Wednesday, March 2, 2011

With friends like those...

There is currently an ad campaign in New Zealand for the Alcohol Advisory Council called ‘ease up on the drink’. Here is one of the ads:

The reason I really liked this is because, looked at from a self defence (defence against others, rather than ourselves in this case) perspective it highlights an important consideration in the avoidance stage of self protection; that is knowing how your friends/spouse conduct themselves when out, particularly when alcohol is involved.

I have a friend who is a really good guy, and would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. But when we used to go out, as soon as he had a bit of alcohol in him, he would change. In keeping the theme of the ALACNZ ad, he would become:

“Stare everyone down, friend”
“Shoulder barge random people looking for a fight, friend”
“Mr no-shirt, invincible, friend”
“Hit on everyone’s girlfriend, friend”
“Break bottles, and anything else he could, friend”
“Get himself, and everyone else with him in trouble and ruin their night, friend”

I liked the ad because it encourages open communication, which is what I had to do with my mate. I told him it was not on and unless he changed the way he behaved, I no longer wanted to go out with him. I told him that I am not willing to be put into a fight and risk my safety, my life, my family’s happiness, or my freedom because he became a clown when he drinks too much. As it turned out, nothing changed so I don’t go out with him anymore , I refuse to be put in that situation. That is the first stage of self defence - avoidance through awareness and intuition - in action.
Understanding third party interference/influence is a part of the avoidance stage of self protection. My advice is that if you have mates who behave like this, have a hard word with them. If they refuse to change, stop going out with them in those environments. It may seem harsh, but a good mate will not knowingly put you in danger.

Food for thought anyway...

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