6 things that non-drinkers want drinkers to understand

The rules for drinking are talked about a lot, but how to behave around non-drinkers is rarely mentioned.

Well, non-drinkers also have emotions and they want to be heard. We asked our non-drinking readers on Facebook what they want drinkers to know about them. This is what they said.

1. Check-splitting is rarely fair to non-drinkers

The Americans used the estimate $ 799 billion in the country’s restaurants last year. Most restaurants aim to make approx 30 percent of their revenue from alcohol, so these drinks can make up a large part of the tab. Who has not been out in a large group, and when the check came, someone suggested, “How about we just share it?”

Few want to be the only one who meekly raises his hand in protest.

“I feel extremely awkward and I find it unfair [that] I have to pay for that part of someone else’s expensive alcoholic beverage, ”said Leila Mostafavi. ‘I feel it creates a quiet tension and I am judged for not wanting to pay more. Is it fair for me to pay more when I drink a $ 3 soda? “

This was a common chorus: If alcohol raises a loss by about 30 percent, why should someone who did not drink alcohol have to cover it? In any group meal, some people will order appetizers, desserts, coffee, or a more expensive entree, and sometimes the check balances out fairly well. But when one friend orders a salad and drinks tap water, and another orders 40-ounce rib-eye and a bottle of wine, it’s not a check to be shared equally, non-drinkers said.

If those who drink in the group do not go up and insist that the non-drinker should pay less when everyone else had three rounds of $ 15 cocktails, then it is perfectly fine for a non-drinker who says, “Will anyone mind if I just putter for what I ordered?” There is no need to explain why, according to Manner Matters etiquette column.

Reader Sheri Rego noted that while it may “sound petty,” she sometimes orders a dessert or appetizer just to balance the score when she’s out with people who drink alcohol.

“But they all expect me to share it with them,” she wrote. “They did not share their fancy expensive cocktail with me !!”

Several non-drinking readers said they have hung back and waited for others to order first. If everyone else is ordering alcoholic beverages, they ask the waiter for a separate check when it is their turn.

2. Non-drinkers also need support

Many people who recover from alcoholism or participate in Dry January or Sober October do not appreciate having their abstinence turned into a “thing”. A little sensitivity would be nice, they said.

Diane Williams McMullen, who has been sober for more than 32 years, said she should not explain why she does not drink. Yet she is asked regularly. When pressed, she tries to use humor and says she’s allergic to alcohol – I break out in a drunk.

David Lawrence is also trying to make a joke out of it. “I’m just telling people I’m not been arrested in 30 years and I want to keep that streak alive. It generally shuts up for anyone who expects me to join,” he said.

Not everyone who does not drink is improving or needs to be. Yagana Shah, a former HuffPost editor, pointed out that she does not drink because her faith forbids it. Jeff Perlman said he stopped drinking after college for health reasons. Some non-drinkers try to lose weight; others are trying to save money. Many others just do not care about the taste or effect of alcohol.

According to a 2014 study from North Carolina State University, non-drinkers felt that they had to use a variety of strategies to attend social events without making themselves, their colleagues or their clients feel uncomfortable. Some study participants said they stop lying about the fact that they do not drink, as if not drinking alcohol is something to be ashamed of. Instead, they would tell people “I do not drink tonight” or “I have an early morning.”

Other study participants said they would buy an alcoholic beverage, but not drink it, to fit in. Some said they are afraid of being perceived as judgmental or “holier-than-thou”. A woman who did not drink because she was taking prescription medication for a mental problem told colleagues that alcohol gave her migraines.

3. They do not appreciate you killing them to drink

“People who drink are obsessed with non-drinkers’ habits; it becomes the focus of at least part of the night’s conversation,” said Reem Baroody, a friend of the IRL. “At some point, someone will probably suggest that my drinking is a form of judgment over them and their choice to drink. This says a lot more about them and their insecurities than it does about my cola without ice cream. “

And yes, there is pressure on non-drinkers to drink.

