The Science Behind Testing Out How Drunk You *Actually* Are…

We’ve all been there. A couple hours into Friday night festivities and you pop off to the loo at whatever classy drinking establishment you’re gracing with your presence. Suddenly normalcy fade, the cubicle starts to feel very off balance and a tidal wave of mixed spirits hits your brain with the force of a, well, tidal wave.

Feeling drunk isn’t always directly proportional to how much you’ve drank. There have been night where I’ve consumed my own water weight in bevs and felt fine and other nights where one G&T sends my body in shock paralysis…


According to a new study, however, your friends’ drinking habits have a bigger influence on your inebriation than you’d think! In a study published for BMC Public Health, researchers tested the breath alcohol concentration of 1,800 people who were out drinking and gave some of them a survey. Out of the sample, 400 people were answered four questions about how drunk they felt and things like how dangerous they felt drunk-them was…

These drunkards where then ranked by their breathalyser results. As Refinery29 report: “The researchers then ranked participants by their BrAC levels. They found that a participant’s rank — whether he or she was simply more or less drunk than the others around — was much more strongly associated with that person’s perceptions of his or her own drunkenness than with the actual BrAC amount.”


That’s right, when you were 14 and pretended to be drunk to impress the older kids, you weren’t far off what we all do on a regular night out! The other way to think about it is that the feeling of drunkenness is one of association so you won’t truly feel it as much until you’re around someone with a similar buzz.

They also found that if you hang out with someone opting to stay sober, you won’t overdo the cocktails nearly as much – maybe out of fear of judgement?

And the same applies in the other direction, while surrounded by steaming people, you’ll assume that drinking more has less risk… might explain a few of your past hangovers.