Chances are that you’ve dealt with it before: peer pressure around drinking, or, as I like to call it, beer pressure. It often starts in high school, but it happens to a lot of older people as well. In this article you’ll read more about peer pressure around drinking alcohol and how to turn down the drink.
I think most people experience beer pressure at some point in their lives. Often in high school. I felt pressured as well, but luckily, I have always managed to say “no”.
The one time I did drink (a small beverage at 15), there was no peer pressure and I just wanted to try it. For me. Not to be fun. Not to fit in. I was curious. I found (and still find) the peer pressure I received annoying and immature. Just let me make my own decision!
Direct & Indirect Peer Pressure (Alcohol & General)
So, there are two types of peer pressure: direct and indirect. If someone were to ask (or, nag at, push, etc.) you to drink, that would be direct. If you were at a party and saw everyone drinking, you might feel pressured to do the same, which is indirect peer pressure.
You are still fun
You’re at a party, and everyone around you is drinking. A friend asks you if you want to drink as well and as soon as you express that you don’t want to, they will start to say you’re no fun, a goody two shoes, or other “insults” that don’t really make sense. Chances are that those who are pressuring you feel bad about drinking themselves. Because hey, if everyone is involved, it’s not their mistake. Everyone is doing it, so how harmful can it be, right? If they were not worried about people not drinking, why wouldn’t it be fine for them to drink and you to not drink?
The stupid thing is that, when everyone around you is drinking but you, you might start to feel that you are no fun or a goody two shoes. But you have to understand that that is not true at all. Why would such a small factor determine if you are fun? Or a goody two shoes (which, by the way, shouldn’t even be an insult)?
Check your peers
Before attending a setting where you have to wiggle your way out of peer pressure the entire time, ask yourself: are they respecting you, your wishes and your values? Because if your peers keep pressuring you into doing something you clearly don’t want to do, they’re probably not. Wether that’s drinking alcohol, wearing a specific brand, colouring your hair or something else. Do you want to be around them? Because even though it might not always look like it: there are plenty of people who will respect you. Sometimes you just have to stand up for yourself and think: fuck them, I deserve better (and you really do!). This, of course, is easier said than done.
Ways to say “no” to alcohol
So, you feel pressured and don’t want to (or can’t) ditch the peers. These are some phrases to say “no” to alcohol (be persistent. It’s not your fault if they can’t accept the fact that you don’t want to drink. It’s your choice, not theirs):
- No, thanks, but I don’t drink
- No, I don’t like to drink.
- No, I hate the taste. I don’t know how you keep it down, but kudos.
- I’m not really into alcohol. I’ll just grab myself something else, don’t worry about me.
- I don’t know, I guess alcohol is just not really my thing. I’ve never liked it.
- I prefer soda or something.
- You do you, but alcohol is not really for me.