Do You (Still) Need Alcohol to Have a Fun Night Out?

Updated on July 19, 2013
L.T. asks from Houston, TX
31 answers

I'm curious....it seems at though a group of social acquaintances tend to have alcohol every time we are out whether it's a couples party, girls night out or whatever. Some of these people I wouldn't mind hanging out with more because I like them personally but I feel kind of like I'm left out of some social outings because I don't drink. It's not that I'm opposed to it and do enjoy an occasional drink but I do generally limit my drink to one margarita, one glass of wine, one mixed drink, etc. I don't even mind that others are drinking around me but I'm just not going to down a bottle of wine because honestly, I know it will make me feel awful and I'd rather have those calories in a good piece of cake or something like that--hah! I'm an "older" mom in my mid-40's with younger children--I know some of these people are about my age but many of them about 10 years younger (with kids of similar ages--that's how we generally know each other is through our kids) so maybe that's it?

Is it me just getting older that I don't find the whole social drinking thing appealing? And am I reading too much into things to think that I'm not being included because I'm there with my water or soda and not an alcoholic beverage at social outings? (probably) Just curious what others think about it! TIA!

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for your input! I have decided that this group I was speaking of just likes to drink a lot in general--maybe they have other issues going on. :-) But this question has helped me be a bit more insightful about hanging out with my closer friends and I know that I don't need to drink with/around them to have a great time!

Featured Answers

C.M.

answers from Washington DC on

I know how you feel. I was a younger mom. I had my first kid at 24 and last kid at 27. I'm only 32 right now. I do not drink. At all. Ever. I do get left out at times and have even lost friends over it. People say I'm too uptight and boring because I don't drink. Honestly, I just don't like it. I don't like how people get loud and annoying when they drink. I do not need alcohol to have fun. I am perfectly happy with a soda. I don't like the taste or smell of alcohol. I think it's gross. I might be a little uptight but at least I don't stink and I'm not abnoxious, lol and I still know how to have fun!

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B..

answers from Dallas on

I'm 30, and I've never once needed alcohol to have a fun night. Never in my life. I tend to keep friends who don't drink much, because it allows us to have fun without alcohol being the main attraction.

7 moms found this helpful

C.F.

answers from Portland on

I don't NEED alcohol to have fun, no.
But, I am usually to broke to afford alcohol on any kind of a regular basis, like not even once a month.
So it is very nice to once in a blue moon have a few drinks and relax.

We don't have any friend or family here so we never have babysitters, so any drinking I do is at night, kiddo in bed, watching a movie with my husband.

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V.P.

answers from Columbus on

I grew up in a Sicilian family -- we always had wine on the table and I started having a glass with dinner at around 8 years old. There was nothing scandalous or salacious about it and when I went to college, I found bars and parties really boring. I couldn't understand how alcohol and getting drunk could be the best people could come up with for entertainment. I didn't find it offensive. Just really stupid. I don't like feeling unable to control my body or my words.

I still will enjoy a glass of wine or beer with dinner, but any more than a single glass and I feel it. I'm in my mid 40s, too, and I find that as I get older, my body gets more and more sensitive to things I eat and drink. Lately, when I drink red wine, I feel awful - I apparently am much more sensitive to tannins or sulfites or something. So I don't really enjoy it. And now I'm very sensitive to gluten, so I have to have gluten free beer, which is often hard to find. So I might have a drink every week or two, but that's about it.

Anyway, I just think it's so wrong-minded to shelter children from alcohol. So many of my friends had locked liquor cabinets and strict rules growing up and went nuts in college. Me, I grew up with it and have never found alcohol to be all that interesting.

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S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

oh no, i'm right there with you. i have such a low tolerance that it's not even worth it to me. i have a drink a few times a year, but that's it. it's not worth the terrible way i feel the next morning, or the risks involved if i'm anywhere but home.
but then, i really don't enjoy the bar scene any more either. once in a blue moon (actually less, as blue moons occur every year) i'll attend a 'girls' night out' that's at a bar because it involves people i don't see often and with whom i really want to reconnect. but it's rare, and i don't stay long.
at bigger parties no one really notices if you don't drink, so at, say, a family cookout, i never feel awkward for being sober, or feel left out.
khairete
S.

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A.S.

answers from Boca Raton on

I'm in the same boat . . . I don't enjoy drinking anymore other than a glass of wine every now and then. It's just not worth the toxicity and the weight gain.

