Should I pretend to drink?

I’m 25 years old and the most alcohol I’ve consumed in one sitting is a single Mikes Hard Lemonade. Yeah, I know. Mike’s hard. Super manly right? I’ve never been a drinker. I’m not a big fan of the taste of alcohol. Most peers don’t believe me when I tell them I don’t drink. This is how a typical conversation goes…

Them: What are you drinking Ninja?

Me: Oh it’s just water.

Them: Water?! You want me to get your a beer?

Me: Actually, I’m not a beer drinker. It doesn’t really do it for me.

Them: Ah man, beer is an acquired taste. You just gotta keep drinking it and eventually you will learn to love it.

Me: Yeah, that’s what I’ve been told. But why would I want to acquire a taste for something that tastes gross to me? I’m sure I could acquire a “taste” for urine too if I drank it enough. Does that mean I should drink my own pee?

Them: If it tastes as good as beer, then heck yes you should.

I’m currently on a business trip with a bunch of coworkers, most of whom who drink. Fortunately, they don’t really try and pressure me to join them. In fact, I’m pretty sure they love that I don’t. They know they can always count on having at least one designated driver.

That said, I still feel a little awkward being the lone ranger. It’s weird being at a bar with a bunch of people, being the only person not drinking. It would be like going to a club and not dancing. Or going to a movie and not watching it. Or getting married and not….well…I wont go there.

I definitely want to fit in when we go out, but I definitely don’t want to drink something that tastes like death. And so the question is, should I fake it? I’m thinking I should just order a sprite or something with a skinny straw in it so people think I have a mixed drink. That way, I’m not the awkward guy at the bar who everyone asks “Where’s the drink bro?”

Any other people out there have an alcohol aversion? If not, what’s your favorite alcoholic beverage? What are some good drinks, that don’tΒ  A) make me feel like a girl drinking them and B) aren’t strong. Oh, and can anyone tell me why someone would pay $13 for a margarita?

78 thoughts on “Should I pretend to drink?”

  1. Peer pressure never ends, does it? I also don’t drink alcohol, smoke, or gamble and I live in Las Vegas! I’m so boring that the only person that wants to hang out with me is the wife. Guess that’s why you find me here so much too! Anyhow the way I see it we are both doing ourselves a favor by saving money and our liver, how is that for personal finance excitement! Then again maybe we should hit that strip club and have a beer…

  2. When my mom worked undercover she would order a ginger ale in a short glass because it looks alcoholic. Not that I would recommend pretending to drink but its an option.

    I have a few friends who don’t drink for personal or religious reasons and it seems that that conversation is just something you are going to have for the rest of your life.

    I like rum and coke and people play $12 for a margarita because they are being riped off and stupid or because they like expensive tequila.

    • Nah, they are just being ripped off and are stupid, because if you like expensive tequila, you wouldn’t waste it in a margarita. Good tequila is made for sipping, just like whiskey.

  3. Ha! You had me laughing out loud picturing a group of people going to a movie and one person not watching it.
    I don’t drink often and my husband is in the wine and beverage business. Ironic, yes? Definitely don’t fake it…maybe just ask for an extra shot of grenadine in your Roy Rogers next time:)

  4. I don’t drink beer or wine, so if I am drinking it’s a mixer. And when I’m not, it’s usually a straight fizzy drink. I guess as long as no one asks for a taste, you’re golden!

  5. I have quite a few friends who don’t drink. I don’t think you have to fake it. Aren’t you supposed to be funny or something? You can be both the designated driver and funny friend/coworker. If I were in a bar and not drinking, I’d at least order a beverage that cost money like a soda. I’d ditch the water for sure.

  6. I used to have somewhat of an aversion to alcohol, before I went to college. I definitely agree that beer is an acquired taste. The difference between beer and urine, though, is that beer gets you intoxicated, which is the main reason why most people drink. It can be somewhat of a bonding experience, drinking with people. If you want to acquire a taste for alcohol, I recommend starting with stuff that doesn’t taste so strong, like mixed drinks. One of my favorites is rum cola. If mixed right, you can barely tell there’s alcohol in it.

    That said, I have a couple of good friends who aren’t big on alcohol. One rarely drinks, and the other never does. I think most people are ok with that. Actually, I think it’s a pretty crappy thing to get on someone’s case and pressure them to drink. Whether or not to indulge is a personal choice, and if you feel pressured then you probably shouldn’t go out with whoever is making you feel that way.

    Personally I’m not always in the mood to drink when I go to friends’ parties these days, so I know how you feel. It can be a little awkward when everyone is a little drunk but you, but if they’re your friends or coworkers and you like them, just try to have a good time and not think about it too much.

