8 Tips To Help You Socialise Sober
Woken up with one too many headaches during the festive season? Been tossing with the idea of taking a booze break but feeling lost on where to start? Mate, we’ve been there and can assure you you’re not alone!
Heaps of us go sober for a temporary spell or a longer term lifestyle change. Whether it’s for health reasons, to boost your mood or even to support a partner or a good mate, taking a little break from alcohol is becoming more and more popular. Putting a cork on the hard stuff can do a world of wonders, but if you’re out with your mates, you might find it hard to make the decision stick.
Why we’re practicing socialising sober
Even the most confident of us can sometimes feel a bit daunted by walking into a room of strangers or of people you’re trying to impress. If you’re one who relies on having a beer or wine to ‘loosen up’ first, the thought of doing it without any social lubricant may feel a little rough.
But just like you learned how to dance for a wedding or tie a tie, socialising without alcohol is a learned skill. You’re not going to get better at it without practice, and once you’ve got it under your belt, you’ll feel a lot more relaxed at parties, functions and dinners – even if you don’t plan on giving up drinking at every social gathering.
To help you kickstart the process, here are our tips for going to a party sober and still being the life of the party.
1. Have an answer ready for ‘Why aren’t you drinking?’
Drinking really is less about alcohol itself and more about the way social rituals and traditions make us feel connected to other people. Once you understand this, it’s easier to see how you can have fun at a party sober, but it also explains why people seem to demand a reason from you if you’re not sipping a beer with them.
Often, it’s not so much what you say in reply to this question, and more that you have something to say. Without getting into all the details if you don’t want to, explaining you’re on a health kick or you want to actually remember their sparkling conversation the next day, is a lighthearted way to head off the questions.
2. Take a supportive partner or friend with you
It’s never easy to do something alone and mastering how to stay sober at a party is no exception. Having a partner or buddy in ‘your corner’ can help you feel like a team instead of one person against a tide of people ready to make you do shots. This doesn’t have to be the same person every time either – you can pick a ‘designated friend’ for different events and mix it up.
3. Be prepared with non-alcoholic drinks
Some party hosts think ahead and provide non-alcoholic drinks, but lots of people don’t necessarily cater for this. Either way, it’s a good idea to ensure you’ve got your own supply of booze free beverages you can drink throughout the night.
There are plenty of tasty non-alcoholic beers that mimic the look and taste of your favourite boozy variants so you won’t need to stand out from the crowd with your drink alternative or sacrifice alcohol for sugary soft drinks. We love a cold Heaps Normal or Sobah brew that’s as good if not better than the real thing — plus, your mates won’t even know the difference.
4. Make a plan for how to stay sober at a party
Planning to take a night off the beers is one thing, but after an hour or two when the drinks and conversations are flowing, you might start to think about cracking open a cold one. If you’ve decided to skip drinking for a night, falling into old habits might leave you feeling dissatisfied with yourself and even give you a splitting headache the next day.
You know the temptation may arise, so try to have a plan in place. Grabbing one of your own non-alcoholic beers is a good way to get the feeling of drinking without actually doing it. Maybe it’s giving yourself a circuit breaker and heading outside for a few minutes to reset. Whatever you choose, if you feel the pull, initiate the plan.
5. Bring it up ahead of time with your close mates
If cutting down on alcohol and drinking mindfully is something you want to do on a more regular basis, it’s a great idea to sit down with your good mates and have an honest conversation about it. You can do this before the social event itself which also helps take the pressure off.
Changing your relationship to alcohol involves a bit of work when it comes to your relationships with people, so invest the time to explain your choice. That way, you’ll have an extra buffer at your next party who can help take the spotlight off your non-alcoholic drinking choices and keep an eye out for you.
6. Get some tips from other non drinkers
No matter how new this situation feels for you, we can assure you, you’re not the first non drinker to attend a shindig. In your extended circle, we’re betting you’ll know at least one other person who is off the booze, so why not reach out and ask them for advice?
It’s not their first rodeo and they’re sure to have a few tips on how to avoid traps for young players who are staying sober for the first time.
7. Don’t worry if it doesn’t feel natural at first
If you've been drinking at almost 100% of the social gatherings you’ve attended, chances are you might feel the absence of having a drink in hand and be more self aware as you make your way around a party. Good news is that’s perfectly normal – the reality is everyone probably feels the same way, drinking or not.
Be realistic about the experience and face the fact there might be a few awkward conversations or terrible dance moves you’d wish you didn't remember the next day. But remember, practice makes perfect. Like running drills at footy training or learning to drive, every time you do a social gathering without booze, you get a little better at mastering how to stay sober at a party.
8. Enjoy your sunrise the next day
Once you’ve gone through a night of socialising without drinking, we reckon you ought to reward yourself. Set up a morning swim, an early fishing trip, or a treat-yourself brunch at that place with outrageous queues you’re never up early enough to visit. Give yourself a pat on the back mate, you just nailed booze-free socialising.