In my experience birds of a social drinking feather tend to flock together. It's tough to fit in if that's not your cup of tea. I doubt it's personal but you're probably right that you're not the first person called for a get-together. :P

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J.W.

answers from St. Louis on

I have never felt I should drink or not drink because of what people around me are doing. You have your limits, which is good, but you shouldn't expect your friends to make you feel better about your choices.

My husband is a brewer, I love craft beers, this is the crowd I hang with. If for whatever reason I want to limit myself one evening I don't feel bad, I don't feel the odd man out, no one questions it.....it just is what it is.

So I do think you are projecting your feelings on others. If you want to feel better, offer to give rides. For one, you aren't going to get drunk so you are the perfect designated driver (DD) and saying you are the DD is also the perfect excuse for not drinking. May help with whatever feelings you have going on.

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L.M.

answers from Chicago on

When I go out with my girlfriends, I will have usually one, MAYBE 2 glasses of wine. No more because I have to drive myself home. But I have also hung out in the heavy drinking crowd and while you may still be fun without drinking, those who like to drink heavily like to be around others who are drinking heavily. If you aren't being invited to the "drinking parties" it's probably because you aren't drinking.

I don't find it appealing on a regular basis either, and I don't like to be drunk - the buzz is not worth that nights and next days misery anymore. Been there, done that. No mas!

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S.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

I just can't drink like I used to. Anymore than three and I end up having an awful wakeful night. I wish my friends were the same, but I've actually had to stop seeing our best friends because it was just a binge drinking session for them and I hated it. I'm turning more to food as well!

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A.V.

answers from Washington DC on

Nope. I have friends (of all ages) who drink a lot more than me and I usually don't mind if we're all sitting around a camp fire or at a barbecue. They don't get mean or sloppy drunk. They're just happy and stupid and shouldn't drive. If a friend got sick, binged a lot, "needed" a drink constantly, then I would worry about them. My late BIL drank himself to death.

I don't feel left out with my non-drinking. If your friends are giving you a hard time, then maybe the problem isn't you but them.

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A.J.

answers from Williamsport on

I just got in from a wedding where I partied and danced the night away without a DROP of alcohol all day. I haven't had "several drinks" in an evening for 8 years. Why? Because my oldest is 7 and I'm a single mom of three young kids and I'm ALWAYS the designated driver. It's NEVER OK for me to be hung over. And you know what? It's not that hard. I used to drink socially all the time too but it feels way better to skip the alcohol when out and keep it super scarce at home. I don't know if it's a maturity thing.....lots of my friends my age (40s) always drink too-but they don't have kids, or they have one sober parent to drive. Even some of my single mom friends will have a "few drinks" when we're out and then drive home. I don't GET IT!!!! It's not that hard to be social while sober.

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J.G.

answers from Chicago on

People don't need alcohol to have fun, they just like the fun of Alcohol.

I'm a drinker, always have been. I couldn't careless if my friends drink or not, but I do mind when none drinkers think I need to drink to have fun.

I'm 41, btw, and I doubt i will ever outgrow my love of beer and wine. Im not sure what age has to do with it.

Cheers!

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L.F.

answers from San Francisco on

I can and will have fun wherever I go without alcohol. I don't drink anything unless I am at home/rare occasion. It isn't appealing to me at all----That is a big factor in why i don't go out with my friends anymore. I don't like the party scene and it's boring to me. A shot or mixed drink, ok ;) But not into several and falling on the floor drunk.

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X.O.

answers from Chicago on

I never really have.

I had a few underage drinks when I was a teenager, and 1 night of really overdoing it (meaning about 5 drinks in a few hours) when I was 20.

Since then, I usually have 1-2 drinks at a social event or when we go out to dinner. Having been pregnant 3 times since 2006, I am quite accustomed to going without a drink when we hang otu.

My husband has TONS of colleagues who drink like fish. Kinda disappointing, since they're doctors and know better about what they're doing to their bodies, but many do it as an escape. I don't judge them (not that you're judging), because I realize the kind of stress they're dealing with on a daily basis.

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L.G.

answers from Austin on

There will always be people who drink a lot. I think for some it is a habit and for others it is an escape. As long as they are not getting in the car and driving, I don't think it's a big deal. I am the kind of personality that has fun no matter where I am or who I am with, so I don't need the alcohol. And like you, I'd rather have the calories in something like a good dessert!

Be careful how you tell someone you are not having another drink. A simple "no thanks" is fine. And if someone asks why you aren't drinking, just say that money is tight right now, that you are saving up for some dessert later, or whatever fits you. Your acquaintances might not know you well enough yet and think you are judging them. Or they may be self-conscious about why they are drinking if you are not. If you are not included because of your not drinking, you aren't missing much.