  7. I do drink, but I don’t like beer, so tend to have a G&T or a glass of wine. However if someone isn’t drinking, I don’t think it’s very nice if to question their choice and move on!I think you should be able to say just ‘I don’t drink’ and not have to justify yourself further. Of cousre, someone may ask a follow up question for the sake of conversation, but trying to persuade you to change your mind about it is very rude indeed!I’d go with simply ‘I choose not to’ as the only explanation you should give. Nothing else is required!

  8. I’m not much of a drinker; a glass of wine on a special occasion, and I’m fine. Hubby can drink beer like water, that is, until his doctor told him, at 35, he was well on his way to getting liver disease… that scared him straight. We don’t drink at home at all. I can’t tolerate alcohol like I used to; the last time I got drunk (about 15 yrs. ago), it took me days to recover… decided right then and there that I’d had enough. Besides, I like being the one in the crowd that has her wits about her, and won’t be the story at the office’s water cooler the next morning. Seriously, water or soda water with lemon or lime are my drinks of choice.

    I don’t feel the need to pretend to drink, and if someone asks me why I’m not drinking, I tell them I don’t want to.

    The “girl drink” comment made me laugh! You should Google “Kids in the Hall Girl Drink Drunk”… HYSTERICAL!!

  9. I’m the same way. I’m 24 and I rarely drink, and when I do, it’s just a one-off, social thing, like I’ll have a glass of wine at a party if someone offers it to me, but not two. I also have a strong aversion to most types of alcohol (possibly an allergy?) in that it makes me really sick, really fast. (Not like, hungover sick, but like, I’ll have one drink, not feel at all buzzed, but be throwing up an hour later, sick.) So in general, I just don’t drink. I might possibly have one if the mood strikes me β€” even rarer to have two β€” but then I always stop. That said, I’ve never found it to be an issue with my friends, ever. No one ever really questions why I’m always the one drinking water.

    Tip, though: If you do want to have a drink, just to have one, try any kind of spirit mixed with soda water. (I’m partial to scotch and soda.) The soda masks the flavour of the alcohol, and there’s less sugar in it than in coke or sprite, which will mean less problem for your stomach.

  10. $13 for a margarita? Cause they’re dumb. $13 for an endless margarita – pure economics. πŸ˜‰

    I wouldn’t worry about trying to fit in. It is better to be honest about yourself than try to “fit in”. Just order your normal drink and be proud.

    If you REALLY want to “fit in” tell them you’re in AA and like 3 years sober. That way you’re still “one of them” but you can’t partake. =P

  11. Do you like cranberry juice? When I first started drinking, I began ordering vodka and cranberry juice, and it was tasty, and not too alcohol-ish.
    Sometimes it’s nice just to have one drink to socialize with the group, but if you really don’t like it, go for a pop. Water in a bar seems to make people nervous.

    • Cranberry juice and vodka is a good option. And lame as the name is, a fuzzy navel isn’t a bad option. It is just orange juice and peach schnapps, so it just tastes like the peach-orange juice mix you would get at the store. Besides, it isn’t too girly looking, it just looks like orange juice in a glass. Those are my default drinks.

  12. It’s good to hear there’s someone else out there like me!

    I’m the exact same way. I’ve never been a drinker, and the only time I’ve ever been even close to drunk was because my girlfriend really wanted to do a couples game/wine night and it was really important to her that I partake in both the game and the wine. I was throwing it back like cough syrup it was so gross.

    If you liked a mikes hard lemonade, you might like a Tom Collins. It tastes kinda like lemonade and isn’t very strong (at least the one time I had it). It’s pretty much the only thing I can drink and not want to vomit.

  13. I have a number of friends who just say they don’t drink and that’s the end of it. When I was younger I used to be a Pepsi addict (a much finer drink than Coke) and would consume gallons of the stuff; now I rarely touch it but instead I will almost always have a glass of wine at dinner if I’m eating Italian, French, or Spanish, and beer for spicy Indian or Chinese. Wine and beer really do complement food and bring out its flavors. But I have no taste for hard liquor. I’ve got bottles of scotch, vodka, bourbon, etc. on the sideboard for guests, but I don’t drink any of it myself.

  14. Anyone that would pay $13 for a margaritta is a absolute nut case. πŸ˜‰

    I say that you should just stay away from it in general. No reason to try to figure out what you like because other people do it. If there wasn’t a social aspect to it, you wouldn’t even consider trying anything would you?

