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  1. #1
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Default When people are drunk: in vino veritas, or a load of rubbish?

    Like many of us, I've had people say some unexpected things to me when they were drunk. Someone who's always professed strict platonic feelings for you will tell you how devastatingly attractive they find you; or they'll say something terrible about their group of "best friends"; or something along those lines.

    I am really not sure if people tend to tell the truth more when they are drunk (in vino veritas) or if it's more likely to be meaningless nonsense based, at most, on a passing impulse of the moment. Opinion seems to be divided on this.

    What do you think? People will often use it as an excuse: "oh, I was really drunk," or they'll discount something their friend said because the friend was drunk. On the other hand, apparently you can have amazing moments of epiphany and revelation this way, too...

    Does it really vary from person to person? Does it make some much more likely to say what they really think/feel, and others more likely to say something full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?
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    I'm a big fan of soberiety, not simply that which is associated with being abstentious from alcoholic or narcotic fugues but generally. So I dont really think that alcohol or drugs (I know you didnt mention drugs but I think of them in the same context so I'm bringing them in) as the way to epiphanies, I could just be a killjoy though.

    So far as the truth of others, well, alcohol disinhibits, I dont necessarily believe that disinhibited people are truthful, just disinhibited. That's based on just on experience of being drunk myself and acting out of character or seeing others do likewise, its based on reading about the sorts of tricks esponiage professionals were taught for dealing with being intoxicated or shot with truth sirum.

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    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I'm a big fan of soberiety, not simply that which is associated with being abstentious from alcoholic or narcotic fugues but generally. So I dont really think that alcohol or drugs (I know you didnt mention drugs but I think of them in the same context so I'm bringing them in) as the way to epiphanies, I could just be a killjoy though.

    So far as the truth of others, well, alcohol disinhibits, I dont necessarily believe that disinhibited people are truthful, just disinhibited. That's based on just on experience of being drunk myself and acting out of character or seeing others do likewise, its based on reading about the sorts of tricks esponiage professionals were taught for dealing with being intoxicated or shot with truth sirum.
    I pretty much agree, at least as far as it not being a "good way" to have an epiphany. I avoid drunkenness based on my beliefs/morals (although I have overindulged before, but I really try to avoid it) and even if it does lead to someone making a "truthful" revelation...I don't think it's a great indication if you can only say what you think/feel if you're drunk. I also think the point about lowered inhibitions, rather than necessarily "truth", is a good one.

    I still wonder though. I mean, I wonder if it's more likely to be along the lines of "oh what the heck, I'm going to say/do something stupid that I don't normally espouse at all, because it feels fun right now", or "I'm going to blurt out how I really feel because I don't feel as restricted/scared as usual." (Not that either of those would be the conscious chain of thought, but just a reflection of how people would behave.)

    I've known a few too many people in recent years who seem to have got together with their SO because they'd both had a bit too much to drink and then made out, or someone got the courage from drinking to state their feelings. It seems to be a bit of a cultural thing over here as a relationship initiator. I think it's a pretty lame way to get together with someone who you might consider spending your life with. But then again, some of these couples seem quite good together.
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    Senior Member uncommonentity's Avatar
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    I think it depends on the individual. You have honest drunks and you have people who love to over exaggerate. Personally being intoxicated brings my sensing and feeling functions to the forefront and I lose the thought before the speech. This can often be a good thing but there are times where it's got me into trouble. I think it depends on how controlled of a drunk you are.
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    Depends a lot on personality. Some people with a strong super-ego might be able to spell the truth more easily under the spell of alchool. (whenever they find such truth to be excessively uncomfortable to hande in their usual model of operation). Some others, perhaps more impulsive, might be more likely to overestate and exaggerate some minuscle feeling.
    I'd also say, there is a certain treshold which might result in "maximum openness". Such treshold is individual - some people might be naturally that way, others might need 2 drinks, others 5. Whenever such line is crossed, thoughts likely become so jumbled that they can't really be made sense of.
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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    I think it depends on personality as well, since personality heavily influences impulsivity and self-restraint, things that alcohol consumption does impact.

    For two personal case studies:

    My ESTP father is quite capable of being impulsive, aggressive, and critical when sober; it's only when he's completely drunk that he typically voices any deep positive emotions. This past weekend, my eldest was talking to me about it (because their grandfather does call the house drunk sometimes), and he says he knows when he's drunk because, aside from repeating himself endlessly and slurring his words, his grandfather "gets all gushy emotionally, which is kind of embarassing, and says a bunch of things I know he won't even remember saying tomorrow." With my dad, I think it IS a case where he does "feel" those things; but there is no real connection between his outward actions vs his internal feelings, and you only see the negative emotions or what seems to be apathy until he's been drinking and his guard is way down.

    For me, typically, even when I've been heavily inebriated in the past at times, I'm still aware of what I'm saying or doing; I've found that my natural inhibitions are simply severely reduced, so I have to focus very hard in order to evaluate what I should actually do and say vs what I should keep a lid on. I'm aware of it all and still do it, it's just that it's like fighting through molasses.

