8 Tips For Drinking Less Without Your Friends Knowing

by | Aug 6, 2012

Photo by David Long

I have nothing against people who like to party. Partying is really fun, and a lot of the time I’m right there leading the crusade.

But we all know those people who really like to drink, and like to do it often. Not only do these guys take their own drinking a little too far, they’re experts at pressuring others to keep up with them drink-for-drink. And they’ll use mockery, guilt, generosity, logic, peer pressure and dozens of other tactics to get everyone around them to keep the party going.

These friends are fun to have, until they aren’t. As fun as it is to party, sometimes you want to go out and have a good time without regretting it the next day. Hangovers have their time and place, but when you have real responsibilities it is nice to have a way to hit it a little less hard, preferably without drawing attention to your secret plan.

Feel free to mix and match these tricks, different situations call for different lines of defense.

8 Tips For Drinking Less Without Your Friends Knowing

1. Alternate with water

This is a tried and true way to both cut back on alcohol and stay hydrated, thereby preventing a hangover. Every drink or two, go to the bar and ask for some water. You don’t need to make excuses for this, you’re thirsty and will get another drink in a second. Just be sure to finish the waters and feel free to take your time.

2. Drink clear liquids

Clear liquids like gin and vodka look like melting ice. So if you don’t want to finish every drink that comes your way, you can always leave a little extra in your old glass and no one will notice you aren’t tossing back as many as they are.

3. Order drinks that look like alcohol (but aren’t)

Another advantage of clear liquids. Vodka soda with lime is my favorite go-to drink on late nights, and it’s awesome for several reasons. Besides being easily palatable and sugar free, you also have the option of leaving out the vodka all together. Just order a club soda with lime and ask the bartender to make it look like a cocktail—they’re usually more than happy to comply.

4. Be forgetful

You don’t have to be limited to clear liquids to abandon the occasional half-full glass. Leave your drink on the bar, in the bathroom, on a random table or anywhere it won’t attract attention. That way when someone offers you another, you’re ready.

5. Drink light beer

If you’re a beer drinker and all this clear liquid talk is making you squirm, never fear. There is a huge difference in alcohol content of beers, with light beers coming in around 4% alcohol and some fancy Belgians topping out at over 10%. You do the math.

If you know you’ll have to get through more than you’ve bargaining for, opt for lighter beers. If you’re like me and think Bud Light tastes like donkey pee, go with a Mexican beer like Corona and add a lime. I can drink those all night and barely get a buzz going—and I’m little.

6. Master the shot spit

Drinking nights often don’t turn crazy until someone starts ordering shots, then it’s all over. Bartenders have this problem too, since drunk people often think they’ve found a new best friend and gratefully buy their server shots throughout the night. To avoid getting hammered on the job, bartenders keep a half empty pint of beer nearby and pretend to use it as a chaser but really spit shots back into it.

If you know your friends are likely to “surprise” everyone with shots be sure to have a nearby water glass or pint that you’re nursing. Use the old bartenders’ trick and no one will suspect. I know it’s gross, but it works. Just remember to not actually drink the beer later.

7. Show up late

Sometimes special occasions are specifically set aside for excessive drinking. If you need to make an appearance but would rather not sacrifice your liver, show up 45-60 minutes late. Everyone will already be one drink ahead of you.

8. Order half shots

If you’re in charge of ordering your own drinks and vodka soda isn’t your thing, ask for your regular cocktail but request a half shot instead of the normal full. You’ll still get the fun of drinking, but each drink will contribute less to tomorrow’s headache.

What are your favorite tricks for drinking less without your friends knowing?

Originally published June 29, 2011.

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89 Responses to “8 Tips For Drinking Less Without Your Friends Knowing”

  1. I definitely use the clear liquid-watered down drink trick and showing up late (though sometimes not totally on purpose – LOL!). Love the half shot concept. I do something along those lines – at parties where you can mix your own drink, I add only a splash of alcohol for taste.

  2. Jens says:

    Oh boy… what about finding some new friends that don’t force you to drink more than you like?

    • Lisa says:

      My thoughts exactly.

      Real friends don’t pressure you to drink.

