So you’ve agreed to go to a party with your friends, and you end up at the apartment of a friend-of-a-friend. The music is good, there’s a positive humming of conversation, and everybody is holding those red plastic cups. Are you?
You don’t have to drink at a college party if you don’t want to. Some people choose to forgo alcohol for a night or even for the whole time due to personal beliefs, health reasons, or just because they aren’t into it.
If you do decide to opt out, there’s no reason it should affect your social life unless you allow it to. Try some of these tips to keep the party going without skipping a beat!
1. Be in charge of your own beverages.
Pour your own drinks so you know what’s in them, and mix up something tasty and alcohol-free. It could be as basic as ginger ale or something fancier, like a fun mocktail! Mix some juice with bubbly water and give it a lime garnish for something to keep your taste buds happy and your hands full. Nobody will question you, and you won’t have a headache the next day. It’s a win-win!
2. Find something to do.
Some people go to parties with the intention of drinking as much as possible. Since that’s not your game tonight, give yourself another focus. See if you can finally start a conversation with that person you keep bumping into in the elevator. Show off your moves on the dancefloor. Play DJ for a while and take requests — a great way to get to know people! Make friends with a total stranger, and earn bonus points if she was looking a little lonely. Give yourself a foreign accent for the night. Relax! If others are drinking, they won’t notice if you say something awkward. Might as well cut loose!
3. Avoid drinking games.
If there is a beer pong room, you’re better off avoiding the whole room. The pressure to join in can be powerful, and you may be stuck in that uncomfortable spot of explaining yourself to people you don’t know. Unless you are particularly confident and have a friend willing to drink for you, stick to another corner of the party.
4. Choose your parties wisely, and exit gracefully.
If you don’t feel comfortable with the people around you, don’t be afraid to call it a night and head out. College is too short to spend it with people who make you feel bad about your choices. Find something better, or consider throwing your own impromptu hangout with people you love being with.
5. Be confident.
It doesn’t have to be a big deal. If you let it be awkward, it will be. If you are confident (if you at least fake it well) no one else will see it as a problem. Tell people you’re all set, or you don’t feel like it, or you’re just hydrating right now and maybe you’ll grab one in a minute. You don’t have to tell people you refuse to drink. Just make the whole thing a non-issue.
It’s nice to be able to remember your evening, and feel good about the decisions you’ve made. At the end of the night, you can feel good that you were totally yourself and made decisions in your own best interest — not anyone else’s. Besides, you’re not missing much when you pass on the cheap vodka.
If you're looking for some fun, alcohol-free ideas, check out our list: 10 Creative Drink-Free Activities to Try Out in College