    You won’t be the lone ranger tonight… I’ll be with ya. We can be sober loners together. Why you ask? 1) Don’t want you to feel like a loner. That sucks and I don’t even really want to drink again. 2) Well… I’m not feeling the to great right now.

  15. I’ll occasionally drink in social settings with friends because if you’re not really drinking enough to get drunk or anything, it’s similar to having a soda. I used to have a deep aversion to it but I’ve gotten over that and now I just enjoy the occasional beer with friends. I personally think that not drinking, at least from what I’ve seen, can put you at a weird disadvantage. Some people don’t think of beer as the same as a soda, and take the fact that you don’t drink and assume you’re judging them. That can be awkward. If I was with co-workers I wouldn’t fake it, I’d probably just try a beer. Just order a light beer. I personally can’t stand any stronger beers and absolutely hate any form of hard alcohol. You can also try ordering a cider. Pear cider is pretty awesome tasting.

  16. I’m with you there. I don’t drink because of digestive problems and I get flak for it all the time… I also just flat out hate the taste. Just order a coke with a skinny straw and it’ll look like a rum and coke. I also like sprite and cranberry juice, but that’s pink and you may get a whole other kind of attention if you order that…depending on the bar πŸ˜‰

  17. I too, do not like beer. Maybe it because my parents never drank and when I did try beer it tasted gross..and I have no desire to ‘acquire’ that taste. I maybe have one drink in 2 months, and never have more than one at a time but they’re usually girly so can’t help you there. Other times, I just tell people I’m not drinking and they seem to be fine with I’m fun while being 100% sober anyway so why mess that up πŸ™‚

  18. I went on a resort vacation with a group of friends who were actually offended that I was not drinking myself into oblivion with them. They were constantly on me about it and were ruining my vacation. Thankfully a kind bartender hooked me up with some fruit juice in a pretty glass with a straw….she told me to just make sure I always get my own drinks. When everyone saw my “bar” glass, they just assumed I giving in to the peer pressure and left me alone.

  19. Hi Ninja,

    I’m currently 31 and didn’t start drinking alcohol until 28, and even now I still only have one or two drinks a month maximum, and most months I don’t drink at all. I still don’t like the taste of it myself.

    I know the feeling of being with a group of people being the only one not drinking. My friends don’t pressure me to drink at all, so there’s nothing awkward about the situation on that level. However, after they’ve each had a couple of drinks I feel a bit on the outside because I’m not mentally on the same wavelength that they are.

    In terms of what to drink in these situations, one of the posters above suggested ginger ale, which is a good idea. Other ideas are sparkling water with lime (looks like a gin and tonic and other clear drinks), iced tea, fruit juice (which looks like vodka and juice), or soda (looks like a rum and coke, etc.). Pretty much anything that isn’t plain still water can be passed off as an alcoholic drink.

    If you’re looking to try a couple of drinks that aren’t going to have the alcohol-y taste, I’d suggest vodka with a lot of mixer:

    screwdriver (vodka + orange juice)
    greyhound (vodka + grapefruit juice)
    salty dog (vodka + grapefruit juice + salted rim)
    cape cod (vodka + cranberry juice)
    sea breeze (vodka + cranberry juice + grapefruit juice)
    moscow mule (vodka + ginger beer (non-alcoholic) + lime juice)

    Many people like gin drinks as the flavor of the gin (which is soaked with a variety of herbs and botanicals) covers the alcohol flavor, so you might try a gin fizz. Or you can look for drinks which have less alcohol by volume, such as an amaretto sour (amaretto is roughly 25% alcohol by volume vs. the 40% of standard liquors).

    Some bartenders will give you two shots of liquor standard when ordering the above drinks. You can request only one shot if you like, which I’d recommend. Or, even better, I’d recommend that you start drinking at home so that you can measure the alcohol amounts yourself. Another advantage is if you start feeling the effects of alcohol then you’re already at home and don’t have to worry about what might happen to you.

  20. Hmmm….well I think you’re cool enough already, but maybe you could order like a captain and coke? It’s delicious and you could sip on it for a long, long time. Another trick you could try is ordering a “tall” version of it. It’s the same amount of alcohol with way more coke, so you can drink it longer and you won’t really feel the effects of the drink … or just order a coke and tell everyone it’s a captain and coke like you thought about doing w/ the sprite! πŸ™‚

  21. Urg, it really bothers me when people who purport to be grown adults try to pressure their peers to drink. I have pulled the “someone close to me has a drinking problem so I avoid booze” line – it seems to shut people up pretty fast.

