Sophie Cullinane | Features Editor | 1,025 day ago

Ask An Adult: What We’ve Learnt From All Those Shit New Year's Eves In Our Twenties

The Debrief: New Year’s Eve is inevitably a crushing a disappointment, so we asked some of our favourite writers to tell us what they’ve learned from all the shit ones they endured in their 20s

Illustration by Assa Ariyoshi

 New Year’s Eve is fast approaching and there are two certainties you can rely upon with your life:

1.)   You will wake up hung over and, in a doom filled pit of self loathing, feel compelled to look over you social media from the last year and wonder how you achieved so little in such a long period of time

2.)   The night itself will be an earthshattering disappointment. Of this you can be certain.

No matter how many outfit choices you make, how meticulously you plan the night’s festivities and how certain you are that you’ll pull, the best you can hope for is peaking too early whilst hazily counting down to the new year in the back seat of the night bus on your way to another party. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even pull that ex who once left a used condom in your toothbrush holder. No? Just me? Cool…

But just because New Year’s Eves in your 20s are inevitably dire, that doesn’t mean you can’t take something from them - whatever isn’t a blessing is a lesson, after all. So we asked our favourite writers to tell us what they’ve learnt from all of their shit New Year’s in the hope of imparting some of their hard-won wisdom on to you. You’re welcome.

Sali Hughes, columnist, founder of and author of Pretty Honest

Going out on NYE is awful and I refuse to do it, largely because of NYE 1995. I couldn't get a taxi for love nor money, as is standard, and had to get the night bus home with my friend Julia. We got off the bus at Queen's Park and were followed up the street by a gang of teenage boys. They pushed us both to the floor and mugged us, stealing my Christmas bonus in cash and an overnight bag containing my favourite ever pair of jeans and some really excellent shoes. They also stole Julia's keys so we were stranded. We finally got to her sister's house, via the police station, at about 5:30am. Her children woke up and I was told to sleep in the toddler's bed. Drained from crying and the evening's events, I passed out, fully clothed in clubwear and stinking of booze. I opened my eyes five hours later, but was initially unable to move because the children had built an elaborate Meccano structure around my head while I was sleeping, complete with cranes and a pulley system. A few seconds later I realised that I was lying in toddler piss.

I learned the most valuable of lessons. One must never go out on New Year's Eve. I've stayed in every year since, with booze, friends, my kids, cheese, telly and playlists, and it's been complete and utter bliss. 

Follow Sali on Twitter @salihughes

Karley Sciortino, writer and founder of Slutever

New Years is almost always anticlimactic. For most of the NYEs of my 20s, I ended up either being in a cab, on public transportation, or walking down the street shivering at the stroke of midnight. Such a bummer. From that I've learned that it's always best to just pick one party, or one group of people you want to hang with, and stick to the plan! I always try to do too much, or to see everyone, and it never works out. The trick is to pretend like it's any average night--choose the people you love most in the world, just hang out with them, fight the FOMO, and you will never have a bad time.

Follow Karley on Twitter @slutever

Bryony Gordon, columnist and author of The Wrong Knickers, A Decade of Chaos

As a hardened party girl in my 20s, I always snootily thought of New Year's Eve as 'amateurs night' - people paying prohibitive amounts to get into pubs and clubs they could normally walk in to for free, before being forced to totter home in the freezing cold because there are no cabs available. I think my worst ever NYE involved going to some cool London bar where I bankrupted myself paying for drinks and then almost killed myself by going on to the after party of some 'art collective', who were squatting in a disused hospital. I woke up on New Year's Day in a room on the ophthalmic ward. I've been going to bed at 10.30pm on NYE ever since.

Follow Bryony on Twitter @bryony_gordon

Bryony Kimmings, comic and writer at

My worst new years was a gig. It’s always a nightmare to be the sober one banging into revelers with your cardboard cut out signs and your big wig. Everyone always wants a piece or a chat, which usually is fine but new years working is TAXING. Its normal to do about 5 separate turns in a night. Its great cash but you don't see your new year in in style, but rather in the back of a cab with someone's vomit on your legs. One year distinctly remember having a hissy fit trying to get out of the dressing room at the RVT, ricking my ankle and landing in a bin of cans at the bottom of those deadly stairs. My number one rule is now... don't work and don't go out. Its always a let down and a good bottle of fizz and your nearest at home is so much nicer. London can be carnage, especially on the circuits I work on!

Follow Bryony on Twitter @bryonykimmings

Daisy Buchanan, columnist, regular Debriefer and author of The Wickedly Unofficial Guide To Made In Chelsea 

I’ve had some fairly grim New Year’s Eves. There was the one where I fell down three flights of stairs dressed as a lion, the one where everyone had bad mushrooms and my then boyfriend had to be locked in the loo so that he didn’t drive back to London, wasted, because Wales was ‘too frightening’. There was the first one with my fiance where we got caught between two parties, and we were on the freezing pavement at the stroke of midnight throwing pebbles at my mate’s window because no-one would pick their phones up and let us in.

But by far the worst was the one where I saw out 2011. 

I was with very old, very dear friends in a cosy cottage with a wood fire, giant speakers, no neighbours and no phone signal. We had enough champagne to make us burp until the middle of February. I was wearing a dream of a dress, which was covered in blazing gold sequins and had been found for a fiver in a charity shop bin two days ago. And I was sad. I wasted the night wishing I was with someone who didn’t want to be with me. I wondered how I could make myself different, and better for them, in 2012. I missed out on being with people who were present because I was obsessed with the one who wasn’t there. My friend Ana moved to Brazil, and that was her last year of partying with us. I’d do anything to go back and tell 2011 me not to be such a bloody idiot.

Perhaps by way of compensation from the universe, 2012 was the best year of my life, and each year has got even better after that. I met someone who wants to be with me and my friends at New Year - and although I know I’m really, really lucky, I’m sure that’s exactly as it should be. You only get on NYE a year, and it’s too precious to waste it by letting the wrong person fill your head. If you’re sleeping with someone who makes you feel like you’re not good enough, they’re not good enough for you. And if you must let the people in your life determine the way you feel about yourself, always go with your mates. They know you much better than the bad boyfriends.

Follow Daisy on Twitter @Notrollergirl

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Tags: Ask An Adult, Christmas