Drunk Texting Can Be Smart Under One Specific Condition

Research indicates people who are buzzed tend to be better at creative problem-solving; but that doesn't necessarily mean you should hit send.

Last updated on Apr 13, 2023

man laying down on a bean bag drunk texting someone G-Stock Studio / Shutterstock

By Julianne Ishler

You’ve had a few mixed drinks and suddenly feel compelled to write that snarky text to your ex who’s still using your Hulu password. Jerk.

But should you write any message, let alone an important one, when you are drunk?

An infographic created by the team at The Expert Editor, an Australian editing and proofreading company, summarized a body of research that indicates, yes, you should — albeit with one crucial caveat: don't hit send until you're sober.


People who are buzzed tend to be better at creative problem solving.

In order to explore whether or not the concept behind the famous phrase, “Write drunk, edit sober” (often misattributed to Ernest Hemingway) holds true in everyday situations, Professor Andrew Jarosz of Mississippi State University and colleagues served vodka-cranberry cocktails to a group of men and asked them to solve word association problems. While doing so, half the participants were sober and the other half had been asked to drink "until their blood alcohol levels neared legal intoxication."

In the end, the buzzed group proved to be better at creative problem solving, successfully finding more of the solutions and doing so in less time.


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Similarly, in what they dubbed the Newt/Judge Experiment, a group advertising creatives decided to test the same theory that being under the influence might increase creativity. Their team of 18 participants were split into two groups and asked to come up with ideas for engaging ad campaigns. Half of the group was sober, and the other half was given as much alcohol as they could consume.

Again, the drunk people performed better than the sober ones. The team that had been given alcohol was more productive and came up with better ideas.


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Why does alcohol make you more creative?

It is believed that alcohol boosts creativity by depressing certain responses in the brain, impeding the brain’s executive process and memory, and causing us to become less focused and less aware of our surroundings.

While that definitely makes driving more dangerous, it’s not a bad thing for creativity, because when this happens, it boosts imagination and ability to think outside the box.


That’s why you’re suddenly able to make up a million insulting names for your ex that you never would have thought of sober.

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So, does that mean you should send drunk texts?

Unfortunately, no. Before you go pound three Long Island ice teas to craft the ultimate revenge text, it's important to note two key points:

1. Being tipsy — not drunk — is the creative sweet spot for writing.

Having any more than two or three drinks begins to hinder creative abilities rather than help them.

2. While you may write a better, more creative text while buzzed, that doesn't mean you should send it.

Just because you say something well or creatively, that doesn't mean the other person wants to hear or that you won't later regret not keeping those brilliant thoughts to yourself.


As noted by American Addiction Centers, drunk texting "[puts you] at risk for embarrassment, shame, or loss of a friendship or romantic relationship."

Hitting send before you've sobered up and had your morning coffee is not at all recommended.

Here’s the basic caveat in a nutshell: if you feel compelled to let it all out, you should compose your thoughts while drunk, but go back and edit it while sober — because along with drunk driving, drunk editing is a major no-no.


When you wake up and edit your thoughts, have a cup of coffee to stimulate your creative editing process. Coffee has the opposite effect of alcohol, so it will improve working memory and help you focus.

Long story short, write tipsy, edit with coffee.

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Julianne Ishler is a Chicago-based writer and certified Enneagram coach, passionate about all things personality, spirituality, and holistic well-being.