    When I do drink – maybe 5-6 times a year? – I usually drink vodka or peach schnapps with OJ or gingerale. Or I’ll drink champagne for a toast.

  22. “Me: I’m sure I could acquire a β€œtaste” for urine too if I drank it enough. Does that mean I should drink my own pee?
    Them: If it tastes as good as beer, then heck yes you should.”

    Beer *does* taste about as good as urine, so you’re not really missing anything. πŸ˜›

  23. I was once a bartender at the Officers Mess on a Canadian Forces Base. The Base Commander at the time was a real stickler for not getting hosed, so as to maintain his propriety around his officers. Every second drink, he would have me fill an empty beer bottle with water, so the troops think he’s keeping up, but he was quite sober all night πŸ™‚

  24. Absolutely not! My husband and I don’t drink. I’m nearly 27 and he’s nearly 30. We’ve never been drunk.Ever. Not even a little buzzed. Don’t let yourself be pressured into it. πŸ™‚

  25. I don’t drink, but my boyfriend does it only when he’s with friends/family. I guess to him its sthg he does as a bonding experience. I don’t mind the drinking but stimes crappy things happen and unfortunately, I’ve been on the bad end of it. Like he once shut the car door in my face by accident coz he was drunk and didn’t realise I was getting out after him (we both sat in the backseat and his sister was driving) and his friend spilled drinks on me coz he was drunk and swiped the shotglass off the table and onto my lap.

    So yeah, when I think about it, if its a glass or two its okay but not when it’s endless pints for four hours. He doesn’t do it often but well, I wish it doesn’t have to happen. Drunk ppl do stupid things and the bad thg abt it is they always claim no responsibility for whatever crappy thg they did coz “they were drunk”. A total cop out.

  26. I think the vegetarian comparison above is pretty accurate. I don’t think you have to pretend to drink any more than a vegetarian should try to make his salad look like a steak. But just be careful not to make your friends feel bad about their choices too– I recently heard a girl saying she’s trying to eat more vegetarian meals because her vegan friends are uncomfortable with her meaty selections when they eat out and I don’t think that’s fair, either. To each his own, you know?

  27. As a vegan who rarely drinks, I getcha! People tend to assume I’m no fun, when I’m really pretty awesome. I find for the most part that people don’t care – it’s the few rare losers who seem to think you’re judging them or are ruining the good time. In my experience, most people just want to be sure you’re having a good time and are worried that you’re not because you aren’t drinking. Normal people shouldn’t care what other people are eating or drinking.

    Interestingly, I worked as a bartender for many years, and here’s what I would recommend to people: if you feel like having a drink, do as others have mentioned and cut it with juice (pop doesn’t help much to mask the taste). Also, well mixed drinks won’t taste too boozy because they’re made with better stuff, so feel more confident ordering your mixed drinks at a nice bar rather than at the local pub – and don’t be shy in saying “I don’t want to really taste the booze too much”. That’s normal. You can also ask for a single shot in a highball (tall) glass, which just means more juice with your drink. Another alternative to beer may be some ciders. I’m canadian so I don’t know what you carry there, but look for or ask about ciders and see what you think. They’re all different, less boozy than beers, and some are nice. Ditto for flavoured beers, which you can find at fancier places. Finally, if you do feel tremendous pressure to drink wine, ask for something very sweet and white – it’s generally much neasier on the palate than red because it’s cold.

    That said, I don’t eat meat or drink milk just because other people would like it if I did, and I only order drinks if I really want to (about 1 drink every 2 months) and it hasn’t hurt my social life at all. There’s the rare person who feels the need to make a joke about it, but I really don’t get that… good times should be about good times for everyone, and that’s all that matters.

  28. I rarely rarely drink. I don’t like the taste and I hate wasting the calories.

    I just order a diet coke or a seltzer. I’m not offering any explanation. I can’t imagine that my friends would have a “problem” with it-frankly it’s none of their business.

  29. If you want to drink, drink. if you don’t, don’t.

    But don’t make excuses or apologies. And don’t act holier than though.

    I’d like to think we’re past that as a society. At least the circles I run in don’t care.

    I’m a drinker, btw… beer, wine, liquor… love them all.

    My favorite non-girly drink that might work for you: Dark and Stormy. Rum + Ginger Beer (not ginger ale). And if you can’t stand the rum, Ginger Beer is delicious by itself.

  30. Order a water in a martini glass.

    If anyone asks you what you’re drinking, say, “A fake orgasm” (this probably already exists, but go with it.)

    “Ooh, that sounds good, what’s in it?”


    Long awkward pause.

