Worst. Party. Ever.

Paul wrote: I was at a party once that was going great. Everyone was having a great time. Sure, there was some drinking, but I didn't realize the neighbors had called the cops. Everybody ran, and people got trampled over trying to get away. I broke my arm falling over the couch. And my dad had to come get me from the police station. It was a nightmare.

Does this sound like the WORST PARTY EVER?

It's that time of year party-time!

While I know there are plenty of reasons to hold parties all throughout the year, spring seems to bring with it even more reasons to get together.

The stay-out-all-night after-prom party. The we-finally-did-it graduation party. The weather-is-finally-nice beach/backyard/backroad party. The see-you-next-school-year college bash. You know what I'm talking about.

And, while these parties are meant to be celebrations, they can often get out of control and end disastrously. In fact, you could end up at the worst party ever.

I don't want to be a downer, but I've heard too many stories on my radio show over the years from people who were taken advantage of at a party, or teens who lost a friend because of drunk-driving, or someone who ended up arrested because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

So, let's just talk about how to be smart at a party. How to have fun, and not be dumb!

Let's set the scene. You get to the party with your friend, and everyone seems to be having fun. But after a while, you start to get the feeling that something isn't quite right. For one thing, you notice people are bringing more and more alcohol to the party. You also notice people are starting to get really drunk or high. You even see people slipping away in couples, or even threesomes, heading to a back bedroom.

You know nothing really good happens in the back bedroom. A thought flashes through your mind: drugs, alcohol, and a lot of people = trouble.

What are some signs of a party that you need to leave?

  • If there are a lot of people showing up, you don't know especially if they are bringing alcohol when they come
  • Rival gang members are there, or fights are breaking out.
  • Couples are sneaking off upstairs or downstairs.
  • People are so wasted they are passing out.
  • The party is not well lit.
  • You can't help but notice weird smells.
  • It's so loud you know the neighbors are going to call the cops.
  • If you can imagine people being surprised if they were to hear you were at this party.
  • Your instincts are telling you to leave. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.

It's important to always have a plan as to what you'll do if the party turns into a bad situation.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from getting trapped at a destructive party or at the "Worst Party Ever":

  • Check out who's going to the party a little research beforehand may save you a lot of grief later. Again, follow your instincts. If there's a concern, just don't go. Why take a chance?
  • Don't go to a party alone it's usually best to go with two or three others just in case one person might want to stay.
  • Know your boundaries what you will and won't do before you get to a party and stick within those limits. You are cool enough to withstand peer pressure.
  • Talk with a friend or your parents ahead of time and ask if you can call and have them pick you up if you need to get away.
  • NEVER drive with someone who has been drinking.
  • Make sure your phone is charged if you need to call someone or a cab.
  • Go to TheHopeLine Get Help page to download our mobile app, so that you can talk with a HopeCoach anytime, anywhere, 24/7.
  • Don't be afraid or ashamed to call your parents or a trusted adult someone who cares about your safety. They'll forgive any mistakes you have made.
  • Don't be afraid to leave the party immediately walking or running, if need be.
  • Be aware of your location, which streets are nearby, and what's a landmark you could head to if you needed to get away.
  • Don't worry about what other people think about you if they see you leaving. Some people's lives have been all but ruined at a bad party.

I get the whole YOLO thing. And I know that according to Snoop Dog this is the time to be young and wild and free! I just want you to also be smart and safe and strong because I've seen first-hand that doing something in the moment can have consequences that last a lifetime.

And if you see a friend in trouble at a party, check out our guest blog about 4 Ways to Keep Friends Safe.
Lastly, here are some things your peers told us about their party experiences:

Jenni wrote: I just don't go to the parties where I know there will be drugs. And when there are, I get one of my friends to leave with me, and we do something else.

Trisha agreed with Jenni: I completely avoid the situation. But if I was there, I know better than to do that stuff. Usually, I end up leaving.

Sounds like Jenni and Trisha have a good plan. Talk to your friends and create your own plan for surviving the Worst Party Ever.

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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