How to Avoid Angry Drunks on New Year's Eve

A new study reveals personality traits that make people belligerent under the influence

Who's most likely to be an angry drunk on New Year's Eve? A new study reveals exactly the variety of people you should steer clear of while ringing in the New Year, assuming, of course, you want to avoid throw downs and other Jersey Shore-esque drama.
 
According to research from Ohio State University, it’s the impulsive, live-in-the-moment people you should probably bypass when choosing whom you’ll be doing body shots off of come midnight. Not only are they more prone to bursts of anger, they’re also, according to a separate study, more likely to become alcoholics.

As Brad Bushman, the study's lead author and a professor of communications and psychology at Ohio State University told MSNBC, alcohol boosts aggression on its own. Get someone soused who on a good, sober day, doesn’t think about the consequences of their actions, and get ready to see a Biff! Wham! Pow! spectacle.

On the other hand, people who carefully consider their actions and think more about the future aren’t likely to get belligerent, no matter how much booze you put in them. I guess we know which personality trait reality TV show producers go looking for in cast members.

Psychiatrist Gail Saltz, M.D., a regular Today show contributor, told MSNBC what most of us already know: Alcohol doesn’t change our personality -- it reveals what’s already there, and then magnifies it a billion times over.

All I can say is, I am so glad my party girl days are over. Even though I can obsess over every thought and action to the point of paralysis, I can also be extremely impulsive. When I get tired of hemming and hawing over things, I swing in the opposite direction, like a pendulum, and choose to do something capricious (like quitting my job and moving cross-country without a place to live, for instance) so I can escape the shackles of my overwrought brain. What that meant for me when drunk was you just never knew what you’d be getting. On a good day, I’d be happy, giggly and flirty. But when I was going through a breakup and feeling depressed, my dark side would come out. In other words, drowning my sorrows was never a good idea.

If you’re cozying up to a new friend this New Year’s Eve, you can identify an impulsive person by his inability to sit still and focus. If he's fidgeting, trying to do 12 things at once and can’t keep his eyes on you, that’s not a good sign. Impulsive people like to take risks, and don’t always think before responding. If your new pal seems to fit the bill, you might do yourself a favor and tiptoe away before he gets too drunk. Just be sure not to insult him while blowing him off.
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