Are drunken statements their real thoughts or just useless ramblings?

If someone gets drunk and confesses that they’ve secretly been crushing on your for years, or rants that they think your new hairdo is stupid, how do you evaluate it? Do you believe “Oh, Joe is drunk, so his inhibitions are down, so he’s telling me what he really thinks,” or “Oh, Joe is drunk, so whatever he says is just the alcohol talking?”

I’m inclined to think that what people say when drunk is what they really think, though possibly exaggerated and definitely unfiltered, but I’ve encountered many people who dismiss drunken statements as pure nonsense. What do people here think, and do you have any interesting experiences with drunken confessions?

Could be lowered inhibitions showing the truth. Could also be selectively reduced barriers. I might loathe you personally but respect you professionally. Pour a few drinks on that and I might forget one of those facts, or even blur them to the point where I forget what it is I respect about you and decide that you’re just okie dokie.

Or it could be more complicated than that. Often when my brain’s not right I construct my thoughts too loosely, the nebulous thoughts are innately difficult to translate into coherent sentences loaded with the intended meaning, and once thus muddily immortalized, the spoken thought is very unlike the original impression and it confuses me further. At times like that, I have learned it’s best to just shut up because nothing I say will improve the situation or clarify my real feeling. People who know me well understand this and we all have a good laugh at me. The problem gets a lot worse when I throw alcohol on it, so I tend not to.

I think it can be both. People can certainly lose inhibitions after a few drinks and say some stuff they otherwise might not have said save for intake of libations. That said alcohol clearly makes your brain not operate properly, I mean look at how poorly people drive a car with a little bit of juice on the brain. I have a dark sense of humor and have a habit of saying things I don’t really believe for shock value, my friends know I’m just joking, but put a bunch of liquor in me and I may do the same thing, but because of the alcohol it may cross a line I didn’t intend to cross. I mean people say things sober in the heat of the moment that they don’t really mean all the time. I also notice alcohol makes me really talkative, which I am even without it, and generally the more you talk eventually something stupid may come out of your mouth.

I have never been drunk before, but isn’t it kind of like when someone comes out of anesthesia and babble all sorts of stuff? Like the YouTube kid saying, “Is this real life?”

2 things:
Never try to reason with a drunk.
And: they always spout the truth. Good or bad.

I was going to say the exact same thing, but after a few drinks I was going to say it in a much more interesting way!

That is the factor that the OP is missing. It can be the truth, it can be total BS, OR it can be what the speaker thinks is funny or provocative or antagonistic or flirty, etc.

It is too random to assume that it is always going to be that person’s true innermost thoughts. If that were true then the CIA would be injecting people with alcohol instead of waterboarding them.

Agreed 100%

Hell, for all we know they are.

Right. The idea that somehow “the truth” is right there at the ready to spill out as soon as you remove the filters is fallacious. Sometimes what’s there ready to spill out is blubbering nonsense.

Also, the “real me” is not my unleashed Id. It is the whole of my conditioned and assessed thoughts.

It’s definitely not just “the alcohol talking”. On some level it is what the person is thinking. But most of us aren’t unitary in what we think and feel. We have amblvalences. So what spews out of one’s mouth when drunk is not the whole truth but only some smidgen of what they think and feel.

It depends on the person. And how drunk. And drunk on what. And what the subject of their ramblings is and what it means to them. In other words, unless you know the person really well, there is no way to tell.

I’ve said shit on Tequila that I wouldn’t have said on Beer! :wink:

We’ve done a couple of threads on this in the past. What they say is in their head, but it doesn’t mean it’s what they really believe.

I’m going to get shit-faced tonight and take notes! It’s scientific method. I’m doing it for the good of all mankind. Womankind, too.

I think anger brings out the unvarnished truth, not alcohol.

I voted “varies too much to tell”.

In vino veritas, but not necessarily the whole truth. Alcohol and other depressants remove the filters between brain and mouth, but they also modify what the brain does. You need to know the person to be able to tell how much of what is coming out is fuzzy-brain and how much is lack of filters for the crap they usually think but don’t tell.

In Vino Veritas - in wine, truth

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_vino_veritas

I’d say the same thing about anger that I said about alcohol: you get truth, but not the whole truth; people harbor inconsistent thoughts and feelings, all shot full of ambivalences and modulated by the ability to see two sides of the same question and so forth; what pops out from intoxication or fury is one slice of all that that happens to be emotionally loaded for that person at that precise moment. Not the be-all and end-all of what they think and believe.

flip-68 beat me to it. I’ve found that to be true more often than not.