How To Deal With a Mean Drunk

Different people react differently to alcohol, that’s why you’ll see some people who are able to drink casually and not have any real impacts on their life, and you’ll see other people whose lives can turn into a disaster from alcohol. It doesn’t affect everyone the same way.

We have previously covered the topic how to deal with a violent drunk. When there is violence involved, it’s a bit difference than when someone is just mean. “Mean” can mean a lot of different things, including being abusive, verbally abusive, manipulative, and so on. You can definitely suffer harm from someone being abusive and mean to you, no question.

The implications are a bit different when we’re talking about a violent drunk who can cause direct and immediate physical harm, but we don’t want to downplay the damage that can come from verbal abuse, either.

What Is a Mean Drunk?

Let’s start by defining what a mean drunk is.

It can vary from person to person. Many aspects of alcoholism or the effects of drinking will vary from person to person, so that’s no surprise. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Some people will get drunk and roast everyone around them, banter, make fun of people, and ultimately they don’t mean any harm even if it can hurt your feelings.
  • Some people get very spiteful and vindictive when they’re drunk, lashing out at those around them and trying to hurt people.
  • Basically, if someone drinks and becomes a nastier, meaning, less pleasant version of themselves, they fall into the category of people who are mean drunks. Alcohol makes them act in a mean way that they normally don’t act.
  • Or, maybe there’s already a mean person, and that sticks with them when they’re drunk.

Why Are People Mean?

Do you ever wonder why some people that you encounter in life are very pleasant and nice to be around, and other people just have a mean vibe about them?

There can be a lot of reasons for this. Frankly, you never really know what someone is going through or has gone through in the past. Traumatic experiences can change the way someone acts. They could have had a rough childhood that gave them a negative view on the world, or they could be dealing with some very difficult things right now and they just don’t have enough energy left in the tank to be nice or kind.

It’s unfortunately, and it’s easy to take it personally when someone is mean to you. Sometimes, the alcohol brings out something that they’re normally able to suppress.

What To Do When You Know a Mean Drunk…

The answer to this really depends!

Is it someone you can avoid, like a friend of a friend, that you can just not spend much time around? In that case, there’s not really much that you need to do.

But chances are you’re here because it’s someone close to you like a spouse, a parent, your child, and so on. In those cases, it becomes a lot trickier to deal with.

The first thing to do is to talk to them about how they come off as mean when they’re drunk, they might not even realize it or remember it.

Next, take into consideration how often they drink. Is this someone who drinks once in a blue moon and just doesn’t handle their alcohol very well, or is this someone who is drinking all the time and has a serious problem with alcoholism?

The answers to these questions will help determine how to proceed, but communication is important either way. If you express your concern to a mean drunk, and let them know how they behave, and they decide to take action (such as not drinking, or not drinking as much, or whatever the case may be) that’s a good outcome – they’ve heard your concerns, taken them seriously, and are taking steps.

However, on the other hand, if the mean drunk gets defensive, makes excuses, or doesn’t want to make any changes – you may need to separate yourself from the situation.

Category: Articles
Martijn van Eijk
Martijn is a passionate creator and the driving force behind He created this website to assist individuals and their families in conquering alcohol addiction and finding a joyful, fulfilling life after alcohol. With a deep understanding of the challenges they face, he empowers readers with valuable insights and practical guidance on their journey towards recovery. Author of the Stop Shaking Book.