Ask An Expert·2 min read

What Do I Say When People Ask Why I’m Not Drinking?

Have a questionSubmit it here (totally anonymously).

Dear Expert,

What do I say when people ask why I’m not drinking?

Dear Anonymous,

First, know that you have a right to say no without providing any explanation at all. But if you do want to answer, keep it simple and vague. Say something that doesn’t invite a lot of questions. Some examples: 

  • I'm focusing on my health 

  • Drinking just doesn't really work in my life right now

  • I'm taking a break from drinking

After that, people may still ask why, but remember that they’re not necessarily coming from a malicious place. You can either repeat what you just said or say another vague statement like, “It's something I'm working on.”

The biggest pitfall is when you try to come up with an excuse. Because then the other person may try to solve the problem within it. For example, if you say, “I have to get up really early tomorrow to move,” the other person may offer to help you move, in an effort to get you to drink. There’s a lot less for people to try to solve when you keep it simply with, “I’m not drinking tonight. It’s my choice.”

Ask an Expert is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, mental-health professional, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. By submitting a question, you are agreeing to let theSkimm use it—in part or in full—and we may edit its answer for length and/or clarity.

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