There are some things you just should never say to a non-drinker.
The reason WHY someone is choosing not to drink is private to them and varies from recovery, diet choice, religious reasons, or just because they don’t like alcohol. If you don’t want to appear ignorant, inconsiderate, or embarrassing to yourself, consider refraining from the following:
- Come on, you can have just one! – Having just one is like having 10 for the person. Would you tell an obese person to have a donut? Would you like a hot poker in your eye? No, you wouldn’t so please refrain from telling a person they can have anything. It’s not your place.
- Did you get arrested or something? – Why would you assume that they’re not drinking because something bad happened? And if something did, is it really your business anyhow?
- Is it for religious reasons? – Okay, this is just off-limits. This is similar to asking about their choice in politics. Please don’t go there if you don’t want to risk an awkward conversation.
- Are you pregnant? – This is another severe no-no for SO many reasons. One, if the lady is a little bloated, this is the absolute worst insult you can say to a woman. Second, if she is unable to get pregnant, or has a personal story tied to this topic, you will risk crushing her spirits even lower. Please, don’t ever ask a woman this question, EVER.
- So you’re driving then, right? – Please do not assume that they want to be the official Uber for the evening. This is called assumption, and we know what that means spelled out, capiche?
- Are you in recovery or something? – This is off-limits 100%. If they truly are in recovery and wish to share, they will tell you but otherwise, this is another big no-no.
- I’m so proud of you!!! – What are you proud of? The person not swallowing ethanol poisoning? Or that they are able to withstand society’s pressure to not drink? Hhmmm, this is an interesting one. Be careful with this if you don’t know the person. This can really
- What do you do for fun then? Sound boring! – Nowhere is it written that one must partake in consuming alcohol in order to have fun. It makes NO sense at all.
- Do you mind if I drink? – They don’t care if you drink. Please just don’t breathe on them or get sloppy drunk. Then they will mind, but only because they don’t have the patience for stupidity.
- You don’t look like you have a problem. – Did they say they had a problem? And if they did, what does one look like that does have a problem? You don’t need to live under a bridge. Gray area drinkers, for example, are very high functioning and live what appears a very normal life. There should be no judgment on what one should look like that chooses not to drink.
- Don’t ya miss it? – Miss what? Drinking poison? No, they don’t miss blacking out, saying the wrong thing, having hangovers, feeling lethargic, or the extra calories. If they did, the last question you should ask is if they feel like they’re missing out on something. If anything, they may have experienced gaining much joy, happiness, and peace in their life and wouldn’t forfeit that for anything, especially a drink.
- How do you relax and unwind if you don’t drink? – Society has done a great job of convincing us that we “need” alcohol in order to relax. This is false. Meditation, hot baths, reading a book, exercise, music, breathwork, journaling, and self-care is how one can relax.
- You’ll be able to drink one day again, right? – First of all, does anyone know what will happen tomorrow, let alone in the future? No. To assume a person would choose to drink again is a personal choice for that individual. For those in recovery or battling addiction, their focus is one day at a time. For others, it’s a decision that only they can make on what feels right for them.
Now that you know what NOT to say, what can you say that would be appropriate or encouraging?
It’s very simple -nothing except offering the person something else to drink.
There is nothing to fuss about, ask about, or bring about. It simply is not a big deal unless you make it one.
When society can stop the expectance of drinking and learn to have the acceptance of those choosing not to drink, we can begin to make great strides towards positive change. Consuming alcohol is not a prerequisite of fun or celebration.
Let’s concentrate on connecting with others for who they are, not what they hold in their hand.