctrinated taboos, not how nice she is to you. If her niceness, her caring, her making you feel the way you want to fell only comes with alcohol, it's time to find one who treats you that well when she's sober. If you are texting Stephanie about it, it sounds like a dealbreaker issue to me.

  10. I would have to say that , from experience, she is totally holding back something because of something(s) that happened to her in the past. Maybe there is something about this person that makes her uncomfortable, and maybe they need to explore this in order to get over it? My GIF and I did this(as there was a huge stumbling block in the road for the 2 of us), and all worked out well in the end(and our love life improved and our communtication patters had a presidence). I say-have a glass of wine, and explore the issue. Uberswell is on the right track-there may be something there that is just not fixable too! It is always good to get these things out, you know?

  11. See now, I've been accused of this. But the honest reason is that I'm sooooo freakin stressed out most days to get all lovey dovey. A glass of red is the only thing that makes me relax. I'm too uptight any other time. I can't help it.

    I'm working on it.

  12. I agree with Uberswell that the point is probably not that she's nicest when drunk, but rather not nice when not drunk. Since he texted you about this recently, it doesn't sound like they've been dating too long. I say he should get out now. Life is too short to have to explain to someone you're dating why she should be nice to you–especially when there are plenty of nice girls he'd likely be compatible with out there.

  13. It means she has a drinking problem. And a maturity problem. But who doesn't, really?

    She certainly likes you. The question is whether she is willing to grow up and display it when she's sober and whether she's worth waiting for that to happen.

  14. Dear Seeking Advice From Strangers:

    Now I know this is going to sound crazy, but instead of seeking advice from people who don't know you or her, why don't you TALK TO HER!!!??? Either she is not sure how you feel and, therefore, can't/won't let down her guard around you to show you she digs you unless she's been imbibing or she isn't that into you generally, but you seem better to her when she's drunk. Either way, the only way to find out for sure is to talk to her! So what are you waiting for – happy hour?

  15. Sometimes alcohol brings out one's true feelings. Sometimes it just makes one act stupid. Most of the time, you can't tell one from the other! Plus, it affects everyone in a different way.

    Personally, when I drink I want to have rough sex, fight someone, or clean like a maniac. All three have happened. And I'm a fairly mellow person when sober. So go figure. I don't think it has anything to do with how I really feel about anything. It's just the way alcohol affects me. (And also why I rarely drink anymore!!)

    Who knows? Not knowing you, Ami had the best advice. Strangers can only confuse you. Ask your girl what she thinks.

  16. She likely has some fear, anger, commitment issues. The question really shouldn't be why is she only nice when she is drunk, but why is he staying with someone that is only nice to him when she drinks.

  17. In lieu of keeping her drunk 24/7, my suggestion would be to sit down with her and have an honest, open talk.

  18. We all are much more inclined to let loose and have fun when "under the influence"…why else would there be such an influence!?

    Often times, drinking is that designated time to be carefree and "nice." It's a time when we forget about the silly stress in our lives. Perhaps she just needs more time to relax and be stress-free. When this happens, you'll see the nicer version of her much more often!

    P.S. I'm drunk.

    "I have dated men I really *wanted* to like, when we were drinking I could ignore the fact I didn't for a while." Why? Because I am in that exact position right now. I don't like him. I did or thought I did, for a long time. But now I don't. After a year, I realise this. He's not who I thought he was. Or I thought I could mould him into what I thought he was? When I'm drinking, I put everything I dislike about him on hold. He's really not my type.
    I don't think your man with the problem is referring to her being nice in bed when she's drunk at all. He's talking about that flirty, nice, interested, interesting, type of tipsy behaviour that alcohol helps along.
    Thats my two cents worth.

  20. As a guy, if a girl I wasn't interested in was hitting on me at a party and I was drunk, I'd be more likely to wind up doing things with her (or letting her do them to me) if I was drunk. On the other side of the coin, if a girl I wasn't interested in was hitting on me at a party and I WASN'T drunk, it's pretty likely nothing would happen. For the most part, I'd agree with the comments above that suggest if a woman treats you best when she's drunk, she's prolly not too into you. That, or she's sexually inhibited and needs the release that alcohol provides to do things that she normally is uncomfortable doing. Or…a combination of the above. Alcohol, unfortunately, has a way of letting people enjoy themselves even if they're faking it.

  21. This was me big time in a recent relationship.

    She likes you and her defenses are just too high when she's not drinking (maybe from being stressed out from other issues, but not you)….DON'T hold it against her….she really, really likes you and when her wall is down and she can express it! Be optimistic!

  22. I love it, Steph, that you had a bad skipping accident. Once, while racing a bf through a narrow passageway, I fell down and kissed some bricks. I had scabbed lips for a week, but it got me out of jury duty!

    As for advice, this drunk ain't handing any out unless he's been offered a drink first.

  23. I'd say goodbye to the woman. She is bipolar- "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli's".

  24. Thank you, Ami. This is the cyber world we live in these days? Total strangers on a web forum advising someone they know not in the least to end a relationship based on one cryptic piece of information and nothing else. Sheesh.
    How strange that we prefer to text message a near stranger or ask the good people out there in the Internest about something rather than have a real conversation, in real life, with the real people who are actually involved.

    Mr. Advice Seeker: People are weird sometimes. We all have weird quirks. You might get some theories about your girlfriend's behavior from asking Stephanie, but even with all the theories in the world you're a million times better off just asking your girl.

