Nearly eight years ago, I met a girlfriend out at a local bar for happy hour. Though we’d only planned on having a drink or two, we soon found ourselves several drinks in with a group of cute guys at the end of the bar.
The time flew by and before I knew it, it was midnight. Knowing I had work the next day, I can remember telling myself I had to get home immediately and hit the hay.
But I never made it home that night. Instead, while driving and reading a text I received from the friend I left at the bar, I crashed into another car about three miles away from my house.
Hindsight is 20/20
Even though I’ve always known I am the one to blame for everything that occurred, I couldn’t help harboring some resentment towards that friend.
Why did she let me leave when she knew I’d been drinking for hours? She drank considerably less than I did; surely she knew I was in a far-worse state.
And why text me minutes after I’d driven away? If I hadn’t looked at my phone, maybe I never would have taken my eyes off the road. Maybe I never would have been convicted of DUI Serious Bodily Injury and spent a good chunk of my life in prison.
For years, I’ve wondered how different the course of my life could’ve been had she simply taken the keys away from me that night – if she would have been a responsible friend.
Be a Good Friend
How does one actually become a responsible friend? Well, it’s actually quite simple. Look for warning signs in others’ behavior, and don’t be afraid to be the “wet blanket” who intervenes. Maybe your friend reaches a point where she’s not thinking too clearly, and she could use a hand with some judgment. Or maybe she’s thinking about going home with someone who’s “questionable” – you know it’s time to step in and escort her safely home.
Basically, we have to trust our guts and utilize all the resources in the palms of our hands: Our iPhone. Call an Uber. Test their BAC with an online calculator. Do whatever you have to do to prevent that person – your friend – from injuring themselves and others.
But most importantly, it’s our own personal duty to act responsibly and be held accountable for our actions. In all honestly, we can’t always rely on someone else to be there when we fall short. But for the occasional times we do, it helps to surround ourselves with those who truly care about our wellbeing and the possible consequences of our actions. Just that simple act of being a responsible friend could ultimately save an innocent person’s life.
Additional Reading: 5 Signs You Should End Your Friendship
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