If you're an adult in your 20s who's looking to become the most popular person in your social circle, you might want to double down on the hooch. A new study shows that young adult binge drinkers occupy the highest statuses in their friend groups, mostly because they're the ones usually spearheading the campaign for everyone to go out and get fucked up all the time.
"Research already demonstrates that young people use alcohol for social means…as a way of fitting in. Our research further suggests that young people might be gaining social status benefits via their heavy drinking, or that higher social status might encourage riskier drinking practices among young people."
"Our measure of social status in this study is somewhat akin to social power within the friend group, with higher status group members being more popular and having more control over valuable group resources, such as group decisions."
Of course, "having more control over valuable group resources, such as group decisions" could be less about being popular or well liked and more about being such a drunk and demanding asshole that your friends get tired of fighting with you, but it's not just that. Binge drinkers are also seen as more fun and more sociable than those who don't drink or drink very little.
Binge drinking equaling more popularity is common in both men and women, but the power behind the constant demand for "SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS!" has its limits. As the Daily Beast's Abby Haglage writes, "Participants [in the study] who said they'd consumed more than 12 drinks in one sitting generally showed no more social clout—and, in some cases, less—than those who drank less."
And then there are those other pesky drawbacks to binge drinking — stuff like depression, a heightened risk for several types of cancer, arrhythmias, stroke, alcoholic hepatitis, cardiomyopathy and a higher rate of unintentional injury, homicide, and suicide.
But those are just small risks, right? Certainly, feeling like the most popular of all your friends as an adult is worth all that — or at least that's what you should tell yourself the next time you sleep on your bathroom floor wearing only a pair of tights because you're too drunk to get fully undressed and are barfing too much to make it to your bed. (New Years 2011, WHADDUP?) You might end up terribly hungover (or dead), but at least you're beloved.
Image via Shutterstock.