Every year on New Years Eve I can barely believe it’s already here, and that’s where I find myself again this year! I personally, love to stay in with my family and celebrate that way, but I know many people like to go out to a New Years Eve party.
This post is for those of you who will be leaving home that night, whether you’re hitting Times Square, a bar or club, or hanging out at a friend’s house party. A lot of these things are common sense, but a reminder is always good to keep your mind focused on keeping you safe while you’re having a good time.
1. Maintain awareness of your surroundings.
If you’ve been following me for awhile, you probably could have guessed that this is my first tip, because it’s so important! When you’re at your New Years Eve party, be sure to keep your eyes open. Notice what’s going on around you. Who is nearby? What do they look like? Where are the exits and which one is the closest? Do you notice anything out of the ordinary? Practice paying better attention to the world around you. This will increase your chances of noticing a threat before anything happens so you can prepare ahead of time for what you might need to do, whether that’s to just keep an eye on the situation, leave, or to defend yourself.
2. Only party with people you trust.
Make sure you have a few friends with you that you feel very comfortable with. Make sure you let them know that you’ll be looking out for their safety and ask that they do the same for you. As important as it is for you to be aware of your surroundings, you can only take in so much information at once. Having a couple of friends who are also paying attention increases the likelihood that one of you will notice if something isn’t quite right at your New Years Eve party.
3. Follow the 1 drink, 1 water rule.
I get it, you’re an adult & you can make your own decisions, but when you’re intoxicated your decision making abilities are obviously impaired. You’re not going to be as alert, so you won’t be able to notice threats as easily, and it will be much more likely that someone can over power you if they decided to. Also, before anyone tries to accuse me of victim-shaming, I am NOT saying that if someone gets drunk on New Years and ends up becoming a victim of assault that it is in any way their fault.
All blame lies solely on the person committing the assault.
That doesn’t mean though, that we shouldn’t take steps to protect ourselves. Maintaining our sobriety is one way we can do that. Have some drinks, have a good time, but recognize what your limit is. Besides, you’ll save yourself from a hangover.
4. Make sure someone knows where you are and check in with them periodically.
A lot of people tell me that they always make sure they call someone when they get somewhere. That’s great, unless you’re calling while you’re walking. If you’re out of your vehicle & talking on your phone, your focus is on your conversation. We like to think we’re great multi-taskers, but the truth is our situational awareness is going to suffer if we’re engaged in conversation.
A better idea is to tell someone before you leave home, or while you’re sitting in your parked & locked vehicle. Don’t get out until after you’ve hung up and made a quick scan of the area.
Check in with the person a few time during the evening. Every 2-3 hours is a good window. Keep them up to speed on your plans. Make sure they know if you decide to go somewhere else, and when you plan to leave. You can also ask them to give you a call or text you if they haven’t heard from you in a set amount of time. It’s entirely possible that you’ll get so wrapped up in having a great time at your New Years Eve party that you’ll forget to check in.
5. Be prepared to defend yourself.
Make sure you’re carrying something on you that you can use to defend yourself if you wind up in a desperate situation. Don’t rely on there being a Good Samaritan or policeman nearby. Every second matters in an attack- don’t be an easy target. Carrying something like a stun gun, pepper spray or kubotan is a great option for those who don’t feel comfortable carrying a firearm or don’t have access to the one we have. Having more than one option available isn’t a bad idea either. Every tool has pros and cons and it’s best to be prepared for as many situations as possible.
Being prepared to defend yourself goes beyond having the right tools available. It’s also a mentality.
Decide ahead of time that if you have to fight back, you will fight to win. (Winning includes getting away!) Statistics show us that if an attacker can get you to a second location, your odds for coming back (alive or at all) are slim. You can’t let that happen- decide ahead of time that you will yell, hit, bite, or whatever you need to do to get away.
6. Protect your cash & ID.
Keep your cards and license in a small card case (preferably one that is RFID-blocking) that can fit in your pocket or carry a cross-body purse, which is harder for someone to snatch from you. This is a simple thing to do that can help prevent issues that would come up from someone stealing those important pieces of plastic from you.
7. If you’re driving make sure your tank is full before you get to your New Years Eve party.
You don’t want to find yourself out of gas if you need to make a quick escape! Also, in a lot of places it’s just plain COLD this time of year, so it’s not a great time to be running on empty anyway.
There are other things I could add, but the longer the list is, the more you’ll have to remember when you’re out and about. Keep these things in mind and you’re setting yourself up for a safer New Years Eve party.
If you’re looking for more safety tips and ways to protect yourself, you can check out this post and come hang out with me on my Facebook page; I post tips there frequently. I also encourage you to take some self-defense classes. See if there’s a workshop in your area that can get you started.