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Oct 12, 2007 05:40 AM

Over 21 peer drinking pressure?

Look, I'm an adult. I'm over 21. I know what my body can and cannot handle. Its not even the drunkage issue. I simply can not process the alcohol without my entire body going crazy and It runs in my family. So why why why am I always being pressured to "Have a glass, relax." even after numerous denials? And don't give me that look or act to be personally insulted when I do. You would think adults listen? Do I have to take a glass, be evidently poisoned to show you? Does one have to eat a peanut to show their peanut allergy??? They will continue to pressure at every event. Yes the same ones! Does anyone else go through this? How and what is the best ways to handle this?

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  1. What kinds of situations are you talking about? Social? Work? I'm just curious because I have American friends who've worked in London (in finance-type jobs) who say that there's immense pressure to drink with colleagues. One friend, upon returning to the US, said he couldn't even bear to have a beer when we went out to dinner because he'd overdone it so much in London. He actually sounded really upset about it. He couldn't keep up.

    In social situations, though, I usually find that a smiling "No thanks" or "No thanks, I'll have a Coke" is the best response, even if you have to repeat it a few times. No requirement that you explain yourself.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Kagey

      I'm with Kagey on this. A simple, demure "no, thanks, just a Coke please" is all you need to say. If anyone is still rude enough to press the issue, just look slightly puzzled, and say "I'm sorry -- what's the problem?" In social situations, you can carry this off easily by just changing the subject, when the situation is with co-workers, its a little different (no need to offend the boss, even if he himself is offensive) but again, just changing the subject can work.

      There are other occasions when its just better to accept the drink, but not drink it. A toast at a wedding? Just raise your glass of champagne at the appropriate time, and then put it back down on the table while everyone else guzzles theirs.

      The best excuse that no one can argue with? Smile sweetly and say "No thanks ... I'm driving".

      1. re: Kagey

        Both work and social. As long as theres alcohol.

        1. re: DarthEater

          You have not seen pressure to drink until you travel to Asia for business.

          1. re: PeterL

            Or Russia!

            A friend who travels there often on business - he is not a teatotaller but a very sober, moderate drinker - says it is an utter minefield.

            1. re: lagatta

              In Russia: say you're Muslim (alcohol is haram, not that all Muslims abide by this but still). My partner was raised Muslim and is not religious, but that worked like a charm.

      2. I just tell them that they should be thankful to have a permanent DD. I stopped drinking after at bars after realizing that I can go out on the weekends without spending any money just by drinking only diet coke (most bars give DDs free soda). At first my friends kept trying to get me to drink with them but once they realized that they would never have to be DD they backed off.

        In other social situations when I don't feel like drinking, but I feel pressured to I nurse one drink the whole night.

        1. A couple of people in my life are in recovery and do not drink at all. I am shocked at the pressures people throw their way (not knowing they are in recovery). The worst is when servers repeatedly say things like "oh, come on. It is happy hour prices."

          One time we were in a group and the pressure to drink was coming on strong from a waitress. After several, "no, thanks Diet Coke is all I want" the other person got so frustrated he blurted out "look, I just got out of rehab, okay?" The waitress looked stunned and sheepishly walked away. After she left we all burst out laughing because I think she learned a valuable lesson. If you feel really sassy, you can always give that a try.

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            1. My friend hates the taste of alcohol, and has made it widely known that this is the case. She makes the most atrocious face when offered. No one could possibly believe she's not 100% serious when she says it tastes gross. :)

              Another friend very pointedly says "No--health issues." People assume it's deathly serious because he's young and otherwise healthy. I don't know him well enough to ask but I strongly suspect it's more because he wants to stay healthy and is just sick of drinking alcohol from all the college binging, not that he's in serious danger. But who knows, he is good at keeping it vague.

              10 Replies
              1. re: Pei

                Pei, your first friend sounds just like my sister. I dont know how sis reacts when someone offers her a drink in a social setting, but when the family is together and alcoholic beverages are served, "would you like a glass of wine?" is met with "No, Im not an alcoholic." For the record, there are NO alcoholics in the family, and I doubt she knows any personally. Or maybe, since the rest of us in the family DO drink socially, she thinks we're ALL ready for rehab.

                1. re: Cheflambo

                  In social situations I think you have every right to have your preferences honored. Just insist. (I like the "health issue" explanation.)

                  When under pressure to drink in work situations, I have sometimes resorted to ordering a glass of wine. I let it sit on the table and at some point when no one is looking pour some out. It's unfair to be put in those kinds of situations but if you have higher-ups who are defensive about their drinking, making a stand can cost you. If someone happens to notice you're only pretending to drink you can say you are suddenly feeling a bit queasy.

                  1. re: bibi rose

                    Something about having to pretend to drink really rubs me the wrong way. I know, it's totally subjective whether it's preferable to throw a drink out secretly or lie about health issues.

                    But I think this is key: if you're not going to drink, it's easier if you are the person who NEVER drinks. You can't sometimes drink a little, and then sometimes decide you're not going to. For some reason, that really irks people (yes, it's dumb). If you never start to begin with, then you're just the person who never drinks. Hopefully people will even back you up: "Oh, no, DarthEater never drinks (hint: don't even bother trying)."

                    Plus, you can't really use the "doctor's orders" excuse if people know you drink a little on occassion.

                    1. re: Pei

                      >>Something about having to pretend to drink really rubs me the wrong way.>>

                      Me too-- believe me. I hope the days when people are pressured into drinking at job-related events are coming to an end. That practice really is very harmful on all sorts of levels. I'm not even a teetotaler; I drink socially. I just think drinking and work don't mix very well. (Although, if your boss drinks heavily, you can often find out a lot of useful information from him/her.)

                      1. re: bibi rose

                        IN my catering days, more and more companies were opting for the cash bars at holiday parties and not promoting the open bar policy - or they would offer 2 drink tickets. I think this is a really wise idea not only for the attendees who may just want a soda, water, juice but from a liability standpoint.
                        Also, at the hotel I was at we always had an alternative for those who did not want champage or wine (non-alcohol) - if you are at a wedding , gala, or company party don't be afraid to ask!

                      2. re: Pei

                        Sure you can. We all take medications from time to time that say "no alcohol" so add a polite, "No, thanks- I can this week ." to your list of " shut-them-up fibs."

                        I have a family of alcoholics and occasionally take a month or more off my wine with meals to be sure I'm not slipping into needing it rather than enjoying it.

                      3. re: bibi rose

                        or at someone's home say: oh my gosh, the food was so good, i forgot to drink my wine.

                        and hope they don't guess you're just a little bit pregnant and not ready to announce it yet

                      4. re: Cheflambo

                        In reference to cheflambo's post: Well, intolerant non-drinkers are the other extreme...

                        1. re: Cheflambo

                          Refusing alcohol paradoxically MARKS you as an alcoholic! I was asked point blank when I ordered a mineral water at a bar: "are you an alcoholic?" (not by the bartender, by a jerk standing next to me). The logic is that only recovering alkies will refuse alcohol- so you sometimes have to qualify this.

                          1. re: Cheflambo

                            I had a boyfriend like that once. In my family we have a glass of wine before dinner at family gatherings. He was there for one of those dinners once, and I had one little glass of wine, and afterward he was all serious and telling me how terrible he thought that was. (No idea what his family dynamics were, other than that they were very religious in their own way.)