    • jollyroger99 says:

      Yeah how to be a complete phony

    • julia says:

      Totally my thoughts…why pretend? If I don’t want to drink I won’t. And whilst my friends will ask if I want another drink I never get pressured into drinking when I don’t want to. Sounds like some people need to learn the art of assertiveness. :/

    • Simon says:

      @Jens – don’t take this post so seriously. it’s more fun with a little bit of truth

  3. A says:

    Method #9: Learn to say, “No thanks, I’m not much of a drinker.”

  4. dave says:

    once I got out of college, I didn’t feel the need to bend to the peer pressure…

  5. Imogen says:

    How do you get out of excessive drinking?
    I avoid parties that are just about getting as pissed as possible, I order soda – either the whole evening or when I feel I’ve had enough alcohol, and I leave when the others are too drunk for a conversation.
    Can you tell I’m not a party animal? 😉

    Seriously though: I’ve never felt the need to hide the fact that I don’t like getting drunk (though I do make exceptions occasionally ;)).

  6. Chris says:

    I don’t drink, that’s how I get out of excessive drinking. Not to sound prudish here, but it’s part of my cancer-fighting routine. Besides, I have just as much fun (or more) and can remember what I did the night before.

    Great tips otherwise, Darya. But it’s a shame we have to hide our techniques to avoid over-drinking. Shouldn’t we just be open about our intent to not over-drink?

    • Darya Pino says:

      That would be nice, but explaining things like that to drunk people is generally a losing battle. 🙂

      • You’re right, Darya: “explaining things like that to drunk people is generally a losing battle.” Doesn’t sound like fun. Which is why, whether they’re in their 20s or their 40s, if they’re getting drunk I’m out of there! I’d rather spend time with people capable of having intelligent conversation.

  7. Evin Cooper says:

    This should be in every college handbook! I wish I’d had this 15 years ago. Now days a simple “I’m driving” works. I guess we’re getting old. I’m going to print this out and give it to my niece who’s starting high school. No one wants to admit it but HS and college kids drink more than most people of legal drinking age.

    • Bob says:

      “I’m driving” works great. I’m a guy who likes beer. Have I overdone it? Yes. Have I been the guy to be the “buzz kill”? Yes. If your friends respect you, the’ll respect what you have to say. Don’t be afraid to say “nah, I’m good”… you’ll be alright

  8. Sarah Anne says:

    This isn’t just a college trick or a you need to find new friends thing.. I have been to plenty of office happy hours for large corporations where you are looked upon as kind of a buzz-kill by higher ups if you turn down shots they are buying or drinks, etc. Is this the best position to be in? No. Is it really that professional to be expected to drink to fit in with the VPs or CEOs? No. But I’m just saying there have been times when these tips would have come in handy. Pretty solid post!

  9. Bobbie says:

    For the beer drinkers: At house parties I often have a beer, and then refill the (usually brown or green) bottle with water. This works even better if you have a coozie around the bottle!
    I am over 40 and agree that many in my age group are hitting the booze pretty hard! But they are still fun people and I want to be around them, I just don’t need conversations to revolve around how much I am or am not drinking. It’s not an issue for me, it’s an issue for them. I don’t believe that these techniques mean I need new friends or that I am succumbing to peer pressure, I’m just taking care of myself.

    • Dan says:

      You’re a genius

    • Yvonne says:

      I think it’s hard to admit to yourself or to your “friends” as you get older that a social gathering is not an excuse to drink to excess…just to have a good time! It is all about choices. We tend to take the easy road out to avoid confrontation or being labeled as the party-pooper! I agree that you have to take care of yourself but, don’t be an enabler so that you still get invited out. You might need to evaluate why your association with these people is so important to you…just saying!

  10. Neil says:

    I like the blog, but not this post. Why not just politely refuse drinks you don’t want? Most people won’t keep buying them for you if you’re just going to let them sit there.

    Two, three, four and eight are wastes of money and four is very rude to the host if done at a house. I hate having to pour out dozens of half full drinks the morning after throwing a party.

    • KP says:

      I can’t believe so many people here are just repeating the same thing about saying no and finding new friends and complaining about this post. The post is helpful and good advice for people that find themselves in the position of n ending to appear to drink to keep the fun going. If you don’t then good for you but for the rest of us can you please allow others to share their good ideas! In my case I find pouring the shot into a plant pot or drink on the table is easier than spitting! Or drinking beer bottles while others are on pints. Or pouring away beer from a bottle and drinking the rest slowly- better in a dark bottle. Great post-thanks

  11. Mika says:

    I have friends who loooove to celebrate the weekend with booze and food that I always regret later.

