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Respectfully Yours: Declining alcohol

Dear Jacquelyn, The one thing that sets me apart from my friends is I do not drink alcohol. A big part of my problem is feeling awkward in social situations. Is there a casual, polite response I could say when someone asks why I’m not drinking?

Dear Reader, Not everyone chooses to include drinking in their lifestyle and it is possible to say no to alcohol in a polite way.

There’s absolutely no reason to feel awkward. Not everyone drinks alcohol.

People decline alcoholic beverages for a variety of reasons. It could be they are the designated driver for the night or maybe there are health reasons.

You might try instead to focus on the reason you are at the social event: to connect with friends.

Traditional wisdom in social affairs is that people shouldn’t ask why you aren’t drinking. But people will be people and some of them will you ask anyway.

If you happen to be feeling courageous, simply say, “I don’t drink.” This should shut down any further discussion.

If you feel uncomfortable saying that you don’t drink, it can be helpful to have a casual response ready. You could clearly say, “I’m good for now.” or “I am going to pass.”

You may not always feel like dealing with questions and confrontation.

An easy remedy would be to order a beverage that resembles an alcoholic drink such as cranberry juice with a slice of fruit or a club soda with lime.

Don’t let something like the fact that you are not going to drink be a barrier to enjoyable social interactions. Continue to participate in events, enjoy yourself and those in your company.

There’s no reason to keep the attention on what is or isn’t in your glass.

Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2019 Jacquelyn Youst