How to Stay Safe But Still Have Fun

So your Matric exams are over and it's time to partay! But don't forget to stay safe out there while you're having fun. Here are a few tips on how to stay safe at big parties and festivals.

Article by Conor Engelbrecht

I matriculated in 2012 and, being a massive nerd with major depression and anxiety, I stayed at home after my exams. No Plett Rage for me! (Do people still do that, by the way? I'm so out of touch with the youth, man) However, even though I wasn't there, I have since gone to a fair few large parties and events, so I do kind of know what I'm talking about.

Don't worry, I'm not going sit here and pontificate about how drugs are bad (although they can be) and how you must abstain from sex (unless you want to. If sex ain't your thing, then it ain't your thing) and such like. I'm not your mother, I'm just some guy on the internet. But I do think I have a few good ideas that you could put into practice so, for the next 10 minutes or so, consider me your official Internet Motherâ„¢.

How to Stay Safe But Still Have Fun

1. Have these items with you

Before we can get into the more fun things (sex, drugs and rock & roll, can I get a hellyeah?), let's start with the basics. Here are a couple of things that you should absolutely have with you, no matter who you are, for your safety:

  • Your cellphone
  • A low-end cellphone, not even a smartphone, for absolute emergencies and in case your main phone gets stolen
  • Cellphone charger
  • Power bank
  • Sunscreen
  • Pepper spray
  • Condoms & lube

2. Know who you're with

Honestly, when it comes down to it, the most important thing is who you're with. The company you keep will, essentially, determine the amount of fun you have.

Make sure you're going with people you get along with, people who are of similar mindsets to you and, most important, make sure they are people you can trust. You'll be away from home and if something goes wrong, those are the people you'll need to lean on.

3. Set your boundaries

Another super duper important thing to remember is that you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. Decide for yourself before you go what your attitude towards drinking, drugs and sex (along with anything else) will be.

Maybe you know you're okay with drinking, but you're keeping your pants firmly belted. Or, perhaps, you want to give weed a try but know you won't be trying anything harder. What's important is that you know what you're comfortable with and that you don't let anyone make you do things you are not comfortable with.

4. Know your limits

When it comes to alcohol, there are no hard and fast rules about how many drinks to have, what to drink, etc. The key factor here is knowing your limits and not going past them.

Maybe your friend is an absolute tank and can put away a whole bottle of vodka without breaking a sweat. That doesn't mean you should go and do the same thing - if you're a lightweight, that could lead to some serious trouble.

Know your limits

Oh, by the way, keep an eye on your drinks. Never let someone you don't know give you a drink that you didn't watch them open. Basically, if you didn't watch the drink get poured, don't drink it. People are trash out here in these streets, brah.

5. No means No

I can't believe I have to be saying this, what with it being 2017 and all, but no means no.

If you're getting freaky, it's important to remember that consent is everything. Consent is freely given and can be revoked at any time. If you don't like what Timothy is getting up to, you can tell him to stop.

And, for the love of God, if someone tells you "No", you damn well respect that. I don't care who you are, who they are, or whatever else you think would excuse your actions. No means no. No does not mean yes. Passed out does not mean yes. Short skirts do not mean yes.

If you're not sure whether or not consent has been given, it probably hasn't.

Don't be a dick.

6. Drugs

Ah yes, here's another biggie: drugs.

Look, okay, there's no point in me saying "THOU SHALT NOT DO DRUGS" because, well, was there ever a teenager who actually listened to people telling them what to do?

My own personal philosophy about drugs is pretty relaxed; as long as you're not hurting anybody and, preferably, not hurting yourself either, then go for it. Try things. Be adventurous. But don't be an idiot.

If you are going to take drugs, make sure you know exactly what it is you are taking. That way, if things do go wrong, you'll be able to tell paramedics what the cause of the problem is.

Again, just don't be an idiot and stay safe. And remember, you don't have to do anything you don't want to.

7. The Buddy System

Make sure that you and your friends know where to meet in the event of an emergency. Choose somewhere central and easy to find, so no matter how lost you get you'll always be able to find it.

On top of this, implement a kind of buddy system: buddy up with someone and make sure that the two of you always know where the other one is. That way, hopefully, everyone will stay safe.

I shall leave you now with some words of wisdom from my high school Afrikaans teacher: "Pasop vir karre. Pasop vir haaie. Pasop vir baba walvisse". And be safe, okay?

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