So you’ve had too much to drink (again)…

It’s happened to the best of us (some more often than others): you’re out enjoying a few libations with friends when suddenly “a few” has evolved into “too many.” No, you’re not an overeager teenager with a fake I.D., but sometimes a hard day demands an extra happy hour cocktail or two, or perhaps your friendly neighborhood bartender serves you with an especially loose hand. Regardless of how it happens, excessive merriness calls for a delicate touch, lest you wind up looking like a boor.

What’s an innocent drunk to do? Needless to say, start by hydrating or grabbing a carby snack. It’ll help forestall a hangover and could even save you from an even less flattering situations. If no one notices or cares that you’ve stopped imbibing, a liter of water and a slice of pizza should suffice to keep your party-going activities to a respectable level. A bigger problem arises, though, when your pals insist that you continue to join in on their fun. At this point, a little deception may be your best solution.

One option, passed down to us by a wise veteran partier, is to switch to sipping on Guinness. Most consider it a pretty heavy-hitting drink (a boon if you are trying to keep up appearances), yet its ABV is surprisingly low at only 4%. Take it slow—this is just for looks, remember.

If you can’t stomach even one more drop of poison, though, dip into the world of mocktails. Any bartender worth their salt can cobble together something for you that resembles a bona fide bevvy, sans spirits. In a pinch, even a highball of soda water with a lime and mint sprig will do the trick. If you’re being goaded into doing shots, ask the bartender fill yours with water. Bartenders navigate the dangers of being surrounded by the drunk nightly and often keep a vodka bottle full of water at hand in case overly generous patrons keeps pushing shots on them. Follow their lead and down a harmless fake—just remember to tip your bartenders as if it were real.

Worst case scenario: ghost. If you are simply too out of it to be your usual winsome self, skip the goodbyes and…

Now that you’ve brushed up on your drunk etiquette, design a cocktail party invitation at paperlesspost.com.