    I’m working on saying no but unfortunately I get a negative vibes from friends because they can’t help but feel guilty for drinking/eating this stuff when they know they shouldn’t.

    It’s not easy when you’re trying to lose weight and you’re around people who uses food to cope with their emotions.

    Thanks for the tips though:)

    • Yvonne says:

      That is so true! It makes you feel guilty because, you are trying to take care of yourself. It’s almost like their goal is to sabotage yours.

  12. KristinD says:

    Great post! I always drink vodka+club soda+splash of cranberry. It’s very refreshing, isn’t “heavy” like other mixed drinks, or too sweet. I used to drink rum & coke all the time – then I realized 1 rum and coke has upwards of 150 calories per glass, and tons of sugar. Vodka soda’s are much less calories, and you have the bonus of not drinking sugary soda pop. (Trying to quit!)

  13. Barb says:

    I am a complete abstainer, and pretty proud of it. I will no more be pressured, humiliated or guilted into drinking any more than I could be pressured, humiliated or guilted into into swallowing poison.
    I would never apply that much pressure to make someone do my bidding, and I keep friends who have those same values.

  14. Rhiannon says:

    It’s funny how much people DO pressure you, and their strange reactions when you say you’re not drinking.

    I’ve just started a 3 month stint of no booze – it’s a program called Hello Sunday Morning which was started by a guy here in Brisbane, Australia – which encourages people to take a 3 month break from drinking culture and find out what life is like without a hangover.
    Australians are known for their binge drinking, and this is a movement to try and move towards a better drinking culture.

    When I tell someone I’m not drinking, I get everything from shock, disappointment, and even a bit of aggression. Mostly they just can’t understand WHY I would choose to be sober.

    But mostly it’s been my own reactions – I thought I would struggle to socialise without a drink in hand, and I do feel like something is missing for the first hour or so. Then everyone else starts getting drunk and silly and I can usually just go along with the group vibe and get silly too. But I love being able to hold conversations with people, and not get distracted all the time. AND remember the conversations in the morning!

    I definitely use your suggestion about the Soda & Lime – it makes me feel like I’m having a Vodka, Lime & Soda… it tastes the same! I had a virgin mojito the other night and it was super tasty even without the alcohol – all the lime and sugar syrup, you didn’t even miss the alcohol in it.

  15. Joe says:

    I respectfully disagree with those who take exception to this advice. As one of those over-40 professionals I can tell you that there are many situations where, right or wrong, not “keeping up with the big dogs” is considered a weakness, and can be potentially career-damaging. I have used techniques 1-4 to great success at some ridiculous conventions, and I’m glad to have a few more to add to my repertoire.

    And sure, if you’re among good friends, they’ll understand that you just started working out and eating right in January after 40+ years of sitting on your butt watching TV and you’re still trying to lose those final 20 pounds and nothing seems to work and guzzling booze is not going to help anything, so they’ll lay off and let you drink the club soda. Clients and top-level management that want you to throw back the shots with them, though? Usually not as understanding.

    Great article.

  16. Allie says:

    Really great post. I usually go with the club soda and lime, but am usually disappointed when it arrives in a plastic cup. I never even thought to ask to make it look like a cocktail…

  17. EmilyKate says:

    Loved this article, and had to laugh at Rhiannon’s comment above- as a fellow Aussie I can attest to the often playful but still difficult to counter aggression the moderate drinker can experience on a night out! I’ve generally got no problem with joining the enthusiastic drinkers but for the times when I can’t or don’t want to keep up, these are fiendishly clever tactics!

  18. em says:

    I love this article. I wish I had read this years ago!! Great advice i’ll be sharing with all the teens in my life (and ad execs, tradesmen, rec sports league enthusiasts etc). Great job!

    People throw the term moderation around quite freely, with regard to food and drink etc. But i really think your blog might be the first place i’ve seen practical steps outlined to acheive that goal. Well done.