  31. The rule with my circle of friends has always been the DD doesn’t pay. That means he doesn’t pay cover if we go to a popular place and he doesn’t pay for drinks (soda mostly, maybe 1 beer). Maybe you can get something like this going with your co-workers.

  32. My BF doesn’t drink alcohol! He never tried it, and he never will. He’s not allergic to it or anything. He just made it clear to all his friends that he doesn’t drink and they don’t bug him about it (ever). I am social drinker, I drink a glass of wine or not even if it was my friend’s birthday or some kinda celebration (that’s it!) Alcohol is expensive! I rather use the money and spend it on something I can use rather than puke out!

  33. I suspect it isn’t because you don’t like the taste, but that there is something more to it. Perhaps you’re afraid you’ll really like it, or it’ll change who you are…

    I say this because there are a million dang flavors out there. I also didn’t drink until I was 21 and even then it was just red wine here and there. When I was about 24-25 I started trying more beers and found that I really liked Guinness. Since then I’ve discovered a few other drinks I like. You can enjoy a few drinks here and there and not be a lush. Accordingly, I agree, water drinkers in a bar is unusual and not in a good way.

  34. IF you want to expand your horizons and try new drinks I would recommend tastings and/or beer or wine dinners. Where I live tastings are generally charity events where it is all you can eat and drink for around $25. They also ussually have a band or something. You will get you moneys worth with the food and band, and you can try many types of alcohol in small quantities to see if there is something you like.

    At a beer or wine dinner you get several courses with an accompanying beer or wine. You may not like all of them, but you will learn which ones are supposed to go well with which foods. Usually, these take place at a brewery or winery. (The meals have always been tremendous!)

    Finally, sometimes grocery stores will have FREE samples. Simply a chance to try something on your palate and you are out nothing if you do not like it.

    I enjoying drinking many things, but I bet your co-workers would look at me strangely because I do not like any of the mass produced beers (in fact while I can drink many craft beers half a bud light will make me sick) and I think the well liquor (what they will ussually make your mixed drink with unless you know what to ask for) is ussually awful because it’s the cheapest stuff and ussually the harshest.

  35. I was in the same boat as you, Ninja, or so I thought. I tasted of few of my parent’s drinks (beer and wine) in high school and college, and wondered what the draw was. When I turned 21 I tried a few different beers, wines and Mike’s, but even the best where underwhelming. So I assumed that I didn’t like alcohol, and since I never had more than 1 drink, I didn’t even know if/how it would affect me.

    Then I went to a wedding last year with an open bar, and I decided to utilize the service. I thought I might like Gin drinks (having tasted Gin recently) and so I got a Tom Collins. As lime is one of my favorite flavors I also got a Gin Ricky. Nobody seems to know what it is, so you will likely have to explain it. Basically these drinks are lemonade and limeade, with a shot of Gin. They are great drinks with or without the alcohol, but the Gin does add to the flavor- in a good way. Since that day I have done much research on all manner of spirits and have a small and expanding “bar” at home, since I do not feel compelled to spend 5-10 dollars on a single drink… of anything (this is a personal finance blog, I’m not here to spend more money!).

    If you have good reason not to drink then you don’t need to pretend. Let people know, and if they don’t leave you alone… punch them in the face! If you are in the same boat as me, then until you try one of each “family” of drinks, you can’t really say you don’t like the taste of all alcohol. No matter what, be yourself.

  36. There’s absolutely no need to drink if you don’t want to. If your friends or acquaintances have a problem with you not drinking that’s their issue, not yours.

    I do not drink alcohol. I have no intention of doing so to fit in at a social gathering. Anyone who has a problem with that is someone I probably won’t choose to socialize with in the future. (By the way, I grew up in the 70’s and did my share of drinking and drugs back then. I know for sure I’m better off without them.)

  37. I guess I am the only other one who does not drink! I can drink wine, beer and a few drinks, but it is not important to me. I have a glass of wine very infrequently (once every few years). I never let it stop me from having fun. I join coworkers when I was in that environment and have a soft drink. Don’t let it be an issue.

  38. Oh, thank god, it’s not just me! I may have one drink when out with friends, but usually I just have water. I’ve gotten The Look, and The Question, and felt really awkward. I shouldn’t have to, because it’s nobody’s business but my own why I’m drinking alchohol or not. And I, too, hate the taste of beer and refuse to “acquire” something that makes me gag. I make an exception for Guinness, because it’s Guinness and it’s awesome. πŸ˜€

    As the Genie said in Aladdin, “Beeee yourself!”