Amy Flynn Eldridge, who founded the charity Love Without Boundaries, said her least favorite line is, “‘Come on … just have one. Relax a little.’

Thomas Pease said people have told him, “You certainly will not be killed.” He replies: “Well, no, technically it does not [kill me], but I still do not want one. ”

Julie Wallach, who has not drunk in 30 years, said she has lost count of the number of times people have told her, “Oh, you can have a drink now! It’s long enough ago!” She told HuffPost, “Ummm, right … When I drink, I get violent and cry uncontrollably for Bread songs. Believe me, you do not want me drunk. ”

Nikki DiFrancesco is not a big drinker. “That being said,” she commented, “it’s deeply annoying when people try to pressure me to drink with them. If you do not want me to start monitoring you to STOP drinking, I will not have the police start. “

Elliott Almond said that when he goes out with the “guys”, they will “occasionally try to incur drinks for me, as if I were a member of their teenage sports team.”

“It’s embarrassing and disrespectful,” he added. “I can not drink alcohol because I am taking a strong medicine that can damage my kidneys by mixing the two.”

4. Non-drinkers are not there to take care of you

While most non-drinkers would certainly try to ensure that a drunk friend came home safely, drinkers should not take responsibility for their safety while intoxicated, the nearest non-drinker falls to them.

Janet Paul Eiser said non-drinkers are often treated like babysitters. And several readers said that even though they are happy to be the designated driver, they are less happy to see the evening stretch far into the morning hours while just sitting and waiting to play taxi driver.

Vassi Bieber remembered how years ago she agreed to be appointed driver. She was pregnant at the time and made it clear that she should be home by noon. 23.00

“Midnight came and went, and I kept begging and begging and begging [my friend] to leave with me, and [she] still refused, ”she said. Bieber ended up arranging another trip for his friend.

Maureen Fay Topper said: “There’s nothing fun about being stuck at a table with a bunch of drunk people – especially if you were somehow snooped on to be the designated driver. Because then you can not just leave. , when they start to get uncomfortable – you have to spend even more time with them because you have to drive them home. ”

5. Non-drinkers need better alternatives to alcohol at restaurants and parties

Several readers issued strong calls to restaurants to offer non-alcoholic options in addition to sodas, iced tea, coffee or water. Can’t food be combined with something more complementary than Diet Coke? Why should staying sober mean your only option is to breastfeed an overly expensive bottle of sparkling water all night?

While there are “temperament matingsAt some high-end restaurants it is far from a pervasive trend. Yet soda pairings, as they are also commonly called, are not new; chef Thomas Keller has offered them at his famous restaurants Per Se and French Laundry for more than a decade. But when it comes to the place around the corner from the office where the gang gathers after work? Not so much.

Non-drinkers would not mind an increased awareness that they also want drinks for restaurants, parties and dinners.

Annelies de Bruijn has been to house parties where she was offered a drink and all the options were alcoholic. “I ended up with tap water and a confused host,” she said.

But at least she’s still invited to parties.

“I know I’m excluded from some invitations because I do not drink and somehow it makes others uncomfortable,” Lori Turner said.

6. Being around alcoholics is not all that it is cracked to be

Non-drinkers say drinkers sometimes have to hold up a mirror and decide if they like who they see.

Eden Darigan Almog has a few friends who do not hold their spirits well. “You get apologetic and say ‘sorry’ about 50 times a minute,” she said. Another, who has since stopped drinking, would become “angry and violent”.

“It can be hard to see people making decisions or saying things they would never say / do sober. It’s one thing when they get a glass of wine or two, but when they get drunk, it’s something embarrassing to look at, ”says Almog, who chose to stop drinking after several years of work as a nurse and seen too many drink-driving accidents. .

Tonnie Katz noted that when people have had a lot to drink, “they think their conversation makes complete sense when … [it] is often just the opposite. ”

Micah Smith said a surprising number of his friends are becoming “very sentimental” and will start telling “anyone who wants to listen how proud they are of our friendship or what they love about me.”

While the talk starts out as sweet and flattering, friends often ignore their filters and “reveal too much information,” he added.


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