Take Action

It can be difficult and awkward to know what to do in the above scenarios. Here are some examples of ways that you can intervene in a situation that is making you or others uncomfortable. Different options will be more comfortable for different bystanders or different situations, so decide what might work for you.

Get help. Even if you do not feel like you can safely or comfortably intervene in a negative situation, you can still make sure someone does.

  • Ask a friend of the individuals or someone who is comfortable with direct confrontation to intervene.
  • Tell the people responsible for the event that something uncomfortable is happening. Inform the host of the party, the administrator at the event, or the people who live in the house.
  • If the situation is truly dangerous, call Public Safety or 911.
  • Interrupt. Often just the act of interruption is enough to stop a potentially bad incident from occurring.
  • Enter into conversation or ask a question. You may seem rude for interrupting, but who cares? You are keeping someone safe.
  • Tell your friend that you need to talk with them about something serious right away. This allows you to step away with your friend and assess whether or not they are comfortable.
  • Bump into someone so that you can apologize and cause a break in the action.
  • Provide alternatives. Sometimes you can suggest something different that will get one person into another activity.
  • Ask if they want to do something with you (leave, play a game, step outside to cool off, dance, etc.)
  • Suggest that they exchange phone numbers so that they can connect again when both are sober.
  • Invite them to participate in a conversation with a group of people.
  • Tell them that a sober driver is going to take people to pick up food.
  • Confront directly. If you feel that you can get directly involved safely, be direct and firm.
  • Let them know that they appear too intoxicated, and they should quit until they sober up. Make sure that both parties are safe with regard to their intoxication.
  • Ask them directly if they are totally into what is happening right now.
  • Let people know that their jokes or comments offend you personally. Explain why it is not okay to say, and/or give them an alternative way of phrasing it.
  • Tell your friend that you are leaving and they need to leave with you.
  • Tell someone who seems like an aggressor to back off and/or leave.

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