"Another shot!" my best friend yelled to the bartender. I smirked and shakily grabbed my eleventh tequila shot of the night.
"She's trying to kill me!" I screamed after knocking it back.
That's the last thing I could remember from that night, and it's all I needed to. It was my 24th birthday, and I knew I was in good hands with my ride-or-die. I knew nothing bad would happen to me -- not only because I've known her since middle school, but because I'd gone drinking with her before.
Lately, I've been taking advantage of my 20s, and that means making more intoxicated memories than ever. These type of nights are practically necessary (unless you have addiction problems). They were invented to weed out your future bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Don't get me wrong: I know drinking definitely has its cons. I've even dated someone who was in AA. But when done responsibly, shots, beer and wine can become a part of the lifeblood to some of your closest friendships. Surprisingly, there can be something special found in every sloppy night.
These are the nights partners-in-crime are born.
Getting drunk with someone has practically become an initiation to being my best friend. Why? Because nothing bubbles character to the surface like hard liquor. It's truth serum for people's personalities.
A night out shows you who your true friends really are.
1. You learn who doesn't judge you.
You've probably seen "The Hangover," so you know what can happen when you're drinking. That's right: anything. You can wake up with a freaking tiger in the room, without a finger, or with breast implants.
But a true friend won't judge your bare ass as you pee behind a parked car or make out with Dr. Evil's clone.
A ride-or-die friend will remember your bad decisions -- or even join you in making them -- but will never, EVER judge you for them.
2. You learn who will protect you.
The more hammered you are, the more vulnerable you become. In times of need, your ride-or-die friends become your body guards. They might as well be your own personal f*ckboy police, taking down idiots one free drink at a time.
These guardian angels know when you're past your point of no return and can no longer make decisions for yourself. With them around, you can feel secure that nothing bad will happen. They won't let it.
If a friend is down to be your superhero at the bar scene, he or she will also be your sidekick for life.
These BFFs would never dream of abandoning or losing you. And you can be sure to receive a "text me when you get home" message, an Uber ride, or -- if they're really a ride-or-die -- they'll let you crash with them.
3. You learn who's down to take one for the team.
When out drinking, you see people in their rawest form, so if they're being helpful, it's usually genuine. Your friend will turn the other way if you meet someone. Your friend will pretend he or she didn't catch you batting your eyes at Oompa Loompas.
This friend helps everyone else sober up. He or she is the parent of your friend group. This friend will monitor the friend who's prone to having breakdowns and make sure that no one texts his or her ex.
These type of friends who are selfless at the bar are most likely also selfless in life. They are the ones who will stick around---even after the drinking phase is over. Instead of looking after you drunk a**, they will help watch over your future toddler's.
4. You learn who's there for you unconditionally.
I mentioned earlier that alcohol definitely has its cons. These cons include alcohol poisoning, vomiting and passing out. If a friend is there to help you through, you definitely have a friend for life.
One time I got so drunk that I was scared and throwing up BLACK vomit. I was pretty sure I was one percentage point away from alcohol poisoning. I had lost control of my body, but my friends helped me through it.
Alcohol let them see me at my worst. But it also let me see my friends at their best. Despite my gross condition, they stood by my side, plastic bag and all. They tied my hair, brought me to the bathroom, and gave me water.
Later that same night, I woke up on my friend's futon -- wet. I had a half-empty water bottle next to me. I had no idea if I was wet from spilling the water, throwing up or peeing on myself. All I knew was that I was soaked with something. I was still too drunk to walk, so I crawled like a desert soldier to the bathroom to grab some cleaning material for the bed.
I was on a mission, and it was while I was rug-burning my way to the bathroom that I understood what the term "pub crawl" truly meant. At last, I found some Fantastik under the sink. I grabbed it and ran.
OK, maybe not ran. I couldn't walk, remember? But I hustled the best I could.
I crawled back to the room while clutching the spray like a gun and dodging imaginary bullets and barbed wire. I elbowed my way back to the wet spot. I sprayed some on and rubbed it in with some tissue, and instantly the spot went from blue to WHITE. I felt all the alcohol filter from my blood. That was a sobering moment. It turns out that my friend's Fantastik, unlike mine, had bleach in it. I was f*cked.
At 4 am, I stumbled to my best friend's room as if auditioning for an episode of "The Walking Dead." I led her to the room. Finally, hugging a wall to stand, I showed her the party foul I had drunkenly committed. Her eyes widened ... and then, laughter. I felt so guilty, but she just cleaned and covered the spot with a patch. It was nothing to her.
That is what an unconditional friend does. He or she laughs at mistakes instead of crucifying you for them. Huge deals to others are minor accidents to your ride-or-die best friends. They will love you despite your screw-ups and support you no matter what.