Stop Saying These to Someone Who Doesn’t Drink03.12.2021
Holiday season is upon us, which means it’s time to get drunk. There are many holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and boozy Secret Santa Exchanges. Many of these occasions offer opportunities to make merry, with most of them accompanied by gallons.
If you are sober or trying limit your alcohol intake, it can be difficult. Increased gatherings can lead to increased drinking pressure, which, even when meant in a congenially positive way, can cause anxiety for non-drinkers. According to the Washington Post, 30% of Americans don’t drink alcohol at all. Here are some words to avoid when someone refuses to drink an adult beverage.
- “Why not?”
While it’s natural to be curious about others’ lives, that doesn’t mean you can ask them without fear–especially at a holiday gathering. This is a very personal inquiry and can make non-drinkers feel uncomfortable sharing personal information. Or, you could lie. It could be because of religion, addiction, health, or any other personal reason. None of these are the responsibility of anyone unless they offer them up for their own use.
- “Are you sure?”
When I ask my children the same question multiple times, I tell them, “I’ve already answered that.” This is a way for me to say to them, “I’ve already answered this question.” It’s a sign that they have already answered “no” and should be respected.
- “Come on, only one!”
The person might have struggled with the decision to go to the shindig, knowing that alcohol would be available (and people trying hard to force it on them). This line can be annoying peer pressure. It could even lead to a dangerous relapse in recovery.
- “You’re no fun”
Imagine going to a party and being busy, not having fun. Then someone says you are boring because you don’t drink. This line should be avoided, as well as “loosen up” or “you’re missing it.” They could have the best conversational skills and the most interesting background. We don’t want to ruin the vibe of anyone else just because they won’t go down a rabbithole of drinks with them.
- “Are You Pregnant?”
Rule number 1 regarding women’s bodies is: Do not casually inquire about what’s happening inside women’s bodies. Except if they are a good friend. An acquaintance or coworker? It’s not an easy no. Perhaps she is, but she isn’t yet ready to share her thoughts. Perhaps she is trying but failing. Perhaps she’s not trying and doesn’t want to get pregnant. We are sorry, how did this happen again? Yes, asking an insensitive, intrusive question to find out why someone refused a drink. Let’s not.
- “Wow. Crazy.”
It’s amazing how casually we view alcohol overuse when you consider the damage it can cause to our health and personal lives. It is more acceptable to tell funny stories about people who are drunk than to allow non-drinkers to be present at social functions. It is not unusual or crazy to decide not to drink. It’s usually for mental or bodily improvement. These are reasons to be applauded, not denigrated.
- “Do you mind if i drink?”
Although this question may seem like a good idea, it is a strange one to ask at a drinking social event. It not only puts more emphasis on their abstinence but it also presupposes they care about you drinking or pass judgment on it. It’s like asking someone next to you if they mind if you yell. It’s expected. Go right ahead.
- “I couldn’t do that.”
Congratulations? Nobody is telling you to. It’s not a contest or a moral superiority contest to stop drinking. It’s not necessary to compare your decision to drink to theirs.
- “Sweet! “Can you drive me home?”
It doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is going to be sober all night, but they don’t want to be the default Uber driver. Enjoy the evening with them, and don’t ask for any last-minute favors.
What should you instead say?
It is not uncommon to see people drinking socially in America. We may not understand why but it is inappropriate to make judgmental or invasive comments about them.
If you host, make sure you have a variety of non-alcoholic beverages available. If someone refuses a cocktail, you can simply ask them “Oh, could I get you another?” You can include them as you would any other party guest.