Why is it taboo to turn down an alcoholic drink?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Stelliform, Dec 20, 2003.

  1. Stelliform macrumors 68000


    Oct 21, 2002
    Here is my situation. I don't drink. I never had, and I probably never will. I don't want to. Nuf said.

    However, when I am anywhere and someone offers me a drink, they almost get offended when I turn it down. They almost act like I can't be trusted because I will not share a drink with them. If they offered me a coke, and I turn it down they do not react the same way as when I don't want a drink. They do not ask me why I don't drink cola, or why I am not interested in the cola. (like they ask me about alcohol.)

    If I tell people that there isn't a firm reason why I don't want to drink, they get even more confused like everybody should like to drink. I just don't like drinking. I don't feel to push myself to start drinking. I haven't missed it, so why start? It is easier to tell people I am an alcoholic (even though I am not) and can't drink than to continually tell them no. They understand alcoholism, but they cannot understand an adult who doesn't want to drink.

    So I guess what I am posing to the MR community, why is drinking alcohol different than drinking cola? Why are you not supposed to turn down alcohol, yet you can turn down a cola? Why do people look at me like I can't be trusted when I say no thanks to a beer?

    Sorry, I just had to get that off of my chest as the holidays approach, I know I will be turning down a few offers. And I am hoping since the drunk thread is so popular around here, maybe you guys could shed some light on this for me. I certainly haven't figured it out in the decade I have been turning down alcohol.
  2. alxths macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2003
    It's just a social activity. In our culture, people who feel relatively comfortable with each other drink alcohol to relax and converse more easily together... I'm guessing that people get offended because either: a, to them, saying no to a drink feels like saying no to a common social ritual; or b, they feel awkward drinking alone... Maybe when you say you dont want a drink, they interpret it partly as "it's not appropriate to drink now," and thus feel like the're being accused of being improper or somethin.

    Actually, one could go on for hours speculating about all the possible factors involved, but i think it's 90% the first point I mentioned.
  3. skymaXimus macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2003
    Some of them might feel you're coping a "holier than thou" attitude. And that you think you're better than them cuz you don't drink.
  4. Stelliform thread starter macrumors 68000


    Oct 21, 2002
    I have gotten that feeling too, but I try to dismiss the topic as fast as possible. (Like saying "no thanks." but then they keep prying...(so I am certainly not preaching to them) And I am embarrassed to tell anyone that I don't drink at all.

    Maybe I am just breaking social protocol. If you are offered a drink you must accept it. But it feels weird to have to go to so much effort to turn down an offer.
  5. 3rdpath macrumors 68000


    Jan 7, 2002
    2nd star on the right and straight till morning
    yea, it's a strange thing...the whole " you can't be trusted" or " you're judging me " attitude you get when you turn down a drink. i do drink but have gone thru periods of just not feeling like it and i have seen the attitude thrown around...it's even worse when people know you do drink but you're just choosing not to. strange indeed.

    my philosophy is: it's their issue, not yours.
  6. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    this is very true. if society would stop attaching such a stigma to people who drink (or use drugs, this is true in that situation as well), there would not be such an issue. people are made to feel guilty when they make decisions about their own bodies, and this is the quite unfortunate manifestation of that guilt.

  7. revenuee macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2003
    A place where i am supreme emporer
    I drink alone, people tell me that it's a sigh of alcoholism ... but i disagree,
  8. Stelliform thread starter macrumors 68000


    Oct 21, 2002

    You could be right, but there doesn't seem to be much stigma associated with drinking down here. Just ask eye. ;) It is very common place. In fact I am the only person I know who doesn't drink. Hell, my underage sister-in-law has drunk more than I have. When she was 17 to boot!


    And my wife says you shouldn't drink alone. Maybe by me not accepting a drink, I am forcing them to commit a taboo of drinking alone.
  9. P-Worm macrumors 68020


    Jul 16, 2002
    Salt Lake City, UT
    You could move to Utah, then people would just assume it's for religious reasons.

  10. yamabushi macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2003
    You could ask for a specific non-alcoholic alternative. That way you are at least drinking something with them. Also try to loosen up and have fun while they are drinking, since that is part of the point of becoming inebriated. Your drinking companion will feel more comfortable if you demonstrate a willingness to accept and even share their behavioral shift. A friend of mine who is allergic to alcohol often tries this and usually finds himself enjoying the social gathering more than he would otherwise.
  11. revenuee macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2003
    A place where i am supreme emporer
    Sometimes you just wanna spend time, and have a drink, with the most intelligent person you know... :)
  12. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    I guess forcing an recovering alchoholic to drink is the lesser of two evils, and there's no need for someone to keep a clear head to drive home.

