The office party is in full swing and everyone has a glass in their hands. But while the others are sipping on wine and beer, you're looking down at a diet coke. A new study has shed light on some of their tried-and-tested tips and tricks.
'We found they felt being a non-drinker was a form of deviance'
The research highlighted the fact that non-drinkers, understandably, didn't want to miss out on gatherings. In some cases, socialising was even a requirement of their jobs. So how do they do it? Well, some of the most common excuses included making themselves useful by offering to play designated drivers or seeming like a fitness guru when they said avoiding alcohol is the key to weight loss for them.
"Drinking can be a big part of workplace culture, and being viewed as an outsider for any reason can hurt you professionally," the study's lead author, Dr. Lynsey Romo of North Carolina State University, said.
"In our study, we interviewed successful professionals who don't drink. We found they felt being a non-drinker was a form of deviance."
Because of this stance, many worried about making clients or colleagues feel uncomfortably by not boozing. Therefore, a strategy was not to draw attention to their teetotal stance by not announcing they weren't drinking.
If offered an alcoholic drink, some would answer honestly, while some would decline in a vague, ambiguous manner. Phrases such as 'I'm not drinking today' or 'I have to be up early tomorrow' often replaced the straightforward 'I don't drink'. Some even covered their tracks by accepting or buying an alcoholic beverage but not actually consuming it.
If caught out, coping strategies included deflection by offering to buy a round for others or suggesting a lift home for those on the booze. Others used humour to lighten the mood, while some made alcohol-related health excuses.
Don't want a drink this festive season? It's your right to handle the situation in a way that makes you feel comfortable by using any of the aforementioned excuses. But bear in mind that a happy workplace is one where you can be yourself. Colleagues, clients and bosses should be accepting and understanding rather than judgemental. Try and muster up the courage to state your stance and then see it through without worrying about what others think.
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