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Etiquette of not drinking?

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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?

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.

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?"

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.

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".


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