Ask Brian: My friend has become a Debbie Downer and judges us all for drinking

One of my friends made a new year’s resolution to quit drinking, and in fairness to her she has stuck it out so far.

She used to be the heaviest drinker in our group on a night out. She’d always be the one who needed to be looked after or would spend half the night vomiting in the toilets.

Then the next morning she’d have major fear remembering segments of the night before and messaging people to apologise for the stupid things she said and done.

So we were all really supportive of her when she decided to kick the booze at the start of the year, we were thinking maybe it would be a reset and help her change her attitude to drinking.

She was still coming on nights out (leaving a lot earlier) and everything seemed to be fine, but then at the start of February things changed.

She started making judgy comments  about how much other people were drinking, or pointing out how many calories were in a glass of wine or a G&T.

On occasion she’s even made sly comments to some of the girls about their weight adding something along the lines of ‘that will be the alcohol weight’.

You’d swear she’d never touched a drop of the stuff, when in reality she used to spend most Saturday mornings cleaning vomit out of her hair.

She’s such a drain to be around now, to the point some of the girls don’t want to invite her on nights out anymore.

How do we get her to cop on?

Brian replies:

Ah, we all know a Debbie Downer. Everyone is in a great mood, having a good time and then Debbie comes in and changes the topic to something about her cat’s cancer or how as every minute inches by we’re all a minute closer to death.

I’m glad you supported your friend’s decision to give up alcohol, especially if she seemed to be having issues with it.

Also, she’s correct in what she’s saying – alcohol is laden with hidden calories and can contribute significantly to weight gain. A lot of people disassociate liquids from calories.

It’s possible she thinks she’s helping you. She obviously has only learned a lot about the harmful effects of alcohol since she gave it at the start of the year – and she might believe you and her other friends aren’t aware of the negatives.

She also might feel slightly isolated or excluded by not drinking like everyone else, and she’s hoping through publicising alcohol’s negatives she might have someone else join her in abstaining.

With all that being said, it’s not nice to have someone constantly remind you of it, especially if you enjoy an otherwise healthy lifestyle and a few drinks at the end of the week is how you treat yourself and unwind.

We all know that person who insists announcing the calories  of what you’re eating in a fast food restaurant – like you’re under some illusion as you consume deep fried goodness that it’s a health food.

I think the first port of call should be to speak with her about it. Tell her you understand she’s trying to help and is doing it from a good place, but it’s become an annoyance.

I wouldn’t have this conversation when she does it and a few alcoholic beverages have been consumed, we all have a flair for the dramatic after a few – and it could end up like an Eastenders scene.

See how she responds. You’ve obviously known her a while and you wouldn’t still be her friend if you didn’t like her – so it suggests she must be a reasonable person and genuinely doesn’t realise what she’s doing.

I wouldn’t just stop inviting her on nights out – give her a chance to adjust her behaviour by telling her about it. If she doesn’t change after that, she could soon be spending Friday nights alone counting calories.

 

Do you have a problem you’d like some advice on? Email [email protected]  to submit in confidence.

Twitter: @Brian_O_Reilly

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