  19. Eleanor says:

    Wow, a fascinating discussion. I guess we never really outgrow peer pressure. The sad thing about our culture is that you’re considered socially incorrect if you don’t feel like wrecking your health. If you replace “drinking” with “eating crap” the situation is much the same. People take it personally when you don’t want to join them in their junk food binge. I’ve taken slices of bad birthday cake and eaten one bite and surreptitiously slid the plate into the garbage. Why do we feel the need to hide our healthy habits or defend them against ridicule?

    • Natalie says:

      Very true. Is it polite to refuse a drink or a piece of birthday cake? Probably not, but am I respecting myself when I say yes?
      For junk food, my way out is to say that I have food sensitivities and unfortunately cannot eat it.

    • Mika says:

      As human nature, we don’t like to offend or hurt other people but at the same time we can’t risk our own integrity. It’s so hard to stay in commitment with your goals when other people judge you because your not eating/drinking something.

      My close friend and I use to scope with our stress by binging on delicious cakes and cookies. I am taking responsibility of my own weight, recently joined a gym and constantly striving to have better eating habits.

      Unfortunately, when my good friend and I hang out, I feel pressured to have a tasty treat with her and when I tell her no, she says she understands but I can’t help but feel negative vibes radiating out of her.

      I think when people pressure you to do something and you don’t, it makes them question their own self and it’s easier get upset at you than address the root of their own issues.

    • Yvonne says:

      Very well put…I agree totally! Enough with all the sweet treats at work.

  20. Jen da purse ho says:

    I just tell ppl I don’t like to drink. My friends know I will have only 1 drink, 2 max. I do get a lot of pressure for that first drink though. But if I don’t feel like it, I just flat out say I’m not in the mood and they leave me alone. I’ve also said ‘ my one drink is my dessert’ bc I tend to favor sweet drinks 😉

    It’s kind of shocking how pushy ppl get about social drinking.

  21. Judi says:

    It’s easy to tell people to ‘just say no’, but when you’re in the situation it can be a different matter entirely. I’m not shy about saying no to people, but sometimes it’s just not worth it.
    I had a friend that used to buy me drinks even when I would say no repeatedly. My solution was to go to the bathroom and dump 3/4 out and carry the rest around for a while.

  22. Matt says:

    When drinking canned beer I like to just hold on to the empty beer a little longer. Nobody knows it is empty until you tell them. You can even pretend to drink beer from it if you need to.

  23. Michael says:

    Good post!

    I never considered #6 but this is basically what we do at industry wine tastings (spit into a bucket). If we didn’t we would be quiet buzzed after visiting just a few tables, which is what happened to me at first ever wine-tasting when I didn’t know the protocol. Fortunately my friend told me I needed to spit out the wine between tastes before things got too ugly. 🙂

    For those times when a hangover seems inevitable, here is a guide to preventing (or at least ameliorating) them: Hangover Cures

  24. Sara says:

    The reality is that drinking continues to be a big part of socializing well past the college and grad school years for many – I think especially for high energy folks and Type A’s and creatives who drink as a socially accepted way to relax and let loose. #3 is my trick of choice, Darya! 😉

  25. Amy says:

    I didn’t really get why anyone would need to resort to these kinds of tactics to get out of social drinking. I’ve never encountered that kind of pressure to drink after giving an unequivocal “No”. I get it now after reading the comments. I didn’t think about people who have a Mad Men thing going on at work; having to schmooze clients and remain in the inner circle with upper management.

    I notice a lot more pressure at work to take the birthday cake.

  26. Victor says:

    Grow a spine!

  27. Barb says:

    This is all a very sad commentary on the world we live in. We tell our kids to say “No!” to drugs, yet we bow to peer pressure to drink when we really don’t want to.

    I am a strong willed person, and have never felt that refusing a drink has hurt me on the friendship scene, the dating scene or has limited my career in any way. And, yes, I am familiar with senior management alcoholics.

    Maybe the next time you are feeling pressure to drink when you don’t want to, imagine that your 12 year old is watching you. What will you do??

    A very thought provoking blog post!

  28. Allie says:

    Thank you so much for this post.