  39. Order whatever you want.
    There’s no reason to be defensive.
    If people are unnecessarily weird about it, that’s on them.
    Otherwise, relax yourself.


  40. I don’t think you have to pretend at all. If anyone feels uncomfortable with the fact that you aren’t drinking, then it’s probably a reflection of themselves being uncomfortable about drinking (so much). Don’t try to ‘fit in’ by buying drinks. This will cause you to spend money that you normally wouldn’t have and be counter-productive to trying to be frugal or stay within a budget.

  41. I don’t like the taste of most alcohol, so I happily drink girlie drinks when they’re free – pina coladas, chocolate wine, Bailey’s, and Coconut Rum in OJ. πŸ™‚ Otherwise, I stick with strawberry lemonade, sweet iced tea, or water.

  42. 99.9% of these posts were from rare to non-drinkers. Where are the drinkers? I am one. I may have 3-4 drinks per week, mostly in social settings. I typically stick to beer but on rare occasions, hard liquor. I travel a lot and I like bringing back a bottle of the local liquor to keep in stock it and rarely touch it unless I’m offering to a guest.
    I live in Miami and most people here tend to drink to some degree…bars, nightclubs, pubs, and even strip clubs are always packed to the brink and most people have a drink in their hand…after reading these posts though i wonder how many are filled with just “sprite” and “coke”. Control is the key. If I’m hanging out with coworkers at happy hour, 2 drinks tops for me. If it’s with friends I grew up with and we’re having a good time, I may double that to 4 drinks. I usually drive home so I have my last drink 1 hour before I leave the establishment.
    The beer and alcohol industry is huge and I’ve tried to capitalize off of that financially by investing in beer stock. I have some shares of Heineken and Miller and trust me, people drink a lot in this country! With the handful of friends that I know who prefer not to drink, fine, you can be the designated driver! No worries! In my college years peer pressure was rampant but now, as an adult and person with a good career, I’m past that. You drink if you want, you don’t if you don’t want to, that simple.
    Control & moderation is key!!

    • First, I would like to second your comments (all of them, to some degree). If you can’t be responsible, please put down the glass. There is a reason why the drinking age is 21. People think they are all grown up at 18… they aren’t.

      Second, I would like to say that you are not alone among the posters. I drink more than rarely, although less often than the “party crowd.” I might have 0 this week and then 4-6 next week (Never more than 3-4 a day, more often it’s 1 on a weeknight or 2 on a Fri/Sat night). Whenever someone has wine or beer, I decline, since I think they are pretty nasty for the most part… to each their own.

      • You point about being responsible is valid, but the reason why the drinking age is 21 is not. MADD is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the country and managed to get congress to withhold federal funds from states if they didn’t impose a 21 year old minimum. “Think of the children!”

        • Right you are. I was aware of that fact. Indeed a very good way to force compliance. I am merely stating that many people never grow up, so 21 is not an unreasonably high number. Their hands may have been forced (and I cannot comment on the efficacy of the change) but I think that it was a good decision.

          • If many people never grow up, why not make it 25? Or 30? Or make it illegal?

            Sorry, not trying to start a fight, but I just don’t get why 18 year olds can’t drink. Many (most?) do anyway…so what’s really being prevented? Tons of money and time is wasted enforcing this law every year. Not to mention the deaths that occur when 18 year olds are too afraid to take their overly intoxicated friend to the hospital for fear of getting an alcohol possession charge.

          • “If many people never grow up, why not make it 25? Or 30?”
            Turn that around. Why not 16 or 14? You’re making a straw man argument here. No one ever suggested a higher age than 21. The key issue is why 21 rather than 18. This is not my area of expertise, but if there are higher numbers of fatalities in the 18-20 range, then you’d better believe I would support a drinking age of 21.

            “Or make it illegal?”
            Uh – this country tried that once.

            “Not to mention the deaths that occur when 18 year olds are too afraid to take their overly intoxicated friend to the hospital for fear of getting an alcohol possession charge.”
            A perfect example of the attitude I would expect from a kid vs. a mature adult. Part of being an adult is having the courage to make responsible choices even if it means taking a personal risk.

  43. I think it is strange that people act like they are 14 years old and still lay on the peer pressure. Strange.

    Seriously…don’t fake it. I don’t drink either. Why? In high school, which is the only time I did drink, I realized that I had an extremely high tolerance with no reason to have one and that feeling as loopy as most people did would take a LOT of alcohol…and that’s just not good. So I quit. I didn’t have the “fun” with it that the others did, so I became the DD. I was still able to enjoy their company and I had some great stories to blackmail them with after the fact. =)

    Just be whoever you are. You can tell them the truth about why you don’t drink, but you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

  44. You might as well be my husband’s Ninja twin. I like beer, he doesn’t. I look forward to having a couple beers when we go out, he’ll indulge in one and then call it quits, and even that’s a stretch. He prefers Smirnoff, and my go-to is Sam Adams. And his friends are constantly like “OMG WHY AREN”T YOU DRINKING YOU WEIRDO OMG!!!??!!!” I don’t understand the obsession with making sure other people are drinking.

