There are people all over the world that do not consume alcohol for myriad reasons. I am one of those people. It seems, however, that those people are few and far between. It also is sometimes hard to socialize with and make friends if you don’t drink.
Think about it.
Most events people attend in order to socialize with others are centered around alcohol.
People grab drinks after work with coworkers. Happy hours are designed to gather people with the promise of less expensive alcohol. People invite friends to breweries or vineyards. There are entire festivals focused on the consumption of alcohol. You don’t go to these places and events if you don’t drink. It’s pointless, awkward, and no fun.
And the holiday parties… As if mingling with people you almost sort-of know isn’t awkward enough (introvert here, if you couldn’t tell), you also have to explain why you don’t want any of the adult beverage options offered to you.
Have you ever had to tell someone you don’t drink alcohol? They are generally taken aback. “Like… ever? Why not?” they’ll ask. And then you tell them your reason (it’s expensive, I don’t like how it tastes, I have moral reasons, it really just doesn’t interest me) and they’re just like, “oh, okay… that’s cool.”
But you know in their head they’re thinking that is totally not cool. And then, in my experience, they usually move on to someone else who is cool.
Why does this happen?
Why can’t not drinking be just as normalized as drinking?
If you want to drink alcohol, I’m not stopping you. But can we at least do something where that isn’t the main point, so I can have fun, too? We probably wouldn’t go out dancing if you didn’t like to dance. A ski trip is out of the question for people who don’t ski. You wouldn’t take a friend to a doughnut shop if they were diabetic or gluten-free. But these are all things we ask about.
“Do you like dancing?”
“Can you snow ski?”
“Do you have any allergies or food sensitivities?”
All of those are normal questions people ask. But no one seems to ask the “do you drink?” question.
People just assume.
And you know what they say about assuming…
I’m just saying this: be sensitive to other people’s preferences, and don’t look at them like they have three heads when they tell you what they prefer. We all like to feel like we belong and are “normal” (though, is that even a thing?). That is hard to do sometimes — especially when the very thing you’re not into is the very thing everyone else is into.
Have you ever felt that way? Maybe not with alcohol, but possibly with something else?