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Saying no to alcohol

(51 Posts)
erinaceus Sat 15-Oct-16 17:09:43

Does anyone have a script for turning down an alcoholic drink?

I find the back-and-forth of no-thank-you-yes-I'm-sure-yes-I'm-really-sure to be wearing.

I am none of: teetotal, cutting down a bit, a recovering alcoholic, pregnant, or trying to be pregnant. I felt moved to post this question after the other evening when a barman tried to "upsell" the soft drink that I ordered and I found that the few rounds of back-and-forth insisting-and-saying-no left me feeling irritated.

I appreciate that he was doing his job and encouraging a party spirit, but I ordered a soft drink, and did not want any hassle. I would prefer something to say that is to the point and not insulting, as typically the insister is aiming for hospitable and missing the mark in my opinion, or so I like to think.

I am trying to find a turn of phrase that will not start a debate either. I once has a soft drink with some pre-dinner nibbles, then later in the evening was told "good girl" when I accepted the offer of a glass of wine with dinner. I think this says more about them than me but wanted express irritation about that incident.

Sometimes "maybe later" is vague enough but it is not strictly accurate if I later on chose not to partake only to face another round of insisting.

I posted this in Feminism chat - I am not sure whether this behaviour is gender-related or not, maybe someone else might have some thoughts on this.

Marbleheadjohnson Sat 15-Oct-16 17:17:06

I am not a big drinker..not teetotal, I just don't drink very often.

I find just repeating "no thanks" like a scratched record is the best approach. It's the truth, "no" is a complete sentence and you've added a polite "thanks" to make it even more complete. You don't need to explain yourself when refusing alcohol, it is not a social crime to refuse it.

If people get annoyed at your refusal to cave/explain yourself/whatever, that's their problem.

My life got better when I started channelling Mary Poppins : "First of all, I'd like to make one thing clear: I never explain anything" <turn on heels with a smile, walk away, end scene>.

Marbleheadjohnson Sat 15-Oct-16 17:20:28

In fact, the scratched record technique is my favourite for anything that requires assertiveness. It makes it clear it's not up for discussion. People get annoyed but that's because they realised they are looking foolish, not you.

Dozer Sat 15-Oct-16 17:23:08

Yes, broken record is best. Think men can get even more pressure to drink, but people don't speculate about men being pregnant!

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Sat 15-Oct-16 17:25:38

I'm the same, not teetotal, not PG, not TTC, not trying to cut back, I just don't drink much and one is usually enough, but people do seem to think it's strange sometimes. I'd just say "no, thanks", followed by "I said no thanks" and if necessary "I SAID no thanks". And if that failed I'd probably mutter "fuck off".

Marbleheadjohnson Sat 15-Oct-16 17:26:47

Yes. My friends are used to me refusing alcohol, but if one of my male friends did the same, the others would fall down in shock and wonder if the refuser was seriously ill rathed than simply not fancying a pint that round.

Brown76 Sat 15-Oct-16 17:28:06

If it's with people who are regular drinkers and don't get people who take it or leave it, I found that implying that I'd been drinking and was, effectively, hungover, always satisfied them and shut them up - strangely. "Had a heavy week/night, need a break from drinking etc". Not that you should have to lie.

CMOTDibbler Sat 15-Oct-16 17:28:28

I don't drink much (I think I had three glasses of wine last year as my total alcohol intake) and find the same unhealthy interest in trying to get me to drink. The broken record method is the only way to go imo.

However dh doesn't drink much either, and reports people also try to persuade him to have alcohol

JenLindleyShitMom Sat 15-Oct-16 17:28:58

Respond with a simple no thanks and when they insist you say nothing but just look at them expectantly (the expectation is that the penny will drop and they will accept your first answer). If it's a bar tender they will either get it and serve you or insist again. If they insist again you say nothing and move away to where there is another server and place your order. If it is someone else (another customer or party guest) you don't acknowledge their insistence and just deal with the bar staff or other guests by chatting and serving yourself. There really is no clearer message than ignoring the repeated insistence. You gave your answer. You don't need to repeat it. They heard you.

Marbleheadjohnson Sat 15-Oct-16 17:33:58

Yea I wouldn't lie, especially if it's people I'd be out drinking with regularly. If it were a bartender I'd suggest to them they were being irresponsible trying to force alcohol on a customer. It's also extra rude if they are selling to you, rather than a friend/relative offering at a social gathering. You're not pregnant/a recovering alcoholic/on medication that reacts violently to alcohol, but you could be any one of those things, a bartender would have no idea by looking at you so shouldn't put anyone in the position where they have to explain.

erinaceus Sat 15-Oct-16 17:56:30

Thank you everybody for your helpful replies. I feel less alone now.

