Upset? Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name

For many people, a couple of beers with friends at the local bar can go a long way towards chasing away the blues. But the boozy camaraderie of a pub isn’t for everyone who’s feeling stressed out or angry, as our articles on the urge to smash things or go camping show.

We asked our readers whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement “When something upsets you, you like to go out with your friends to pubs and bars.” While no personality type had a majority of respondents who agreed, several trait pairings showed marked differences. The largest disparity was between the Extraverted and the Introverted traits (41.99% vs. 21.52% agreeing, respectively), and only two trait pairings had no statistically significant difference: Thinking and Feeling (33.22% and 31.85%) and Turbulent and Assertive (33.17% and 31.15%).

Which personality types were the most likely to find solace at the bar? Let’s take a look:

Personality Types and Drinking

We also break down the question by strategy and role below – looking at these two layers gives us a clearer picture of what is going on here.


Personality Strategies and Drinking

Of the four strategies, Social Engagement agreed most often (45.85% agreeing). The strategy’s preoccupation with others’ opinions may lead them to seek validation from friends when things go wrong. In this respect, a bar or pub can be the ideal place to pour one’s heart out – a few drinks can lower one’s inhibitions to sharing while dulling one’s memory of any potentially embarrassing revelations.

A minority of People Mastery personality types (38.44%) agreed with the statement “When something upsets you, you like to go out with your friends to pubs and bars”. As with Social Engagement, the People Mastery strategy, Extraverted by nature, finds energy in the presence of others. However, this strategy is less inclined to seek approval from others than Social Engagers, even in a time of personal crisis. People Masters may instead seek out a pub or bar as a joyous distraction from a recent upset.

Few of Constant Improvers reported heading for the nearest drinking spot when troubles found them (23.05% agreeing). However, while this strategy may not share their troubles with others over a drink, this is not to say that these personality types choose not to imbibe at all. The unhappiness that can come from this strategy’s obsession with success – and corresponding fear of failure – may lead some to seek comfort in drink. But whether this type chooses to abstain or indulge, when they’re upset they’re unlikely to do so in the company of others.

Even fewer Confident Individualists (18.49%) agreed that drinking with friends at a pub or bar was a viable coping method. Firm believers in personal responsibility, the Confident Individualism strategy prefers not to show any weakness to others, even those closest to them. If people with these personality types choose to drown their sorrows in a drink, they most likely do so alone.


Personality Roles and Drinking

Analysts and Diplomats were almost identical in their response to the statement “When something upsets you, you like to go out with your friends to pubs and bars,” and neither role tended to agree (36.10% and 35.63% agreeing, respectively). Analysts may find it useful to have people around as a sounding board for their own frustrations, but they may handle problems better themselves rather than bring them up their struggles in social settings. Some Diplomats may find the candor of a tipsy gathering cathartic and even healing. They also live as though slightly detached from the physical world though, and value lucidity highly. Diplomats may enjoy the occasional drink, but they’re unlikely to enjoy the idea that they need one to find peace with a moral dilemma.

Explorers agreed slightly less (32.77% agreeing) than Analysts and Diplomats. While their impulsive character may spur some distraught Explorers to rush out with friends for a night on the town, these personality types usually don’t like to linger on their distress for long. They’d rather take action and move on.

Of the four roles, Sentinels were least likely to agree that a pub or bar full of friends was the right way to handle an upset (25.24% agreeing). Their adherence to rules and a certain degree of formality and composure may sometimes bend for a night of revelry, but in general, Sentinels shy away from such a reactionary approach to problem-solving. Even in times of turmoil, these personalities may keep their feelings closely guarded – and grounded.


Although alcohol undoubtedly plays a part in the decision to look for a bar when times get tough, the social element may be more important, if the survey data are any indication. A person can become insensibly intoxicated alone as easily as in public, after all. Either way, such a remedy may provide some temporary relief to one’s problems, but with the possibility of creating more messes to deal with.

However, pubs and bars serve more than alcohol – they’re also a setting where friends can meet, eat, and talk about life. Taking to such locales, then, may have less to do with liquor or beer, and more to do with how much one’s companions may take one’s mind off the troubles of the day. There are many ways to blow off steam with a few good friends, which we’ll continue to explore.

You can see the full set of data, including correlation coefficients, here. Please also consider participating in our Member Surveys!

2 years ago
I agree with the comments below - the people I know with the best response to this type of stress tend to bicycle or go mountain climbing, not going to bars or parties. Being outdoors in nature lends perspective, the exercise works off the fight-or-flight preparations the body has made, you can often meet new people on the trail, and you have a better quality of sleep at the end of a strenuous outdoor day..
2 years ago
I would say so no, I like to deal with stress on my own or talk about it privately with a best friend.
2 years ago
I'm glad that the majority answered no! Go out and party It's such a movie-cliche way to relieve stress!
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