Author Topic: Etiquette of not drinking?  (Read 6972 times)

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JeseC

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Etiquette of not drinking?
« on: June 08, 2013, 11:39:33 AM »
If you're at an event where alcohol is being served and consumed as part of the event, and don't wish to partake, what's the polite way to handle this?  Is it best to have a glass of something non-alcoholic in your hand, or do you just go without?  Also, is it polite for others to inquire as to why you aren't drinking, and how do you respond?

camlan

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2013, 11:45:23 AM »
If you want to have a non-alcoholic drink, go ahead and have one. If you aren't thirsty, don't bother.

However, holding a glass of what looks like an alcoholic drink could stop some questions, if you are bothered by them. A glass of Coke could easily be a rum and Coke, or a glass of soda water with a twist of lime could look like a gin and tonic.

No, it isn't polite for other people to ask why you aren't drinking alcohol. My friends don't. But if you are worried about this, have a simple, bean-dip reply ready and use it. "Oh, no, not tonight, thanks. How do you know bride/groom?" (Since I'm guessing this is about the cruise for the wedding you are going to attend.
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Zilla

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2013, 11:51:17 AM »
it's never rude to not drink alcohol.  There could be a myriad of reasons as to why not.  And for people to ask, they might be just making small talk. (odd but I have heard it)  I would simply decline with a no thank you.  If they ask just say, "Not in the mood today, so how are you? What's up?"

Pen^2

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2013, 12:07:17 PM »
It isn't rude at all to not drink alcohol at an event where alcohol will be served. I personally don't drink much (alcoholics in the family make drinking desirable to be avoided sometimes) and generally just get a drink of coke or juice to quench any thirst. Not rude even remotely. Of course, I don't make a song and dance about it. And no-one's ever asked. If I'm offered champagne, I'll decline "no thank you", or maybe ask if there is anything else, "you don't happen to have any water, do you?"

If you'd prefer people not to ask about it, it's easier to have a drink in your hand (even if it's lemonade). Some might ask as small talk, but you can dismiss it with a, "I don't feel like drinking tonight." Insisting that someone drinks when they don't want to, or insisting on a full explanation which might be quite personal, would be rude.

Sharnita

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2013, 12:17:20 PM »
It is perfectly fine to ask for something nonalcoholic. If these are people you sre going to be around again then it seems easier to be overt about it than to try to fake them out. Nobody should ask why you aren't consuming alcohol but if they do you can say "I enjoy coke/iced tea/whatever".

*inviteseller

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2013, 12:21:31 PM »
It isn't rude to drink what you want.  If anyone asks what you are drinking, just tell them.  If they ask, just say you don't drink and leave it at that.  Rarely will anyone make an issue of it.

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2013, 12:23:38 PM »
You just ask for something non alcoholic. There's nothing rude about that.
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JeseC

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2013, 12:24:18 PM »
It is perfectly fine to ask for something nonalcoholic. If these are people you sre going to be around again then it seems easier to be overt about it than to try to fake them out. Nobody should ask why you aren't consuming alcohol but if they do you can say "I enjoy coke/iced tea/whatever".

I doubt it's people I'm going to be around again.  That said, I'm someone who drinks sometimes but not a lot, so I've also had people confused as they'd pegged me as a non-drinker and wanted to know why I'd changed my mind!

Sharnita

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2013, 12:29:06 PM »
Then I definitely think something like "A Spriye sounded really good tonight" is fine.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2013, 12:42:07 PM »
"No thank you" or "I was in the mood for juice" followed by a topic-change are fine.

And there's nothing wrong with "I wasn't a teetotaler, I just wasn't in the mood for alcohol last time I saw you" if someone notices a change and asks you about it. There are very few people whose business it is whether or how much you drink, and none of them are likely to be seeing you only at that sort of social event. (Your doctor, yes. Your spouse or partner, and maybe a few other close friends, if they see a problem.)
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TootsNYC

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2013, 12:55:11 PM »
Look at what these suggested responses all have in common:

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maybe ask if there is anything else, "you don't happen to have any water, do you?"

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"I was in the mood for juice"

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"A Sprite sounded really good tonight"

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"I enjoy coke/iced tea/whatever".

They follow the tactic that I've gotten fond of suggesting lately.

They focus on the positive (I *want* this) and NOT on the negative ("I don't want that").

If you say, "I don't want a drink," you might end up with people trying to change your mind. For people who don't drink, saying so has sometimes (never in my experience, but I've read it here) gotten them people who act as though they themselves have been criticized by the mere presence of a non-drinker.

If you say, "I'd really like a Coke right now," or "I'd prefer water," there's less for the to argue against. And if they *do* say something, just sound really, really bewildered, and say, "I'd really like a Coke right now."

And if someone say, "I thought you were a drinker!" then again, I'd just say, "I was in the mood for juice," in a really, really puzzled way.


siamesecat2965

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2013, 12:56:40 PM »
Not rude not to drink, and don't feel like you have to have some sort of beverage in your hand. I have a group of HS friends who all live near each other, but I'm about 45 mins away. we get together every now and then, with me usually driving down to one of their homes. I've stayed over, so I can have more than one drink, or had one glass of wine, then switched to water, and no one bats and eye.  we are all mature adults, and no one wants to be in the position of not being able to drive home.

that being said, I do hate when people comment and give you grief. Many moons ago, I was dragged by friends to one of their cousins' Halloween bashes. I knew no one except my friends, but did know the hosts etc. like to party hearty. So we walk in, and I'm exhausted from having moved the prior week, and not at all in a festive mood. When asked what I wanted to drink, i asked for a soda, and was basically heckled. thankfully, i never had to see this group again, and my other friends were not all that impressed with the host, etc ether.

shhh its me

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2013, 01:09:49 PM »
  I'm reading between the lines and think one of the situations you may have to deal with is a champagne toast at a wedding?

If there are flutes on the table , you can preemptively ask for your to be filled with soda , sparkling apple juice ect.  If you are being served individual glasses then pick up your water and say " I'm sticking with water , so I'll toast with this"  (make it a question with tone this way the staff can decide if they have enough time to run back to to fill your flute with your preferred beverage)

JeseC

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2013, 01:29:00 PM »
  I'm reading between the lines and think one of the situations you may have to deal with is a champagne toast at a wedding?

If there are flutes on the table , you can preemptively ask for your to be filled with soda , sparkling apple juice ect.  If you are being served individual glasses then pick up your water and say " I'm sticking with water , so I'll toast with this"  (make it a question with tone this way the staff can decide if they have enough time to run back to to fill your flute with your preferred beverage)

Depends on how much champagne it is (I grew up in a non-drinking environment so I have NO idea how much is served, the alcohol content, and so on).  Typically I start having issues 2-3 servings of alcohol in, so I try to stay below that.

guihong

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Re: Etiquette of not drinking?
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2013, 01:42:25 PM »
Or just raise the flute when the toast comes, then set it back down.   Or sip it but don't drink.