It is also helpful to think about how men might face more?different?more shaming? insistence in the same situation of attempting to decline politely.

I think that the "no, thank you" then stare approach is a good one, especially with a bartender - for some reason that particular situation made me feel incredibly awkward, maybe because a friend was buying a round and we wanted to sit down and have a chat and the extra exchange at the bar was just crap customer service really.

Maybe next time someone suggests I add vodka to what might be thought of as a mixer I will put on an incredulous expression and exclaim witheringly and loudly People do that? as if it is an outrageous suggestion.

Maybe not.

Thanks again, everybody.

chunters Sat 15-Oct-16 18:27:04

I hate this - I am teetotal and have been for coming up 20 years. I've never had anyone try to upsell me alcohol but the whining insistence of 'go on just have one, you're not driving confused ' winds me up. I Sometimes respond by 'insisting' they come outside with me and have a cigarette smile while I 'think about ' having just one because it's never occurred to me in the last 20 years that I could/ should/ want to grin

ShatnersBassoon Sat 15-Oct-16 18:31:48

"No thanks. Please don't ask again, it gets boring very quickly."

I'm not teetotal, but often don't want to drink. It's rude to keep on at people, so I don't mind being slightly rude to put a stop to it.

erinaceus Sat 15-Oct-16 19:52:08

No thanks. Please don't ask again, it gets boring very quickly.

Thank you, ShatnersBassoon. I like that - succinct.

chunters - I am not a smoker but I could substitute with other proposed activities. I always thought it would be easier if one was teetotal, because people who know you know not to bother asking, but maybe this is a misconception on my part or grass-is-always-greener way of thinking.

DrDreReturns Sat 15-Oct-16 21:53:15

I've been on nights out with people who seem to take it as a personal affront if you are not constantly drinking. It's so annoying. I do drink but I like to pace myself and have some non alcoholic drinks as well. Cue 'why aren't you drinking' and worse.

Xenophile Sat 15-Oct-16 22:03:42

I don't drink.

When I've told people that I don't drink they tend to either assume I'm an alcoholic and tell me how well I'm doing in my recovery which would be very kind if it were true or think I'm being dull and try and 'convince' me that I'll have more fun if I do have a drink.

I tend to just be consistent and repeatedly tell them no, but if they are super insistent, then I wouldn't go out with them again. It's bloody boring being told how dull you are when you're having a really good time and not having a drink!

redexpat Sat 15-Oct-16 22:03:52

I do drink, but not beer. When people try to get me to drink beer I just say no thanks it makes me fart. Which it does. They never push it.

Marbleheadjohnson Sat 15-Oct-16 22:12:59

Haha redexpat grin

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 15-Oct-16 22:17:08

I can't say that I've found it a problem. I do drink; sometimes I don't feel like it, and just say I don't feel like it.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 15-Oct-16 22:20:08

I do suffer from migraine and if I have any sort of headache, even if not an incipient migraine, I will say so and won't drink. That's a reason, not an excuse but you could adapt it.

HillaryFTW Sat 15-Oct-16 22:59:53

To a bartender, can you say you are driving.?

janethegirl2 Sat 15-Oct-16 23:01:17

Just no thanks, I'm driving tends to work for me.

TiggyD Sat 15-Oct-16 23:11:15

Never had that problem with staff. Normally it's the people I'm out with that cause the problems. You could make excuses but you shouldn't have to.

Lorelei76 Sat 15-Oct-16 23:16:03

Ive only had a bar man try to upsell once, I think I just glared at him.

I don't really drink and stick to a firm no. It has to repeated with the odd arsehole, I find an icy tone stops questioning.

erinaceus Sun 16-Oct-16 08:33:48

To a bartender, can you say you are driving?

I can say this, yes. However, I am not driving, and I have a strong preference for not lying. I think the icy tone route and glaring route will suit me better. I have also found that turning up to other people's parties with a bottle of something fizzy that is not alcoholic seems to work well, as does saying that I am thirsty and prefer to start with something non-alcoholic. After a few drinks or hours, no-one seems to notice anyway, but that initial hump is irritating to get over.

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