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M.B.

answers from Austin on

I never was into that social drinking scene, either...... if you enjoy being around those people, go ahead and enjoy their company, but don't feel pressured into drinking more than you are comfortable with.

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C.V.

answers from Columbia on

I've never been a very heavy drinker. I've had a few really crazy nights, but that's about it. I could probably count them on one hand.

I find that, as I get older, I really don't care much for the taste of alcohol, don't really like the feeling of being drunk or around drunk people, and don't like the after effects.

The only drinks I really like are pina coladas, mojitos, the occasional sweet wine, and mixers with Disarrono. Anything too "boozy?" Not for me.

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J.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

I'm in my early thirties and I never needed alcohol to have fun. I used to have a cocktail or two in my early 20s, but like you, I have a sweet tooth and would rather save the calories for dessert. Now that I'm actually thinking about it, I think I stopped drinking altogether in my late twenties. But I've never felt left out. People I hang out with accept that I'm not a drinker and they're fine with it.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

I've never needed alcohol to have fun.
In my youth (into my mid 20's) I could drink anything (3 drinks was always my limit).
As I got older I found that certain drinks gave me horribly painful throbbing headaches the next day no matter how little I had of them and no matter how much water I drank (most hangovers are due to dehydration).
I had to stop drinking beer and most mixed drinks - the pain just wasn't worth it.
These days I can only have hard cider, wine, wine coolers, and sometimes a tablespoon of brandy in hot tea with lemon and honey for a sore throat.
I use sherry in some recipes and a glass of champagne for New Years is alright.
But that's about it.
I don't know if my liver is less efficient as I get older.
There are sulfides in what I can drink so I don't think that's related.
I have relatives that are alcoholics so I'm kind of grateful that I can't drink much in the way of alcohol.
We have neighborhood barbeques and some of the neighbors are fond of beer but don't get blotto drunk.
It use to bother some them that I wasn't drinking much but after explaining a few times that I get horrible headaches they let it go and are fine with it.
I find that as long as you are nursing a drink (non alcoholic) (just have a glass of something in your hand even if you only sip it every so often) most people will not notice or care what you're drinking.
So sip a tonic with a lime twist and skip the gin or have a Virgin Mary (Bloody Mary without the vodka).
You can still be social without (or with very little) alcohol.

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C.T.

answers from Dallas on

Well, I don't need to get drunk or tipsy to have fun, but I genuinely enjoy red wine, and will usually indulge in a glass or two when out with friends ... Much in the same way I order dessert when I'm out ... It's a special treat. My husband can't drink for medical reasons, and I have friends who choose not to drink, and I've never felt like it was a big deal how much anyone does or doesn't drink. Maybe you are being over sensitive or maybe your friends have a problem with alcohol.

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E.M.

answers from Phoenix on

I used to be a big drinker in college, but isn't that what college is for? I have a real career and kids now, I am really not interested in any of the consequences that can come of getting sloppy drunk in public. My husband and I will occasionally share a bottle of wine at home with dinner. I will have 1-2 drinks if we go out to dinner or out with friends. I frequently attend events, conferences, happy hours, etc for work and I am shocked at how some people choose to behave. There is nothing wrong with a drink or two, but getting drunk in a professional setting has too many risks for me to think about taking advantage of an open bar. If we are out with the kids and I am driving, I do not drink at all, even a drop. That is purely because of the strict DUI laws in my state.
There are friends that I spend less time with now that I do not want to go out to bars and clubs, but that's OK. I think it's a bit of a natural separation between my friends with kids and those who either don't have them or have older kids (high school or out of the house) who don't require the same level of supervision. All of those friends know that I am in a different place in my life right now. They will still invite me to dinner, movies, shopping, just not out to clubs and that is fine with me. Though it did take me a while to accept.

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J.T.

answers from College Station on

I grew up in a family that drinks. A lot. To this day, my Dad (in his late 60s) thinks you are not having a good time if there is not an alcoholic beverage in your hand. For real. He encourages me to drink.

Like you, I have a low tolerance and just plain don't like to have less control. I stop at one. My other friends do drink more, but that's okay. I have never been a social drinker and I have never missed out on anything because I wasn't drinking.

Most people don't care what other people are drinking. I know I don't, unless it gets excessive, but I try hard not to be in those situations. You may be reading into it, but don't let it bother you. Just be who you are.