    I’m just turning 21 in a few months, but already I’ve used tons of these tactics in college, *especially* the water alternating. People seriously cannot take it if you don’t seem as drunk as they are! I constantly get told “you’re totally not as drunk as me!” or “you’re not drunk!” when in reality what happens is when I feel myself getting too woozy I begin alternating drinks with lots of water. It seems like others just keep on pounding alcohol all night with no looking back. I like drinking sometimes in party settings, and I can really enjoy being buzzed, but once it tips into total drunkland I just hate it.

    I cringe at the thought of what it’ll be like in bars/company happy hours once I do turn 21.

  29. Samantha says:

    The judgement in these comments is kind of surprising. These are great tips for people who enjoy drinking, have a social group that enjoys drinking, and are still health-conscious. They are very helpful for me, and I have never had a problem saying no or sticking up for myself. If you don’t like alcohol or people who drink, just ignore.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Thanks Samantha,

      I was kind of surprised myself and have been thinking a lot about why so many people had negative reactions. My best guess is that most of them just don’t live the city/party lifestyle that a lot of us do. I love my friends and drinking with them is fun too, I just don’t want to do it all the time. So I think there’s a disconnect there. If I was just “not a big drinker” I don’t think I would hang out with the same people.

      Another commenter seemed to be most offended at the idea of wasting money, which is understandable but also not relevant in these kinds of social scenes. For the kind of people who buy a surprise round of shots for 25 people, money obviously isn’t an issue. But he brought up small house parties, which is not at all what I was thinking of. I was envisioning packed bars with dozens of friends.

      Just some of my thoughts… 🙂

      • Samantha says:

        I feel like when it comes to alcohol, there are three groups – non-drinkers/infrequent drinkers, enthusiastic but healthy drinkers, and people who drink too much. I think non-drinkers tend to place most of the enthusiastic drinkers in the too much group, which results in a totally different response to your article. It’s hard to understand if your social scene doesn’t function this way, but my friends and I have fun, and the fun involves alcohol. The “peer pressure” if I’m not drinking is more a concern that I’m not having fun than a push to chug a beer just for the hell of it.

      • Bunny says:

        I pretty much fall into the nondrinker/infrequent drinker category. This is because I have a recovering alcoholic & drug addict living in my house. Although the person has been “clean” for over 20 years, we don’t keep alcohol in the house. They have no problem with me drinking – it’s just that I feel it would be inconsiderate of me to have temptation around. Now, that being said, when I’m out with others, I do sometimes drink, and I certainly did my share of partying when I was younger. I do get what some people are saying about how their friends are concerned they aren’t having fun if they aren’t drinking. My problem with that is that people think you can’t be having fun if you aren’t drinking. Also, if you can’t say up front before the drinking starts “I’m cutting back tonight – big day tomorrow/on a diet/whatever reason” and that be accepted by your friends, there is something wrong with your friends. I understand trying to say that to someone who has already been drinking. I’m usually the designated driver since I’m so used to not drinking I don’t mind skipping it when out so I do know very well what it is like to reason with a drunk person. I just disagree that you should have to pretend to drink to keep your friends from being jerks. Except for those with actual drinking problems, even hard partyers have times when they don’t want to drink as much. At some point, it’s going to be one of your friends instead of you. It’s beyond me that’s something that you can’t communicate beforehand and it be understood. I guess I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that you think people can’t be reasonable if you are just honest up front.

        I think for those people who work for companies that put them in situations where they are pressured to drink more than they want that these are great suggestions. I can’t imagine working for those kind of people – I’m very lucky. I work for an organization with over 10,000 employees. I’ve been to plenty of social occassions with the higher ups – all the way up to CEO – and have never been pressured to drink anything. I don’t know if it is because of the values of my organization, the fact that we are in the south (although many of our officers are not from the south) or the fact that they are just more professional. There is alcohol at the events but never, never, never any requirement to drink. Getting drunk at a work function is a big no-no.

        I think some of these comments about getting new friends or growing a spine are unfair. But, on the other hand, those of us who don’t think you should have to do this with your friends aren’t all clueless of the situation or culture – we just can’t understand why you would want to work so hard to keep drunk people, who aren’t going to remember the next day, happy about how much you appear to be drinking when up front honesty would be easier.

