YOU’RE NOT A STICK IN THE MUD: 8 Ways to Say “No” to Alcohol
"Alcohol is so normalized during social events that when someone declines to drink, they are often judged, met with sideways glances, and pressured to drink despite saying no."
by Helena Nikitopoulos
Contributing Writer Helena Nikitopoulos is currently writing a novel titled, “Guide to Being Single in Your Twenties“ where she addresses all the things people can do to fully embrace their 20’s when single. Stay tuned for more information at her Instagram @helenanikitop or @wordsbyhelena.
Whether you’re at a club, bar, party, or special work event, alcohol consumption has always been a shared activity amongst high school and college students, family and co-workers. Alcohol is so normalized during social events that when someone declines to drink, they are often judged, met with sideways glances, and pressured to drink despite saying no. Yet everyone has the right to say “no” to something that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe, especially when it comes to putting substances into our bodies. This article offers 6 tips on how you or someone you know can safely avoid alcohol consumption when feeling pressured during social situations.
GO WITH A TRUSTED FRIEND / PARTNER that way you have someone there for you at all times. If a group or individual starts to make you feel uncomfortable, you can let your friend know and join another group instead.
EVALUATE YOUR COMFORT LEVEL because if you aren’t comfortable that is NOT okay, always listen to your body and how it feels. Never do something without asking yourself: am I okay with this? Do I feel pressured or unsafe?
POLITELY EXCUSE YOURSELF if someone offers you something and you aren’t sure what to say. Maybe by the time you come back, they will have forgotten all about offering you a drink and you can enjoy the rest of your night.
BRING YOUR OWN DRINK OF CHOICE, and keep your cup full so that you can easily say, “thanks, I’ve already got a drink” when asked.
SAY “NO”: Remind yourself that it’s “ your body, your decision” and you don’t need to justify or explain that choice to anyone but yourself.
There are different ways you can say “no”:
“I am okay, not really in the mood tonight, but thank you”
“I have to get up early for work tomorrow so I better not”
“I have tons of schoolwork to catch up on and I know that if I drink I won’t be able to get my work done”
“I’m not going to drink today but we will still have lots of fun!”
DRINK A MOCKTAIL, either by asking for one or bringing your own! If you have something in your hands, the less inclined people will be to bombard you with alcoholic drinks you feel uncomfortable with drinking.
WHEN SOMEONE WON’T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER: We all have them - the friend, co-worker or family member who won’t accept your refusal and pours you a drink or gives you a refill, despite your continued refusals. At this point, sometimes it’s best to find a way to ditch the drink unobtrusively - pour it into a plant, an empty cup, the bathroom sink… or just throw it out in the least obvious way possible.
GO SOMEWHERE ELSE OR CALL A FRIEND if they continue to persist. The minute you feel uncomfortable is the moment your gut is telling you to leave. Don’t wait a second longer as it is important to look out for both your health and safety, especially during a night out. Instead, call a trusted friend or partner and spend the evening at one of your houses instead.