Growing up in the West, I’ve always been the outlier in my group of friends.
I was the only one who ate halal food. The only one who didn’t go out a lot. The only one who didn’t drink. I was the friend who wasn’t involved in “the scene.” I mean, I never judge anyone for choosing to drink or get drunk, but that doesn’t mean people don’t judge me for not drinking.
I have to deal with a lot of annoying comments and a whole lot of people who seem to think I’m “boring,” because I don’t want to get drunk with them. I’ve been asked how I feel “elevated” if I don’t drink or have been asked to just try alcohol.
It’s a bummer, and I spend a lot of time wishing that alcohol wasn’t so important in our society, just so I could feel less alone.
I’ve learned that I’m not the only one in the world that’s sober at parties, so I thought I’d throw a toast to us teetotalers, with a list of things you’ll totally relate to:
1. You always drive everyone home.
It was all good until I got my license, then all of a sudden, I was the driver. The DD. Everywhere. For everyone.
2. Nobody lets the fact that you don’t drink go. You need to have a good reason. A really, really, really good reason.
So, how do you have fun? By hanging out with my friends.
But why don’t you drink? Because of my religion…
No, but seriously, why?
3. You’ve done the whole pretending-to-be-drinking-but-it’s-just-red-bull at least once.
LET’S GET DRUUUUUUUUUUNK.
But not really, because it’s just Red Bull, but everyone’s drunk, so you just go with it.
4. You love watching drunk people make stupid mistakes.
Drunk people at the bar are hilarious. I’ve watched 4 girls go from dancing on the bar, to falling into the bottles in the span of 30 seconds.
I assure you, they were okay – just some scratches. Hilarious, nonetheless.
5. But after a while, you find these parties boring. Really boring.
Everyone’s drinking, everyone’s grinding, and it’s all happening while you’re trying to have a decent conversation with someone or take some bomb selfies.
6. You have that one friend who has to save your naive ass from spiked drinks.
Literally, every time I go out, there’s a guy who will buy me a drink, even though I say I don’t drink. He’ll say it’s non-alcoholic, but he’s lying.
My drink detector, aka best friend, smells and drinks them all for me.
7. You never know how to really act around alcohol, and ask stupid questions like, “So you smell the wine and take a shot?”
There’s always a time when you don’t really know what people are supposed to do or how people actually consume alcohol.
8. Everyone magically forgets that you don’t drink, so you have to explain yourself every single week.
It’s a vicious cycle. Everyone forgets the next weekend, and the questions start all over again: Why you didn’t drink last weekend? Are you not that into things? Tell me again?
9. You have that one friend who offers to pay for your drink, even though you’ve told them you don’t drink a billion times.
You see them once in a while, and every time they offer to buy you a drink and get mad when you don’t drink it. How many times do you have to repeat yourself?
10. You dread the moment you have to tell a new person that you don’t drink because you know how they’ll respond.
“She doesn’t drink?”
“Oh. But you’re coming with us?”
“What will you do?”
“Oh, you’re the driver?”
11. You have to control your emotions when people say “that’s so boring.”
It’s so hard to resist rolling your eyes when people ask the dumbest things. I had a coworker once ask me how do I feel “elevated” if I don’t drink.
I wish I was joking.
12. You’re slowly uninvited from most parties because you don’t drink.
There comes a time when you stop going to parties because it’s just awkward and boring. Soon you’re automatically uninvited to all the parties.
13. Then you live your life with zero hangovers and lonely weekends.
Just kidding, I enjoy not drinking.
I’d rather have a meaningful conversation with a long-lost friend over coffees or a hearty meal with the family than go out to get wasted.
But hey, no judgment here. If you’re a teetotaler like myself, don’t be afraid. If you’re not, cool.
In the famous words of Kevin G, “Don’t let the haters stop you from doing your thang.”