Avoiding peer pressure to drink alcohol

Courtesy of MCT

Question:

Dear Life & Style,

I guess I’m not the typical crazy partying college student. I’m not much of a drinker, and I’m constantly getting made fun of. I can’t be the only one in this predicament. How can I avoid the peer pressure from my friends and still maintain my social life?

— Total Abstainer

Answer:

When the majority of us imagine what our college years should consist of, we see fun, friends, and frequent parties. It’s only natural considering all the hype that music, movies, and popular television shows portray.

Singer Asher Roth describes what one should typically experience throughout his infamous single “I Love College.” Apparently, we should just dance, get each other naked, drink, and smoke then “pass out at 3, wake up at 10, go out to eat then do it again.”

ABC Family’s hit series, Greek, produced an episode where all the fraternities and sororities were forced to comply with an alcohol ban during the campus’ “Dry Weekend.” All these students could do was whine and complain about how boring their lives would be for the next 48 hours.

What I’m trying to say is that your friends probably can’t see past the stereotype of what they’re conditioned to believe college is all about. They’re under the fabricated impression that there’s a status quo to maintain and the only way to uphold this expectation is through Flip Cup and Power Hour.

When you don’t want to submerge yourself into the aftermath of empty calories, hangovers and regretted decisions your friends can’t help but feel worried about you because you’re passing up, what they see as, everything college stands for.

So, your job is to simply suggest alternatives to beer pong, almost guaranteed embarrassment, and the walk of shame. We all want to have fun, but not everyone realizes that fun doesn’t have to include jungle juice or Captain Morgan.

Unfortunately, your buddies and gal pals aren’t always going to be down for sober town. A compromise is in order. You need to realize you don’t have to take countless shots to consider “going out” a good time and they need to respect your decision to leave liquor alone by participating in sober activities.

Once you get to where you’re going to spend the rest of your night, just ignore their constant pestering by saying things like “no thanks, more for all of you!” They’ll eventually either be too intoxicated to care or give up due to your unwillingness to budge.

On the other hand, you need to do your homework. No, I don’t mean the seemingly frivolous assignments your professors throw at you each week; I’m saying, you need to research what kinds of activities you and your friends can engage in minus the booze.

Always be on top of new movie releases and trendy restaurants. Get to know your city and the surrounding areas. You’ll have to start thinking out of the ordinary, because you’ve got some tough competition.

Go with things like paintball, bowling, go kart racing, miniature golf, hiking, craft fairs, amusement parks, concerts, camping, museums and comedy clubs. You’d also be surprised by how many events the city puts on each month in recognition of holidays or for charities.

Ask if they’d like to get a big group together and substitute the same old party scene with these new and exciting options. If they’d still rather befriend red cups instead, it might be time to make an additional group of friends who share your same concerns and values.

Don’t let the pressure to fit in dictate your experience. I know, easier said than done, but just remember: There’s more to life and college than vodka. You don’t have to drink to make the most of both.