friend ruins party

How to React When Your Friend Causes Trouble at a Party

Having a friend you invited to a party start to behave like a fool puts both of you in a tough spot.

If you’ve ever shown up at a party with a friend who’s being disruptive, has had too much to drink, or is just causing trouble, you have a tough choice to make. A good friend will stand by their annoying comrade through thick and thin, but maybe your friend has crossed a line—you’ve got a reputation to protect, after all! It’s imperative for you to disassociate yourself from this person.

“Who invited this jerk to the party, anyway?”

You brought your buddy Doug to a party and he jumped off the roof, shattering the host’s new beer pong table while pulling the DirecTV dish off the roof in the process. Later, he barged in on some woman in the bathroom, pushed her off the toilet to vomit, and then left the door hanging open. While the host was pouring shots, Doug grabbed the tequila bottle out of his hand, took a big pull, and tossed the bottle over his shoulder onto the patio, leaving glass shards everywhere. He then stumbled into a crowd of people and accidentally groped several women in the process. People are beginning to grumble about this jerk at the party.

“Who is that lunatic, and who brought him?” you overhear someone say. What do you do?

Unfortunately, there are only so many things that can be done. It really comes down to three courses of action—pretend you don’t know the guy, come to your friend’s aid, or get the hell out. Here are some more detailed options:

  • Ignore the entire situation. Don’t address it in any fashion. Let your friend get out of his own mess.
  • Try to make it seem as if you’re as angry and baffled as everyone else. “I’d like to know who invited that dingus. I’d kick him square in the bladder.”
  • Keep your distance. The second Doug sees you, it will be obvious that he knows you, and your cover is blown.
  • Bail on the party. Either leave the party on your own or grab Doug and go. The quicker you leave, the better off.
  • If people are aware that you brought Doug along, you need to begin making excuses for his behavior. A sob story might make things better. “I’m so sorry, he’s not normally like this. His cat was chopped up in a lawn mower yesterday and its head flew in the air and landed right on his lap. He was so shaken; he just hasn’t been himself. I thought a party is just what he needed.”
  • If Doug’s a really great friend, you might even give him credit for trying to jumpstart the party. “Hey, Doug’s just messin’ around. He’s trying to get this party started! Come on you guys, let’s make this a night to remember!”
  • Your best course of action is probably to simply apologize for your friend’s behavior, volunteer to help pay for the damages and/or clean up, and take your friend home. You might even consider lying to Doug about why you’re leaving so he knows you’re not dragging him away out of your own embarrassment. “This party is lame, Doug, let’s go to the bar instead.”

If your friend ruining parties and causing scenes is a common occurrence, you might look into getting him additional help. He could be struggling with alcohol addiction or have an underlying mental issue.

My Hot Take

I’ve been in this situation before. Many, many times. A great friend of mine used to be a lot of fun at parties until he crossed a fine line. It was like four beers he was a blast to hang out with; five beers he was breaking through windows and depantsing people. It was usually no secret that we were together, so I’d have to make up an excuse for his behavior. “I’ve never seen him like this; I think he just drank too much on an empty stomach.”


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