20 February 2018

8 Tips to Being Social at Uni Without Drinking Alcohol

 The first three things that came to my mind when I thought about the UK before I ended up moving here were the following: 'doom and gloom' cloud-covered skies, Her Royal Highness the Queen and drinking. A whole lot of drinking. Cumulonimbus just so happens to be my favourite type of cloud, so we're all covered there. I doubt that my day-to-day life experiences would have me crossing paths with Her Majesty, so that was never really a concern for me, however, the drinking culture of the UK which I had heard about frightened me, because I don't drink.
I was worried that alcohol consumption was an integral part of social interaction, particularly in a student environment, so where would that leave me, sans alcohol drinker? Don't get me wrong, I do drink- a single shot of vodka mixed with lemonade or red bull here or a glass of red wine there, but nowhere near enough to get drunk, 'waved', or 'buzzed'- which is what all the 'cool kids' use to describe themselves after a pint or five.

How do I manage to remain social and not drink? My gut instinct was to half-humorously write 'magic' but I think I should be a bit more insightful. It isn't easy. Anyone that tells you that being sober whilst everyone around is too intoxicated to remember their name is fun is lying to you. You feel out of place and too sensible. I'm not sure about others, but a part of me wants to freely end up shaking my booty in a club like Shakira or magically end up dancing on a table. A weird part of me wants that- alcohol gives people that confidence and that freedom that sobriety denies me. However, another part of me doesn't want that at all. Another part of me wants to stay in control- with both feet firmly on the ground and no headache the next morning.
As fun as alcohol seems, going 'out-out' (which is British people's way of saying an outing beyond drinking at the house) is easy if you never got into the drinking culture, to begin with. I have no problem being 'out-out' and surrounded by happy drunks, sad drunks, hyper drunks, emotional drunks and every other sub-type of drunk. I don't have a primal instinct to drink- I never have. I think I'm used to being sober on a night out. I still find it fun.

Here are eight things you can do to be social if you don't drink:

#1 Fake it Till You Make it
If you see someone holding a cup at a party, I'm going to take a wild guess and say that you don't question whether or not there is alcohol in that cup. No one would question you either. If you're out, grab a cup and put coca-cola, lemonade or water inside, for that matter. No one will be any wiser to the fact that there isn't really any alcohol in the drink. Plus, some drunks like to virtually shove booze down me throats (I hope that isn't just the drunks I hang out with) or the other kind of drunks that constantly pummel me with questions as to why I'm not drinking- either way, a drink in hand keeps them all at bay. Just remember: Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola with vodka look exactly the same. Use that to your advantage.
#2 Go to a Pub for a Meal
Do you know where people go for drinks? The pub. Do you know where people can also go for food? The pub. Pubs are great not only for a dose of drink but also for food. I love pub food- it's cheap, often homemade and has a cosy feel to it. Going out to the pub with some mates is a great way to go out without drinking. You can just watch people drink around you- and thank the heavens above that it isn't your student loan that's paying for it. Also, if you're at a pub and your friends are buying drinks, follow #1 and have a good time!

#3 Find Like-Minded People
This is common knowledge but, most usually, like-minded people like to do like-minded things. I know what it feels like to walk into a classroom and want to go out with people but fear that all they want to do is get smashed. I'm here to tell you to have no fear; There are people that can manage a drink or two- without having to get drunk. We're out there. I think we're just a bit quieter and at the back of the room- but we're there. 

#4 Do Like-Minded Activities
A likeminded person will also want to do similar things as entertainment. So, although it may feel like these people are few and far between, or like unicorns on Mars, they're out there. Unfortunately, sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find them- particularly in a culture that's so 'keen' on drinking.

#5 Dress Comfortably
An outfit that makes you feel comfortable goes a long way when socialising. From the second you put on your bodycon dress or your bootleg jeans in the comfort of your room, you know whether you're comfortable. If you're not comfortable wearing them in your room, there's no way you'll be comfortable wearing it outside of your room. I know that when I'm comfortable in what I'm wearing, that same confidence comes across in how I present myself to a group of people. If I'm already anxious about a social interaction, I minimize my nerves by being comfortable in my clothing, too. 