  45. One of my friend does not drink and he does fine. If you don’t want to drink, then don’t drink.
    Try some good red wine with your steak though, maybe you’ll change your mind.

  46. I drink semi-regularly, but not nearly as much as most college kids do. Before you swear off alcohol, definitely try out some different types. Saying you don’t like the taste of alcohol is like saying you don’t like the taste of cereal. You might not like some, but there’s probably a few that you do.

    I hated beer the first 2 times I had it, but now I genuinely enjoy it. I was at a party a few months ago with 3 kegs and it was the coldest, best tasting beer I’ve ever had. Plus, beer is what flip cup and quarters are played with usually and I wouldn’t want to miss out on that!

    I have quite a few friends who don’t drink, and while I don’t push them to, I do encourage some of them to. A few have preconceived notions about what drinking feels like and are honestly scared to death of booze in any form. A friend of mine thought half a Mike’s would give him a hangover. He’d NEVER drank before, so how could he know that? I think people should try things out, and then make a decision.

    While not manly, Smirnoff Ice tastes nothing like alcohol. I tasted some of a female friend’s (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!) and it was like licking an apple airhead.

    All that said, people who pressure you aren’t being very cool. Besides, I need people like you to drive me around!!

  47. I’m not a big drinker either, although, I did have my moments while in college. Which probably attributed to the longer than usual length of time that it took me to graduate! When I do drink, I drink mixed drinks and other “girly” drinks. I get razzed for it all the time, but I guess I’ve just developed a thick enough skin to not worry about it. You can fake it, but what’s the point? Eventually, someone will figure it out and think poorly of you for faking it. I say, just drink what you want to drink, alcoholic or not, and shrug the questioners off. Better to be true to you, than worry about what some drunk dude at a bar thinks anyways!

  48. Who cares if you don’t drink?! That’s your choice! Don’t let that pressure get to you.

    If however you want to try a drink that’s not “girly” but isn’t super strong, get a vodka, Coke/Pepsi (better with Coke), and lime juice. And get it in a tall glass so the vodka is not as strong tasting. That’s what I always do! I’m not much for drinking either, I only ever get tipsy/drunk on my birthday or a best friend’s birthday. πŸ™‚

  49. I am completely the same way. I actually started telling ppl I was allergic to alcohol… i got the same reaction as if I had told them I was pregnant… “oh ok” .. but with the glazed over, sucks to me you look. My fav. drink is orange juice no ice. Don’t give in!!!

  50. I love drinking wine, etc. with a meal (the etc. does not include beer, as I also despise the taste), and I quite adore the stereotypical sangria and tinto de verano (like a mix of lemonade and red wine) here in Spain. However, I don’t really get into the going to bars just for drinks. I don’t enjoy many alcohols/mixed drinks I can get there, because I don’t like the taste, and it hurts my stomach after a while. Also, I really hate paying 4-6 euros for a drink that I don’t enjoy, and pass off to a friend to finish drinking when possible. However, I do drink more here in Spain than I did in my conservative hometown in the U.S.–it’s so central to the culture, you can’t avoid, and I wouldn’t want to.

    Perhaps another reason I don’t really get into the going out just for drinks is because I’m mostly surrounded by European exchange students. The goal seems to be drinking until everything comes back up. Yeah, you have fun with that. Or, like in the case of my roommate last weekend, she woke up the next morning with a busted lip, black eye and broken nose, with absolutely NO idea how it happened. I think that makes the case right there for staying in control of your faculties!

    Final irritation: in my hometown, when I did go out for drinks with friends who were drinkers, it seemed the topic of conversation was always the ways they had embarassed themselves on their last drinking expedition. Yawn.

    Okay, ending rant now.

  51. I didn’t start drinking until my 30s, so I get exactly what you’re saying. I’d just tell people that “I don’t drink, I don’t like the way it makes me feel.” 99% of people would drop the topic after that and the remaining 1% quickly revealed themselves as people I don’t really want to hang out with. You’re an adult, act like it and own up to your choices, don’t fake it and don’t let yourself be pressured into buying a drink you don’t really want. If you’re in a bar, at least order a soda, but don’t pretend it’s something else.

