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9 Ways to Turn Down a Drink


At one point or another, you’ve probably been offered a drink at a party. If you’re not really into drinking, this has the potential to be a bit of an awkward situation. While you can always just accept the offer and do nothing but hold the drink in your hand all night, pretending to go along with the whole drinking thing can get annoying after a while.

Even though it might seem like “everyone is doing it,” trust us: Not every single person in college drinks alcohol! You’re not alone in your refusal to drink. It’s totally normal, and there’s no reason you should feel weird about explaining to people that it’s just not your thing.

However, if you’re still unsure about how to answer to the age-old question “do you want a drink?” or if your peers are convinced they can change your habits, here are some serious and sarcastic ways to respond to that question like the clever girl we know you are.

1. “I can’t tonight; I have to be up early tomorrow for work/something else important.”

Probably one of the most common excuses used at parties today, saying that you have an early start the next day is a great way to refuse a drink. Whether you really do have to get up early the next morning or if you’re telling a little white lie, everyone can relate to the dread of having to be up and alert at a time when he or she would rather be sleeping.

2. (When offered a beer) “No, thanks; I’m more of a whiskey drinker.”

Like all Parks and Recreation fans, we love a good Ron Swanson reference. Establish your classiness by making it clear that you have very high standards in terms of the alcohol that you choose to consume. People will be impressed by your level of elegance, and, from that point on, associate you with Ron Swanson. It’s a win-win.

3. “I already have one, thanks” (and point to your cup that’s secretly filled with Diet Coke)

The decoy cup is a classic move to avoid drinking at a party. If someone sees that you already have a drink, the chances of you being offered another is very unlikely. The best part is that you can drink whatever you feel like! If you’re feeling chocolate milk one night or Mountain Dew the next, no one can stop you. It’s your cup, and you can fill it with whatever you want.

4. “I really wanna lose three pounds.”

Channel your inner Regina George and simply explain your goal to lose three pounds. It’s not a secret that drinking does not help at all in the way of losing weight, so this’ll seem like a pretty legit excuse. Also, everyone loves a good Mean Girls reference. Hopefully this will lead the conversation to the topic of the movie and off the topic of alcohol. You go, Glen Coco!

5. “I’m the designated driver; I have to be Sober Sally tonight.”

People always respect the designated driver (DD) excuse. Who in his or her right mind is going to try to get the DD to drink? That would involve consciously putting your peers in serious danger and putting random people on the roads’ lives at risk as well. Pulling the DD card is always a safe bet when you want people to lay off about trying to get you to drink, no questions asked.

6. “I’m on a cleanse right now. If it’s not hot water with maple syrup, lemon and cayenne pepper in it, I can’t drink it.”

If you’ve always wanted to be that really cool, hippie-dippie girl in your friend group, now’s your chance! You might get some weird looks from those people who think pizza is its own food group, but most people should understand how a cleanse works and that one slipup can ruin the entire thing. If you really want to sell your new “lifestyle” to people, mention the delicious kale salad you had for lunch or the amazing new yoga place you went to downtown.

7. “I’m on some serious antibiotics right now, so my doc said I’m not allowed to drink.”

Of course, there are only a certain number of times you can use this excuse before people start to think that you have some crazy illness, but for the short-term, this excuse is bulletproof. Much like the DD excuse, mentioning a doctor or medication of any kind is usually a red flag in people’s minds to not push you any further. If you really want to keep up the charade, carry around some tissues and sanitize your hands every 10 minutes.

8. “I went too hard last night; I think I should lay low tonight.”

Most college students who drink have experienced a hangover at one point or another. Those who fall under this category know how unpleasant a hangover can be and will have sympathy for your not feeling up to drinking again. Some might say that the best cure for a hangover is more alcohol, but we can promise you that is not the answer, no matter how many times someone tries to pull that one on you. So lay low tonight!

9. “I’m playing babysitter for the night and have to make sure all of my friends get home safe.”

Although this is a solid excuse, you should actually do this! If you’re not drinking and all of your friends are, you can be their go-to girl for the night if they need some water, if they need to be walked home or when they inevitably lose their keys at some point over the course of the night. Playing sober sitter doesn’t mean you can’t party with your friends; You’ll just act as your friends’ rock and a non-judgmental helper for the night.

Believe it or not, people don’t really care that much if you don’t drink. The movies make it seem as though college kids’ number one priority when going out is drinking and that if you don’t drink, you aren’t cool. However, from a lot of collegiettes’ experiences, people are pretty understanding when they say they don’t drink.

Sara Heath, a senior at Assumption College, recommends acting relaxed about the whole situation. “If you’re just relaxed about it, you’ll be fine—there were some people who never even knew I didn’t drink because I was so nonchalant,” she says.                                                                                

Everyone knows at least one person who doesn’t drink, so they’ll know where you’re coming from and that you can still have a good time without drinking alcohol!

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