How to Not Drink Like A Lady (Part II)

So here’s the part some of you been waiting for. You’re thinking “I’ve decided not to drink, but how do I do that?”Over the years, I mastered the art of declining drinks offered to me. I had to figure these things out by myself, but I figured I’d save you some time and energy by giving you a few tips on how to not drink like a lady.


Tip #1: When in Rome, at least look like you’re doing as the Romans do.

I know that in professional settings, I can’t very well screw up my face and say “Eew, I don’t want that yucky drink” like I used to when I was 2. I must at least look the part. I once walked into a networking event and everyone in the room was conversing with a glass of the house wine in their hands. As I shrugged off my coat, the server placed a glass in my hands. I took a cautious sip of the drink and instantly regretted it. Just as I was swallowing the rising bile in my throat, an individual with a gold platted name tag stepped forward to shake my hand. I was stuck with the offending glass of wine for  the rest of the night. The appearance of that glass of wine was powerful. I at least looked like I belonged in a room of young, up and coming professionals

Tip #2: Never be caught empty handed 

Always have something in one of your hands. A plate of food, a glass or cup work fine. If you have your drink in your hands, it is unlikely that someone will ask you if you’d like a drink because you already have one. If you have a plate in your hand, you can respond “I’m still working on this plate.”  Only one hand should be occupied. You need the other hand to reach out and give an assertive handshake (web-to-web, firm yet not overpowering, two pumps) and to gesture as you speak (if necessary).

Tip #3: Do not draw attention to the fact that you’re not drinking

Although I find it absurd that one would consider someone’s personal decision not to drink as an insult, I have had people tell me it has happened to them. If someone has gone out of their way to provide you a drink that you do not want, your best bet is to distract them from the fact that you are not drinking. Hold the drink while talking comfortably and listen attentively when others talk. When you’re engaged in a good conversation, food and drinks often go untouched. Be careful with the option of saying “No thank you, I don’t drink.” It can send off signals to people and make them form conclusions about why you’re not drinking. You can’t hold your liquor. You’re a recovering alcoholic. You’re pregnant. You’re…in big trouble if you open that up without explaining. You can say “I’m driving tonight so I’m going to have to pass on the drink.” People rarely argue with you when because they’re applauding your safety precaution.

Tip #3: Know Your Drink Options

There are “grown drink” substitutes everywhere. You can mix anything, you just have to march up to the bar with some authority and ask for it. I once ordered a

“cran & Sprite with cherries on the rocks with a tiny pirate sword.”

The bartender took down my order with an derisive smirk but she still brought me the drink.

Here are a few Virgin (non-alcoholic) drink options at the bar:

– Citrus Soda (7UP or Sprite) with grenadine, mint leaves, or pomegranate added for color

– Cranberry juice and lime juice (looks like a Cosmo)

– Apple juice or Sparking Grape juice (both look like wine or champagne)

If you’re feeling fancy, you can try throwing out these signature-named drinks

Shirley Temple (grenadine and Sprite)

Bloody Mary, hold the vodka

Roy Rogers (cola and grenadine)

Arnold Palmer (lemonade and iced tea. Looks like a Long Island ice tea)

I hope this article helps any of you who are struggling in this area. Being an adult doesn’t require you to compromise your values. Anything that even asks you to do that probably isn’t worth your time.

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