      • Darya Pino says:

        Hi Bunny,

        Thanks for your thoughtful comment. To answer you question, I think sometimes it’s just not worth it. For example, a lot of the time it just seems like a regular night then someone gets the brilliant idea to buy a round of shots for everyone, or just hands you a drink and says how happy they are about something. An explanation of why you don’t want to drink it is way more work (and a buzzkill to the person) than just sharing the toast, having a sip then letting the glass sit there and letting someone clean it up later. Honestly it feels a lot less rude.

        I went out last night and a bunch of my friends had read this post and totally busted me with my “vodka soda” that was really water. I explained that I had already had some beers at the park earlier and needed water, and no one was a jerk about it. It’s just a lot of unnecessary work to have that conversation every time I decided to pass on a round. Later in the night beers were just magically appearing in front of me. I “lost” a few of mine on the crowded table, and no one noticed. By the end of the night there were a lot of very drunk people, and I wasn’t one of them, but I had a blast and feel great today.

      • KP says:

        Ignore the negative comments. They should just move on to another post because this is not for them. For me, it very useful advice in the very real world we live in in the U.K.

  30. Awesome post and totally agree with previous comment – people who are drinking lots are doing it to have fun (not to kill themselves!) and they just think if you arent drinking, you arent having as much fun (and possibly likely to remember a bit too much of what they say 😉 )
    From my perspective this post is super relevant because my going out habits have changed a lot since I started studying nutrition. Whereas I used to be more than up for washing down cocktails with sambruca’s and bringing my own bottle of vodka to a house party, its a LOT less fun when you’ve been writing an essay on liver function all afternoon. However, just because Ive changed doesnt mean my friends have to OR that I should change my group of friends. My friends would never FORCE me to drink – or even be aware that they were pressuring me at all – but people feel weird having a few cocktails and buying you rounds of water. I get that. Even though I dont drink crazy amounts much anymore, if I am going for a large glass of wine I would much prefer to share a bottle with some friends, than chug on my spritzer whilst they sip some herbal tea. Drinking is an indulgence and people like sharing indulgences, or it kind of spoils the fun.
    My usual approach though is just to drink slowly and say something like ‘Ive just been such a lightweight lately, I feel drunk after two drinks and Im going to try to pace myself’ ‘I feel light-headed already – can I just have a few sips of yours?’ or maybe ‘Im going to go the bar in a bit, I drank a lot last weekend and want to tame it down now’. I dont consider myself spineless or my friends corrupt- Ive just changed a bit, but I want us all to be able to hang out without them feeling weird about it. People often end up waiting for the round with me! Occasionally I will say ‘Ive just been doing this research into alcohol and the liver and its put me off drinking much except on super special occasions’. If people are interested I tell them more and if they look alarmed I shut up! 🙂
    Its a lot like eating more healthily. If someone else is ordering stuffed potato skins and you get a greek salad and they say ‘Is that all youre getting?’ you would never say ‘I dont eat fried food thank you very much, please dont make me feel about it’ or stop hanging out with friends who eat like that. You would probably say ‘Im trying to cut down’, ‘I ate a lot last weekend’ or maybe ‘The more I read about nutrition the less im able enjoy things like that anymore – its such a pain :)’. If they want to know more you can tell them otherwise you keep quiet.
    You dont have to order the stuffed potato skins as well, but you want them to enjoy their meal. People tone down loads of changes they make – from being healthier, to the fact that they are now earning more money. It would be great if everyone could be happy for you making changes to be healthier, more mature or more successful but human nature doenst always work like that and I think we need to accept that on some level!
    So now you know ALL my thoughts on the matter 😉 xox ps – my husband works in social media and he HAS to drink with work – no ands if or buts about it, so Im going to pass this post on….

    • I did not realise it was going to be that long – sorry!

    • Darya Pino says:

      “It would be great if everyone could be happy for you making changes to be healthier, more mature or more successful but human nature doesn’t always work like that and I think we need to accept that on some level!”

      TOTALLY agree. I’ve realized a lot of people aren’t even happy to hear when anything is going well if they aren’t in the same position. That doesn’t mean we need to stop being their friend though.

  31. Angela R says:

    If I don’t feel like drinking I offer to be the driver. Even my pushiest friends back off. I think everyone agrees someone needs to be reasponsible when it comes to driving. (we aren’t in a big city with cab service)

  32. jodie s says:

    How awesome life will be when people accept that alcohol is a poisen to our system and that drinking is not necessary for fun or relaxation!