  25. amanda b sums it up. Ask the girl! We all do things for different reasons and the only way you will know is if you are bold enough to ask the tough questions and be prepared to hear the answers you might not like.

  26. I'm with Angela – I do this too. Not because I am "bi-polar," but because the guy seems like he might not be that into me and I'm not about to look like I like him more than he likes me. When I get drunk, I forget and act more spontaneously.

  27. she cares about you but doesn't want to show it when she's sober. she wants to keep a wall up so she isn't vulnerable.

  28. I agree with most people on here- the question to ask next is : what is she like when she's not drunk? If she isn't nice- then you have a problem. You can't stay with someone if they are only nice when they're drunk, and if you want to stay with her- you gotta have a talk about the nice when drunk, not when sober.

  29. I think it depends on how long they have been dating and what he means by "nice". If it means she is just more affectionate when she drinks, she is probably just nervous around him when she is sober and it takes the alcohol to bring her guard down a bit. I say stick with it, she'll get over it. If she it means that she is not very nice when she is sober then he should probably get out while he can.

    I'd love to hear more about the skipping accident. I once chipped my front tooth walking up stairs after a night at the bars. I told my dentist and my parents that I fell while I was rollerblading in the dorms. Somehow that excuse sounded better in my head…

  30. There really is no telling. I sometimes wonder why we do this to ourselves. Everytime I think I've found someone, all their garbage comes to light and starts raising issues.

    I'm made out to be everything bad about all their ex's and am left wonder "what the hell just happened and how did I get myself in this mess, AGAIN?"

    I realize it's because of how wonderful and beautiful women are, if only some guy or girl didn't totally screw them up before I got there.

  31. Alcohol either makes you act a bit crazy aka drunk or helps you let your guard down. There`s really no way to tell which one is the case in here. Although when the only time she`s being nice to him is when she`s drunk…she probably isn`t that into him.

  32. It doesn't mean anything! For goodness sake, don't read something in to a relationship just for the sake of it. Enjoy yourself if you have a drink and it's fun. It could be a lot worse!

  33. I've probably already asked this…but when is the book tour bringing you to London? Any dates yet?

  34. It's interesting to me, how so few words in the text message seem to imply so much. At least to me anyway. It certainly suggests that 1. the girl is NOT nice most of the time, and 2. that she may also be getting drunk a lot. Of course this is just speculation on my part, not knowing these people. If I am correct, this seems like a pretty sad situation for both people. I would say that he should probably end it, but tell her why, so that she can understand the consequences of her behavior and seek to remedy whatever personality problem, drinking problem, relationship issue or whatever she has that made this happen. Of course, there are always two sides. It would be interesting to hear her perspective too.

  35. Peter … this one's for you. Put your post into action. Your soul and humor jumped out of this blog with exquisite honesty. I'll buy your book. Where and when are you touring?!

  36. It could mean nothing or it could mean that she isn't giving all of herself because of something. I'm always nicer when i'm drunk – and it really doesn't mean anything.

  37. alcohol lowers inhibitions. We tend to do when we're drunk what we would otherwise be too afraid to do when sober. she's letting her guard down, allowing herself to be vulnerable. Now you can squash her like a bug. That'll teach her.

  38. You know, I am sorry for this dude's luck and all, but I really want to see some pictures from your long weekend Stephanie!

  39. I think he should run. Pack up and find someone who is nice all around-too many wonderful things to waste on someone who is nicer drunk.

  40. My take? It means she doesn't like him as much as she wishes she did. Alcohol is pretty stellar at causing your rational side to do a complete 180.

  41. Anonahim attempted to come home. That night. I cried. Not for him. For slopped pages of "Suite Francais." Our black-out shades didn't shade the sloppier blacked-out beast from stumbling in. So incoherent. So laughable. Quickly I asked what his favorite HBO show was. Snores. This time I put the remote between his toes. Whoa, it worked. I asked again. "Oz. Why?" You're in it. I left for work, sweet book in bag, iced coffee and giggles on the side.

  42. After reading all the responses, here's my feelings:

    Like someone else said, she could simply stressed out a lot of her sober time.

    She could simply enjoy being drunk, and when she is in a good mood, she feels it is only fair that you should be in a good mood.

    Not everyone is comfortable showing affection, or giving props for whatever you've done. Maybe certain things become more apparent when she's had a few.

    You didn't mention it, but are you both drinking at the same time? Even with a few drinks, your perception changes. Maybe she hasn't changed, but the drinking makes you think she has. Or else you've changed, and she is relating to the drunk you better than the sober you.

    But none of that matters. If she is nice to you when she is sober, then the drunk thing is a bonus. If she isn't nice to you when sober, than being nice only when drunk won't make up for it.

  43. Wow–poor (drunk) girl! Am I the only (other) one who becomes a little bit more amorous and self-confident when I've had a couple of glasses of wine? And what ever happened to "in vino veritas"? I say if she's nice to you when she's sober, then what's the problem?

    But Stephanie nailed it when she said we often focus on what the other person's behavior means or doesn't mean, and neglect how *we* feel about the other person (where were you when I needed to hear that 15 years ago?!). So maybe it's true that his question says more about his feelings for her than the other way around.

  44. Maybe he's asking us because he doesn't want to hear from her what's really going on. Easier to speculate then confront, I suppose.

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