    The stuff I might do and say that seems impulsive (usually funny things) are typically things that run through my head normally but I just don't let myself do and say. I typically haven't said or done emotionally charged things when I've been drinking; if I've felt an intense emotion besides hilarity at all, it was usually just underlying sadness that I was always aware of anyway but typically hid from people.

    Basically I think the alcohol removes restraint, so the more someone has repressed or cannot voice when sober, the more likely it will be expressed somehow when drunk.

    There's also some impulsivity; I know there's more chance I would physically mess around with someone, no strings attached, when drunk. But that might also be the repression too, since I typically am consciously controlling that and/or downplaying any random attraction.
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    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Thanks all, interesting so far and I think I more or less agree that it can vary so much dependent on personality etc that being conclusive about it would be hard.

    Question: What if someone you really liked and felt close to as a friend got really drunk and told you they hated your guts or something like that? How would you react? How would you approach it after you'd all sobered up? These things do occasionally happen out of the blue.
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    I honestly don't know.
    At the very least it would tell me there were issues that needed to be discussed between us.

    And if they were just being impulsive, then that would be bad for the friendship too, because I'd feel like I couldn't trust them -- who knows what they might do or say when drinking?
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I've known a few too many people in recent years who seem to have got together with their SO because they'd both had a bit too much to drink and then made out, or someone got the courage from drinking to state their feelings. It seems to be a bit of a cultural thing over here as a relationship initiator. I think it's a pretty lame way to get together with someone who you might consider spending your life with. But then again, some of these couples seem quite good together.
    That it is, I'd not want to confess love to someone while drunk, how would that serve as a memory in the future? How would whoever's hearing it know its truth and not just someone chancing a line to try and get laid? That's what a think a lot of drunken hook ups are about, not sincere emotions.

    Likewise I do think its a bit of a problem if you need alcohol to be a communicator or for "dutch courage", I've not always believed that, asking me this when I was seventeen and I could have answered it differently but a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then and seventeen year old me wasnt smart anyway.

    I think I'd try everything, disarming openness, written correspondence, anything other than a drunken reveal if I wanted to tell someone something about how I felt about them and didnt have the courage to do it.

  10. #10
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I honestly don't know.
    At the very least it would tell me there were issues that needed to be discussed between us.

    And if they were just being impulsive, then that would be bad for the friendship too, because I'd feel like I couldn't trust them -- who knows what they might do or say when drinking?
    I can't say it's ever happened to me. I know it happens though. As you say, I think it would suggest that there are some underlying issues at the very least. Because if they didn't feel like that AT ALL, why would they say it? I think that's what it comes down to.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    That it is, I'd not want to confess love to someone while drunk, how would that serve as a memory in the future? How would whoever's hearing it know its truth and not just someone chancing a line to try and get laid? That's what a think a lot of drunken hook ups are about, not sincere emotions.

    Likewise I do think its a bit of a problem if you need alcohol to be a communicator or for "dutch courage", I've not always believed that, asking me this when I was seventeen and I could have answered it differently but a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then and seventeen year old me wasnt smart anyway.

    I think I'd try everything, disarming openness, written correspondence, anything other than a drunken reveal if I wanted to tell someone something about how I felt about them and didnt have the courage to do it.
    I suppose sometimes drunken reveals happen a bit randomly. But I'm not sure I would want to look at someone and think "well, I guess we would never have got together if we hadn't both been pissed that night."

    It's strange about alcohol and socializing generally. Even for just...communicating, as you say. I have met many people in recent years who seem totally unable to socialize without drinking - mostly drinking an awful lot or even getting really drunk.

    I think my initial reaction was that these people were more "social" and had better skills than I did, simply because they were the ones always going to parties, with loads of "friends", etc. However, I later realised that I never saw them socially without them being at least tipsy. What does that actually say about their social skills? And furthermore, what does it say about their friendships? If you're with a certain group socially all the time, yet always need to be drinking at the same time - seriously, you don't want to be around them sober? Great friendships.

    Also, the really ugly side of the "friendships" based around getting together and drinking seems to be that if people were real friends to each other, they would try to stop each other from drinking more when it gets to the stage of being dangerous and ridiculous. But no, that so often doesn't seem to be the case. Ok sure, you can show yourself a "friend" by calling the ambulance when the other person passes out, or helping to get them home. You would have shown yourself a much better "friend", though, if at an earlier stage you'd said "hey man, I think we've all had a bit too much. It's time for water now, or I'll go home with you."

    I don't want to be self-righteous - I like drinking in moderation, I've occasionally had a bit too much (usually egged on by others, though I take full responsibility), and I wouldn't deny that drinking (in moderation, I contend) can smooth the way a little bit as far as being pleasant and relaxing. But if you "need" it beyond that, or you need it to say certain things, or to feel comfortable around people, you definitely have a problem.
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