Hanging with Teetotalling Theresa
Question: I just found out that a new friend doesn’t drink alcohol. That’s totally cool by me, but short of only hanging out with her during the day, how do I work her into my social life? I don’t invite her out to bars, right? What about get-togethers where there will be alcohol?
Answer: Though it’s hard to imagine living in a booze-laden metropolis - or even a one-saloon town - as a teetotaler, recent excesses have me contemplating the potential benefits of going off the sauce. Namely, “hair of the dog” would cease to be an integral part of my vocabulary, cash would start piling up and I'd probably lose ten pounds. I would also have to completely overhaul my social life and acquire some new hobbies.
There are many compelling reasons to not drink alcohol. What's your friend's?
If your friend doesn’t drink by choice, due to religious beliefs, medical constraints or just straight-up distaste for the stuff, then don’t worry about it too much. She made a choice she’s comfortable with and is probably accustomed to socializing with those who drink. She may not want to meet you and the crew at a bar late on a Friday night, but inviting her to your next boozy dinner party shouldn’t be an issue.
If your friend doesn’t drink due to dependency issues, it’s a different story. Until you know her well enough to ask whether she’s comfortable being in bars or around alcohol, assume that she’s not. Pick activities and locales that are more of the Disney variety: no bars, no parties and certainly no strip joints. Meeting for lunch or coffee is always safe, as is going to a museum or the movies. Your goal is to be supportive, and removing alcohol from the situation obviously helps.
Just be sure not to skirt the issue entirely or treat her like a wounded animal - either of these is annoying enough to, well, drive a person to drink.