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K.I.

answers from Los Angeles on

I think everyone grows out of or even into social drinking at thier own pace. Drinking was a big part of my late teen & early 20's but I have outgrown that need, like you I don't like feeling sluggish the next day!

I still enjoy going out to dinner with my husband & having a drink or 2 with dinner though.

I am 36 & husband is 42 & we are the 'non drinkers' in our social circle...granted we will each have 1 or 2 of something but neither of us were ever 'big drinkers' ...my husband was raised in a family that enjoys good wine & I have learned how to appreciate a nice glass once in awhile...other than that my hubby likes the occasional micro brew..,he's not a big hard alcohol drinker at all & when he does choose to drink liquor it's usually a whiskey of some kind & I usually go for a vodka mix or southern comfort, easy to drink like that.

~To answer your question I think you are reading too much into it..no one in my social circle would even care if someone isn't drinking.

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C.O.

answers from Washington DC on

L.:

Nope, **I** don't need alcohol to have a fun or good time.

Can't remember the last time I had a drink of alcohol.

Do I think you are reading too much into it? No. I think you are being observant. If you aren't being included because you don't drink?! the people are missing out!!! I don't mind others drinking around me. I am typically the designated driver and don't mind that role at all!!

Since it doesn't sound like you really have a lot in common with them other than kids? You aren't missing out on much!!

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L.C.

answers from Washington DC on

No.
We don't drink if we are out.
We will have a drink if we are at home and we aren't going anywhere. We never drink and drive. If we are having an event for kids - no alcohol is served. If we are having a dinner or a party for adults we will put it out.

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S.G.

answers from Grand Forks on

I drink because I enjoy the drink, not so I can have a good time. I usually limit myself to 2-3 beers or glasses of wine. I don't like to drink when I go out to a restaurant though because it is too expensive. I don't go out to bars.

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K.A.

answers from San Diego on

Honestly, I have never been one to really drink much, if anything. Even when I was younger I rarely drank and when I did it wasn't very much. I was quite often the driver and such. I just never got it and never enjoyed it.
When I started having kids and then breastfeeding it was even less appealing.
I might have a margarita like once a year or a couple inches in a glass of my husband's beer. But he doesn't drink much either. And when he does it's local craft beer.

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L.U.

answers from Seattle on

I am 36. I am probably a lot like you. I rarely drink, and if I do it's one drink and that's it. I have never been drunk. I have never been hungover.
Aint nobody got time for that! LOL!
But I find that drinking, especially wine, is at most get togethers. And I just have water or soda. Nobody looks at me weird. In fact, most people we see now know it's because my husband is a recovering alcoholic (10 years sober) so he doesn't drink either.
I actually don't have a lot of patience for people that drink and start getting sloppy. I will leave. I have always been able to have a good....make that GREAT....time without downing alcohol. It's expensive and it makes most people act foolish. Plus, in my younger years, I didn't want to wake up the next morning next to someone I didn't know!
I don't think my not drinking has made me be excluded.
L.

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D.D.

answers from Madison on

I am the same way. I only have like maybe 1 mixed or frozen drink when I go out with friends. And yes, I think its because Im getting older. When I was younger I would drink to get wasted. Now I only drink to get tipsy.

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

My husband is a recovering alcoholic, so I rarely have alcohol. I have a drink maybe 3 or 4 times a year - with my brother or SIL or with a friend, but never around my husband. I have to say, sometimes I miss it :-)

I think it would be great if we could have a drink together, but whatever. We still have a good time! A drink now and then is nice, but it's the company that I really enjoy (that and a break from the kids).

Do you feel like you are not being included? I would really hope that's not the case. I really wouldn't think much of it if someone else ordered a water or soda. I would just enjoy my drink, whatever it was.

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J.B.

answers from Houston on

Well I must confess, I did go on my hubby's work trip last month and pretty much everyone had a drink in their hand 90% of the time and I was right there with them and that trip was a BLAST! But you know we had no kids, no responsibility, no worries. It was like being overgrown teenagers, ate what we wanted, stayed out all night, slept in, lazed around the beach, so fun. BUT when I came home to a house full of kids and 5 extra lbs on the scale, it was like, 'ok, back to reality!' So I think it's fun to cut loose sometimes, but normal life requires sobriety :). I do love a few glasses of wine sometimes and my hubs likes his beer, but if out with the kids I have nothing and if going out together without kids, one drinks he other drives and drinks nothing. On my own, if I was going to drive, I personally would abstain, jus not worth the risk. I am like another poster, we crack open a bottle if wine with a movie after the kids are down if anything at all.

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