    When I was in my teens and 20s I thought most alcohol was nasty, particularly beer. Eventually I tried a wine I liked and it went from there. I only just discovered beer in the last year. Turns out I had only been exposed to nasty beer. Good beer can actually taste good. Either that, or my taste buds are changing as I get older. It’s a possibility, I like to eat/drink a lot of things now that I didn’t used to. In a way, I kind of regret acquiring the liking of alcohol. It was a lot cheaper and healthier when I didn’t care for it.

  52. I don’t drink either, I just really don’t like the taste.

    It is ridiculous that people think just because you are the legal age for drinking you have to drink

  53. If you are not big into the whole alcohol scene and want to get over the taste hurdle so you can hang out with something alcoholic in hand try Smirnoff Ice, tastes exactly like sprite but probably not the best drink if you’re trying to fit in with guys. You could also always get a whiskey/rum and coke without the whiskey or rum.

  54. Try a vodka collins if you really want the alcohol. Make it a tall one. The good ones I’ve had taste like lemonade and you can sip on a tall one all night. The captain and coke without the captain also sounds like a good alternative. And yes, I don’t drink a lot — never could stand the taste of beer unless it’s really cold.

  55. Thinking back to my past happy hours with co-workers, if someone was not drinking they would get a lot of questions, but no peer pressure to drink. I think if you are standing in a bar w out a drink, well meaning people may ask you if you want a drink out of courtesy or as an offer to buy you a drink, ie – if you are broke, someone will always offer to buy you one. So hold a glass of anything to deflect most of it.
    Aside: thank God I’m in my 40’s now and I do what I want without caring about peer pressure. Also, there’s nothing less fun than being sober and going to happy hour w a bunch of drinkers.

  56. Lol! You crack me up. I don’t drink either, especially not beer. Mr. Red doesn’t drink. None of my friends drink. So I never feel left out. Back when I had friends who drank, I drank along with them because it’s just not fun to be the only sober person. Drunk people shenanigans are just not as funny if you’re not also a little tipsy.

  57. Don’t feel bad at all about not drinking. It’s respectable!

    That being said, I love booze myself! Here’s one to try that actually tastes good and isn’t girly. Captain & Ginger Ale. Or if you’re at home, even smoother is Captain (Private Stock) & Ginger Ale. You won’t find the second one in a bar though.

  58. I used to be in your shoes! But I eventually found a couple of drinks that I liked, and my tastes expanded. I still don’t really drink beer — especially cheap beer, since that’s gross — but some drinks are really good!

    You should try a Long Island Iced Tea. It has a fair amount of alcohol in it, so it’s “manly,” but it’s actually pretty tasty too. It’s good as a legitimate drink on its own.

    After that, you should get a rum and coke, but with about twice the coke as they make them in bars. Seriously, in bars they tend to make rum and cokes (And jack and cokes) with a shot or so of rum and some ice and a small amount of coke in a small glass, and it’s too strong. What’s really good is a shot of rum with the equivalent of a full can of coke added to it. That way, the rum isn’t as strong, but actually works with the flavor of the coke. (It doesn’t even taste that much like alcohol….just sort of like smooth/spicy coke?) I’m not a big fan of the taste of alcohol either, but so far as that goes, some mixed drinks are decent, and actually taste a lot less like alcohol than most beers that I’ve had.

    You could also try a porter. Which is a sort of very dark, rather bitter beer. (I don’t know if you demand your drinks be sweet, or if they can taste good in other ways…) They’re certainly not sweet, but they also don’t taste like alcohol in the slightest.

    But all that aside, don’t drink if you really don’t want to. People who try and make you drink are just insecure, which is dumb. But if you’re actually curious, and aren’t bothered by it (I know some people who personal or moral issues with it, which is a totally different story) then there’s a fair selection you could try. (Maybe get those lame people who pressure you into picking up the tab! It’s the least they can do for being, well, lame!)

  59. I hate alcohol. It tastes like nail polish remover. I can always taste it. Friends always say, “Try this, you can’t even taste the alcohol!” Yes. Yes I can. I’m 26 and I’ve never had a drink–not even a Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Nothing about it appeals to me. I think you should just continue to order water. There’s no reason you should feel awkward about making your healthier and less expensive choice. In other words, I don’t think your behavior needs to change. I think the people pressuring you to drink alcohol need to back off and think about why they’re pressuring you to drink in the first place.

  60. Try a woodchuck- it’s hard apple cider & it’s pretty good (coming from someone who really doesn’t like beer).

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