Day 13: Excuses! Excuses!-What To Tell Our Friends

“How many more of us are faking the facade? How many more of us are pretending to be something we’re not? Even better, how many of us will have the courage to be ourselves regardless of what others think?”
– Katie McGarry, Dare You To

It may seem inconsequential, but one of the big things people worry about when participating in Dryuary is what to tell their friends when they offer them a drink. Why? I mean no one even bats an eyelash if you tell them you’re not eating carbs or you’re eating all carbs and no protein or you’re not eating at all because all of a sudden that’s the thing everyone else is doing.

So, why do we squirm when someone asks us why we’re not drinking?

Let’s get to that later. Right now, let’s come up with some lines to knock the nosey birds off their perches.

There’s the old tried and true, “I’m allergic to alcohol. Every time I drink, I break out in handcuffs.” Har! Har! Har! Unless you’ve actually been put in handcuffs because of drinking, then this one hits a little too close for comfort, or laughter.

How about, “I’m pregnant!” or “I’m trying to get pregnant!?” Of course, this only works for 50% of the population and it better be true or you’ll either have some ‘splaining to do in a few months or you’ll be pestered with the perpetual question of, “Are you yet?”— until you are.

“I’m on medication” is popular but always leads to the question, “What medication?” which leads to the question, “Why?” So, be prepared.

The reliable “I’m the designated driver” excuse has practically gone the way of the dinosaur since Uber and Lyft hit the streets.

“None of your f’ing business!” is effective if said forcefully enough but may lead to even more social isolation.

“I’m doing it for charity, do you want to sponsor me?” Not only gets them off your back but can land you some extra cash and higher esteem amongst your pals, if you can deal with the guilt. Unless you actually are not drinking for charity.

Really, there is no excuse that does not lead to more questions and a load of extraneous B.S. in general.

So, why don’t we just tell them the truth?

“I’m doing it because I want to.”

“I’m doing it because I need a break.”

“I’m doing it because it’s healthy.”

“I’m doing it to see what it’s like.”

We don’t have to qualify our response and we don’t have to sheepishly defend it. No questions asked. No extraneous B.S. in sight.

Just thinking about it makes us jut our chin out a little further. Doesn’t it? Or, does it make us bury it deeper in our chest? Don’t think you can do it?

According to Dr. James Prochaska in the book, “Changing For Good:“

Most people can be assertive, but many become inhibited because they do not believe they have the right to be powerful. You may not realize that you have all of the following rights, and may be depriving yourself by not acting upon them:

The right to be heard.

The right to influence other people.

The right to make mistakes.

The right to bring attention to yourself.

The right to change your mind.

The right to judge your own thoughts and feelings.

The right to resist other people’s judgments.

The right not to have to justify yourself.

The right to have limits—limited knowledge, limited caring, limited responsibility for others, and limited time.

The right to have your limits respected.

When you accept and act upon these rights, you are more likely to be assertive. And when you acknowledge that all people have the same rights as you, you will not confuse assertion with aggression. If nonassertive, passive behavior says that “you count, but I don’t,” and aggressive behavior says that “I count, and you don’t,” assertiveness respectfully communicates that “I count just as you do.”–Prochaska, James O.. Changing for Good (pp. 183-184). HarperCollins e-books. Kindle Edition. 

(Dr. Prochaska has also published a new book: Changing to Thrive: Using the Steps of Change to Overcome the Top Threats To Your Health and Happiness.)

Go ahead, stick that chin back out.

The first time you do it, you will be met with resistance. The second time, you will be met with raised eyebrows and some surprise that you’re still not drinking. The third time, they’ll just shrug. Most of us find people really aren’t that interested in whether we’re drinking or not, as long as we don’t tell them that they shouldn’t.

Post Submitted by: Been There, Done That!