Whether it's at the New Year's party of your work or a night in the pub with your friends: those who don't drink alcohol are often seen as boring party poopers. But according to researchers of the American North Carolina State University, there are plenty of ways to stay sober without being labeled as a party pooper.
The scientists interviewed full-time employees who never drank. "Drinking is an important part of the working culture, and being viewed as an outsider may harm your career", professor Lynsey Romo, main author of the research, states. "We interviewed people who are successful in their professional life, while still being teetotalers. Nearly all of them regularly felt like outsiders for not drinking alcohol."
The majority of these teetotalers feel like they should comfort their alcohol drinking colleagues. The phrase 'I don't drink tonight' is more easily accepted than 'I never drink'. Although 40% of the non-drinkers actually doesn't like the taste of alcohol and 38% no longer drinks because of a problematic history with alcohol, these teetotalers admit to receiving more understanding if they use excuses involving their health.
The study also sums up the most efficient excuses for not drinking without receiving odd looks. Health-related arguments like 'alcohol always gives me migraine' are easily accepted, as is the argument that you take medicine which you cannot combine with alcohol. 'I don't drink because I want to lose weight' seems to be a legitimate excuse, as well as 'I'm training to run the marathon'.
Several employees also said that they regularly held an alcoholic beverage, while not drinking from it. Enthusiastically getting drinks for the colleagues also distracts others from the fact that they don't drink themselves. For those who don't want to waste money on those drinks, there's an even easier way not to drink and be appreciated for it: being the designated driver and offering your colleagues a ride home.