Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Navigating the World of Social Acceptance

I stumbled on an interesting article that made light of how the author's choice to not drink bothers her friends – something I can relate to.

Now, I’ve done my fair share of drinking (mom and dad, sorry - I’ve been drinking since I was 18) but for years now I’ve had maybe one drink every 2 or 3 months. No, seriously. I’m just not a drinker and while I have my reasons, that’s not the point of this post.

Over the years, I noticed how differently I am treated because I don’t drink. I am not always included in the conversation and many times am left behind at a table by myself because everyone else got up to get a drink and then flitted off elsewhere. Which is fine. Except that now I’m just that loser sitting at the table by herself. That – OMG! – isn’t drinking! What is wrong with her? Couple this with the fact that I am extremely shy (yes, really) around people I don't know and it's a recipe for social disaster.

(And, poor Fred, is left sitting with me alone at the table, wishing he was anywhere but sitting with me and looking all around to make sure he’s not missing out. Which, he is, because I’ve been deemed ‘a total drag’ by the drinkers and the ring on his finger makes him feel obligated to sit with me.)

That’s just it: nothing is wrong with me. I choose to drink water, or tea or whatever else is there. It’s as if the grounds of inclusivity involve having a drink in hand with anything less makes me strange. I completely agree with this author in that not drinking doesn’t make me humorless or judgmental... I’m married to a guy that brews his own beer for crying out loud!

I was reminded by an on-and-off (and currently off now)(I guess)(more on that some other day) again friend the other day to not make her decisions into my problems. Same applies here.

You drink.
I don’t.
Big deal.
We can still be friends.
We can still be social.
You just have to be willing to talk to me to make it work.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here.
People decide to do things and not do other things every single day.

So why is alcohol such a deal maker and/or breaker on being socially accepted?


Dan K said...

Story of my life, Anna. Thanks for another insightful and amusing piece, as always. I wanna share this with everyone I know! Cheers.

Anonymous said...

used to excluded because we didnt smoke - but that is pretty much the norm now - the not to smoke - so maybe you are onto something - 30yrs later people wont drink as much??