  33. Valerie says:

    Its funny i ran across this post because i JUST went out with a friend who is NOTORIOUS for doing this. It was her birthday but she is a single 26 year old female , and i am a no so single, new mom of a 5 month old son….so, I REALLY cannot afford a DUI or any other problems that occur from over drinking. I met her at 7 and we had drinks until 10, (I had 3)…she kept pressuring me to do shots and I had to say no about 4 times…accompanied by “are you sure” “are you sure”? YES IM SURe. This is why i limit my appearance when it comes to alcohol settings such as bars, night clubs etc. even though i still have friends that are going. I am glad to see there are some other options. Lets just hope she doesnt ask to taste what im drinking when i try it and catch me! lol

    It is very sad how people pressure you into drinking alcohol. If you care about the people you are with and KNOW they are driving home and over the age of 21, why would you encourage them to potentially put themselves in harms way? ugh, grow up people.

  34. Meliza says:

    This is why I smoke weed. Ha.

    This is a handy list though! Obviously, I’m not much of a drinker but I have a couple of friends, and about 98% of my family, who are. Seriously, my earliest memories of my birthday parties as a kid always involved piñatas and booze. Always.
    For the most part, it’s not a big deal for me to just decline a drink. However, this list would have saved me a ton of trouble and headaches with it’s stealthy tips instead of just giving in to the shot from that one guy, WHO ALWAYS ENDS UP BUYING A ROUND OF SHOTS AT THE END OF THE NIGHT NO MATTER WHAT. That guy’s fun though.

  35. Mike Pierce says:

    Great article but as for number 5… I think Corona tastes like Donkey pee too. There are quite a few tasty low alcohol beers with real flavor available, especially here on the west coast. Here’s link to 15 beers, lower in alcohol and higher in flavor than industrial beers like Corona: http://huff.to/Q5i4jN

    Thanks again for all you do and keep up the great work. Cheers!

    • Rob J says:

      Glad you guys know what donkey pee tastes like. I don’t. I’m a Keystone Light drinker. Low(er) alcohol, lower cost. And I don’t get those weird headaches that the foo foo snooty Belgian beers give me. To mine own self being true! 🙂

      Just sitting back, waiting for the tables to turn, when recreational pot smoking becomes legal again, and alcohol, addictive and overdose-able, becomes illegal again.

      I had a friend way back when, he used to take his beer with him to go pee, and he once got caught dumping his beer. He never heard the end of the ridicule. Deep in my own heart, I totally understood what he was doing and why. But back then, I wasn’t being true. We were a bunch of a-holes. Good to be grown up.

  36. Charlotte says:

    Interesting tips! I’d like to know what I should be drinking (if I want some variation to vodka soda with lime) that is healthy and as low as possible in sugar. I don’t mind a drink or two, but what are my best choices when it comes to red vs. white wine, beer and other mixed drinks? What’s lowest in sugar? Thanks!

  37. Mugician13 says:

    I agree with all of ’em except #4. If you’re abandoning half your drink to avoid drinking it altogether, you’re wasting money [either yours or the person who was trying to curry favor by buying it for you]. If that’s the case, saying “not ready for another yet” is always the better option.

    And I hope I don’t need to say that stashing a drink for a while, with the intent of coming back to it later, is a bad idea. You could come back to it to find a cigarette butt floating in it [and you may not realize this until after you’ve swallowed the first gulp], or at worst, you could end up getting “roofied.”

  38. Sharon says:

    There is no need to pretend anything. Simply decline and drink what you want. To thine own self be true for goodness sake!

  39. Madison Marbury says:

    Is this article in anyway related to Kevin’s well known behavior in this area?

  40. Sarah says:

    Love the the post and all the comments! 🙂 Keeping me occupied at work today.. LOL

  41. Felicia says:

    I know it’s an old post but it’s awesome! I’m headed to a hens night in a week and I don’t want to be a buzz kill, (a previous comment suggested a relaxing evening with intelligent conversation) IT’S A HENS NIGHT! I’m going home to three small children and plan on being respectable thankyou, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to make everyone else feel judged or make a spectacle of myself by not appearing to be joining on all the games and challenges. No my friends are not crazy pushy drunk people, but IT’S A HENS NIGHT! Thanks for the tips, I also would like to add that red bull gives you wings and you can pretend there’s vodka in it 😉

  42. kim says:

    You can also carry around a glass of red wine (white wine will eventually start to look warm, so doesn’t work as well) and just not drink it all evening if it’s a bit of a mingling sort of do.