    At least they won't be alone. :p

    Either that or the alchohic friends don't know what to make of the people who want to remain sober. ;)

    Society should be more tolerant of those who choose not to drink or the MADD mothers will cry. :D
  13. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    I have the same problem, but my teetotalism isn't by choice, as I've said here before I'm allergic to alcohol, now that little fact turns the most offended offerer into a fascinated and sympathetic mate at a stroke, especially when you get into the details of the condition, I always specify another drink, and they feel happy to oblige.

    Works most of the time, if not I simply start a big argument and get everyone thrown out of the bar:D
  14. mrjamin macrumors 65816


    Feb 6, 2003
    i drink alone more than i do in pubs etc. I don't like being drunk - that hasn't always been the case however!

    I quite frequently enjoy a beer or 2, or bottle of wine in the evenings whilst watching a film or something. I've never been 'frowned upon' by turning down a beer in a pub or whatever.
  15. evoluzione macrumors 68010


    Jul 19, 2002
    down the road, that's where i'll always be
    i go for periods without drinking once in a while, and most people i know don't have any sort of problem with it. maybe that's how it is here in nyc, but if i feel uncomfortable when i do turn down a drink, i can usually say "gotta drive" and that's that.
  16. eyelikeart Moderator emeritus


    Jan 2, 2001
    Metairie, LA
    Contrary to the popular belief that we people from New Orleans drink for the hell of it, I prefer it to be a social thing with select people or a good meal. I've gone plenty of nights where I turned down drinks, and it only makes those whom I'm with offer to buy more.

    I don't see anything wrong with it, there's various reasons why someone may not want to drink. I've always respected the decisions of others who prefer not to, but I can see where some would appear almost offended by the turning down of it. I think people put too much emphasis on alcohol to have good times, and that could be a reason.

    I drink wine because I like to. While I will nurse a bottle thru a few days with my dinner alone, I find a great satisfaction in sharing with someone. Maybe I'm just different that way, and don't care.
  17. pianojoe macrumors 6502


    Jul 5, 2001
    N 49.50121 E008.54558
    I'm diabetic, so I turn down alcoholic drinks all the time. Now I could claim that "my doctor told me not to", but that looks a little wimpy.

    So, I just state that I never drink, and ask politely if we could change that Bourbon into a cup of tea. If this is being frowned upon I state that I "gotta drive" which is true in most cases anyway.
  18. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040


    Nov 5, 2002
    I know what you guys are talkings about , try it at a party in college, especiall when others are a few drinks in .... we were at this house party and the keg was nasty (warm, foamy, keystone light) and no less than 3 of my friends offered me a cup because I wasn't drunk ....
  19. zim macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2002
    I don't drink, 31, never have. My wife does not drink either, 27. I have a few friends who have never understood, to the point where they feel uncomfortable around me. I can still go to bars, they offer more then just alcohol, jeeze. There have been a few times, at restaurants, where I have accepted a complimentary free wine sample, but I merely accepted it out of politeness, and did not drink it.
  20. Aoide macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Well Stelliform it looks like you are not alone. I'm glad you posted this because I always feel like the only one not drinking. People reference alcohol a lot more than I think they even realize. What annoys me is when friends say "oh well you just haven't tried this or that.... "
    It is not going to matter how many different things I try.... I just don't like it.... but for some reason that is hard for them to understand.... they are determined that they will find the one drink that will make me a drinker.
    Good thing I love them so....:rolleyes:
  21. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    I think I'm gonna go get a beer. This thread has made me thirsty.:D

    I'll get one for the wife too, so I'm not drinkin' alone. ;)

    Personally, I could care less if someone else drinks booze or not. More for me if you don't. I respect peoples decisions about their bodies.
  22. mnkeybsness macrumors 68030


    Jun 25, 2001
    Moneyapolis, Minnesota
    I know the feeling. I don't drink for personal and health related reasons. A lot of people, especially those in college with me, have a hard time understanding a person's wishes to not drink. In high school I got a hard time because my friends would always go to parties and wouldn't tell me that they were going anywhere because they made the assumption that since I don't drink, that I didn't want to be around other people that did.
  23. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    I'm sorry to hear that you have run into that type of difficulty Stelliform! :(

    I don't drink either. Can't say that I have ever encountered any difficulty when turning down a drink.
  24. Stelliform thread starter macrumors 68000


    Oct 21, 2002
    I am surprised that there are other people here who don't drink.

    Good to hear from the other members who don't drink. And mnkeybsness, by your tar, you can't tell you don't drink. ;) :D
  25. winwintoo macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2003
    I usually tell them I'm not thirsty or sometimes I tell them that they don't have enough. Other times I tell them that I've drank enough. If they get offended, better they be offended than I be off on another bender.

    Once I was at a party and asked the host for orange juice. He was pouring the alcoholic beverages into crystal goblets. He went to the kitchen and got a mangled plastic glass (it looked like it had been melted out of shape in the dishwasher) and gave it to me with my orange juice in it.


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