A likeminded person will also want to do similar things as entertainment. So, although it may feel like these people are few and far between, or like unicorns on Mars, they're out there. Unfortunately, sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find them- particularly in a culture that's so 'keen' on drinking.
#6 Listen to People When Going Out
I love going out with people who enjoy a good drink...or five. Lots of my friends love to chat when they're intoxicated- and I enjoy listening. I love how unguarded people become, how joyful people are and willing to let some part of themselves free. I enjoy watching that. People tell you some interesting bits about themselves. Personally, I think those bits are worth listening to.

#7 Take a Camera Along
Have you ever noticed how happy people look in photos on Snapchat and Insta after a night out? I don't know about you, but I've never seen a bereaved or despairing face whilst scrolling through social media on a Saturday morning. People- drunk or sober- smile and have a good time when the camera comes out. It's natural. We've been taught to smile and laugh in photos. If you're behind the camera, people will want you to snap, snap, snap away- and I have no doubt you'll be met with smiles on the other end. You never know, you may just end up being invited out to be the group's photographer- and you could always say "Sorry, I need to make sure I don't lose my camera, so no excessive drinking for me tonight."

#8 Make a Fool of yourself- no one will remember in the AM (or one year later)
Ultimately, in the end, you should just have fun- drinking one pint of water or 100 pints of beer. We're our harshest critics. If you're going out with a group and they're all drunk and you think you're standing awkwardly in the corner, take that time to yourself. Give yourself a minute f solitude and awkwardness and then get back to being social. I promise, no one will remember in the AM, 

My ultimate advice: Do what makes you happy. Don't force yourself into a situation where you're uncomfortable and don't compromise on the values that mean a lot to you to fit in either. Have fun- whether that means drinking enough for a camel or not.

Till next time-

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  1. Oh, Steph... I wish you were in my class in uni! I was the only one who wouldn't want to drink on a night out and I'd always have everyone on my back telling me to drink etc. I felt completely out of place with them and I never wanted to go (which is why I only went out twice in 3 years)

    Em ~ thisisemsworld.com

  2. This is such great advice. I don't drink much anymore so I'll certainly be using these tips when I get to uni!

  3. These are all so good! I'm not a very big drinker to begin with and I'm usually just fine with water. And usually I am the one driving so I cannot get drunk. I've only been drunk one time in my life and never again!

    Effortlessly Sophisticated

  4. Still looking for my unicorn on mars ^^ I don't typically go out as you know, I prefer staying in by myself, but if my friends ever do succeed in taking me out one night I'll definitely use these tips. I wish I had a friend like you on campus. My only friend at uni who doesn't drink lives off campus.

    Sophie's Spot

  5. Alcohol isn't a thing where I am (technically) but it still doesn't stop me from turning down parties xD they're just not my type of thing. I'm very bad at #1 and tend to have headaches when I haven't even done anything yet. I guess socializing just really exhausts me. No, I'd rather spend the day at home and watch some movie with a cup of coffee! :D
    Kanra Khan

    twitter || instagram || facebook

  6. This is great advice. I'm not a massive fan of drinking either, I'd much rather go through a night sober and feel amazing in the morning so I can completely relate. I wish there was a society in Uni for people who aren't interested in drinking all the time haha x


  7. I LOVE THIS! I'm the non-drinker in all my friend groups and while most of my uni-friends are totally fine with it (i bring more mixers for them) there were some who just stopped inviting me out because they seem to think you can't have fun without alcohol? like? I totally related to this, great post! xx

    Anne // www.basifpa-and-did.co.uk

  8. I cannot tell you how glad I am that you posted this. I'm heading to Uni this year and I have been dreading feeling like an outcast - this has helped me lots :)

    Alice // The Rose Glow


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