    I agree that sometimes you need to be seen to be drinking to fit in at a corporate function. People get suspicious of your motivation for staying sober otherwise.

  43. Brian says:

    Say to your friends via phone or text “im not sure if im going out, i will let you know later”. You can weigh up the scene, the people they are going out with, the location and the general vibe and then decide if you want to go out or not. If you do want to go out just drive to where they are, hopefully some place local (it usually is). Hi, nice to meet you here, im driving so no drinks for me thanks 🙂
    Theres always that one nagging friend that suggests you park up the car in town and then they offer to give you a lift into town for the car the next day. This is a royal pain in the ass because if you do leave your car in town, you have succumbed to their incessant nagging and ultimately given yourself added hassle the next day. After i drive in, I stay in the bar/nightclub (wherever my friends are) and inform them that i might depart early and not to be depending on me for a lift home. This might seem very selfish but its genius. It means you get an extra 2 hours in bed. Reasons being you dont have to wait on your friends to leave the disco, get their coat, get food (usually a long queue) and then the real killer, to drive everyone home.
    Im a 25 year old male and ive tried every trick in the book but this is the only one that works for me. If you buy a beer, then your friend buys the next one and before you know it, you are doing rounds of beer. I usually go to the bathroom, empty the bottle down the sink, fill it up with water and sip it till the next one. Only works with stained dark glass like Budweiser or Coors though. I dont do this anymore, i just have the one and thats it.

  44. Rico says:

    Great Post… period. Learned a few new tricks in my fight against myself.

  45. Alexandra says:

    This is a great article and I love how practical the advice is. A few additional tips…
    * Don’t drink sweet drinks, if your drink doesn’t taste as good you will drink slower
    * Try to stay occupied by dancing or playing pool, don’t let your night revolve around drinking.
    * Limit how much money/alcohol you bring with you so you have to pace yourself.

  46. laura says:

    I am a drinker. I go out evevry week with my friends and have a great time BUT alot of my friends are real heavy drinkers. See were Irish and drinking is our culture. We have real bad weather and people live literally for the weekend. Anyways I have this one friend who really likes to pressure you into drinking shots not just me everyone but I hate shots. Last time I only drank half the shot and threw the rest away but what annoys me is that she doesn’t drink vodka but I don’t pressure her. She has this hold over people and I feel I am the only one seeing it?

  47. dave says:

    shots? I explain that they don’t want to be around me for those because they “come back up as fast aas they go down”. No one asks a second time. 😉

  48. Andrew says:

    I liked reading your article. I have become a lot more social which has resulted in a lot more drinking. I did bend to peer-pressure, and what did I get? A lot of weight gain!
    So now I am back to non/minimal-drinking.. Anyway I just think it’s funny how people seem to care what’s in my glass (diet cola or beer, why is it a concern of theirs?)..

  49. ali says:

    i stopped drinking for over a year in college and nobody really noticed. whether you want to be moderate or completely abstain, it’s almost easier in a college / house party setting: get a red cup, put whatever you want in it, sip and refill at your pace.

    then learn to say, “no thanks + …
    … i’ll get my own in a sec.”
    … i’m about to make a drink.”
    … i’m good right now.”

    anyone that i wanted to know about my plan, i told while we were both sober and far from heading to a party. never had any issues.

    i’m also not above throwing out a little tmi, especially when being pestered by male friends: “i get drunk a lot faster on my period, so i’m pacing myself.” unless the person is really gone, that tends to stop all future pestering too. (but this is totally not for a work setting!)

  50. bghanoush says:

    Sorry Chris, but you DO sound a bit prudish. There’s no need to avoid friends who consume alcohol just because you have a different limit than they do. And there’s no need to avoid alcohol altogether, assuming you don’t have a overindulgence problem with it. Moderate drinking is purportedly beneficial for heart health, as well as being enjoyable and sociable.

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