John Sparks

How To Be Social Without Having To Be a Social Drinker

Social Drinker
Image Credit – Olga Sapegina/

It’s that time of year – Christmas is around the corner and New Year’s Eve is just a short time after that. And there’s a good chance you’re going to get invited to a holiday party in the next couple of weeks, however, these parties can be tricky if you are not a social drinker. Many of these parties will be filled with spirits, bubbly, and booze. How can you attend some of these parties and still have a good time even if you happen to be someone who doesn’t like to drink alcohol for whatever reason?

5 Ways You Can Be Social Without Being a Social Drinker

1. Plan Ahead

Attend the party with someone else you know who doesn’t drink. Perhaps you bring a guest who doesn’t like to drink or you find someone else on the guest list you already know who doesn’t drink, and plan to spend time at the party with them. This way you won’t feel as awkward and you’ll be able to enjoy yourself more.

2. Learn How to Be Effective at Mingling with Social Drinkers

Even though you’re not a social drinker there are most likely going to be social drinkers at the party. One way to effectively mingle with social drinkers involves “mirroring” or echoing your asset’s stance to build rapport. At parties where drinking is involved or even regular networking events, mirroring is an effective skill to use in any situation when your asset may or may not be in your tribe.

3. Volunteer to Help at the Event

Many party organizers could use an extra hand in making their event a success. Many organizers need help with everything from being a door greeter, checking people in at the event, working the coat/hat check, selling food and drink tickets, issuing wrist bands to underage attendees, etc. If you’re working at the event, you have an excuse not to be drinking. Contact the organizer before the event and ask to help.

4. Be Truthful with the Social Drinker About Why You Don’t Drink

Perhaps you don’t like the taste, were once a heavy drinker that kicked the habit, or have witnessed first-hand what the effects of alcohol can do. Whatever the case is you have a story to share. Don’t be timid or afraid to share this when others ask you. Being honest might even set an example to others that they might kick the habit too. Depending on your personality, how good others know you, and who you are talking to you can try to have a little fun with your answer. Perhaps you try using a one-liner like, “I used to drink all brands of beer. Now, I am older Budweiser!”

5. Know When It’s Best to Say No

Many times, you can tell what the focus of the party is going to be from the title of the event. There’s a good chance a “Holiday Wine Tasting Party” is going to have wine on the menu. If you really don’t know the people at the event and you decide not to drink you might be setting yourself up to come across as a social disaster. Why put yourself in that position? Understand that every event is not for everyone. Express appreciation for being invited while politely declining the invitation. Ask to be notified about future/upcoming events.

Whether you are a social drinker or not, there is no reason you should have to miss all the festivities of the holiday parties. Having fun with friends and family should be the focus of any party and not the social drinking. So the next time you get an invitation, say yes and enjoy the holiday season!

Get more networking tips like these in my book 365 Ideas To Go From Good To Great At NETWORKING! now available on Amazon.

What other tips do you have on being social without being a social drinker? We want to hear your thoughts. Let us know in the comments section below.

John Sparks

John Sparks (@IAmJohnSparks) has been recognized nationally as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer and one of the Top 50 Most Valuable Social Media Influencers. His new book “365 Ideas To Go From Good To Great At NETWORKING!” is available on Amazon.

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