Hello again! Welcome back to another "Help..." episode, the next one in our little series. Today I'm going to be focusing on one of the massive problems that all teenagers face - the pressure to drink. This is a really tricky subject to be honest, and it's something that affects every person at some point in their life. For me, it wasn't until I was 16/17 that I was faced with this, but I know others can deal with it when they're as young as 12. It's also something I feel pretty strongly about because I feel that nobody should ever be pressured to do anything they don't want to do, but especially not drinking. I don't know why, but it just really bugs me.
|HAHAHA how funny is this cheesy little picture I found while googling? Sassy.|
"If they try to pressure you into things, they're not true friends"
Okay, everybody says this, and to an extent, it's absolutely true. If your friends are really pressuring you to do things that you're not comfortable with, trying to force you to drink against your will or purposely mocking you/leaving you out if you don't want to. In this case, it is true that they're not proper friends, and you should tell them to piss right off and find some better friends. Simple as.
However, sometimes the best friends can act like idiots. For example, you and your friends may all be going to a party and they're all planning on getting absolutely "smashed", "shit faced" or "rotten", whatever the lingo is for you. You might mention you don't fancy getting too drunk, or you might not be drinking as much as them, and suddenly they're making little jokes all night about you being a 'bore' or a 'party pooper'. They're only joking and they don't mean to hurt your feelings, but it's still annoying and it can feel like you need to drink to fit in. If this is the case, try to explain to your friends (or maybe just one close friend, who can stick up for you in the future) why you don't want to drink so much. Whether it's because you don't enjoy being drunk, you prefer being tee-total, you don't like the taste... I'm sure that if you explain, they'll understand. I had a similar problem with my friends, but I simply explained that drinking could make my anxiety a lot worse, so I preferred not to. As soon as I explained, they understood!
How to deal in social situations when you're not drinking!
1. Choose an approach - either own the fact that you don't drink; show you're proud of it and nobody will question you, or just don't speak about it. If you're drinking Diet Coke at a party, most people will assume it's got vodka or something in it.
2. Leading on from this, if you feel like people won't understand why you're not drinking, don't tell them! Drink Diet Coke or Lemonade, and nobody will question whether you've got alcohol in it
3. Never drink just to show off/impress people. It's not worth it, because at the end of the day, you'll just regret it, and they won't even remember. You won't impress them, you'll just look like a tit when you get so drunk that you sing karaoke at the top of your voice in front of everyone (fun with friends, embarrassing alone)
4. Don't ever pretend to be drunk!! I can't stress this enough, but if there's one thing that everyone hates, it's the girl that staggers around with a WKD in her hand pretending to be off her face when in actual fact she's still on her first drink.
5. You don't have to drink to fit in. Ever.
If you are going to drink
I thought I'd also give you some tips if you are going to drink, since a lot of teenagers choose to. While I don't encourage teen drinking, I'm also not against it, so I'd rather give you some tips to remain safe while you're drinking!
1. Only drink with good friends. This may sound weird, but it's actually quite important in my opinion. When you're drunk, your judgement is a look poorer, and you can make some pretty stupid decisions. You need friends around you who will help you make better decisions, stop you from drinking too much, or help you out if you do!
2. Learn your limits. Everybody needs to drink too much at some point in order to learn your limits. You don't know how much alcohol you can handle until you've had too much. However, once you know, try and stick to it. For example, I know that I'm a lightweight, while my best friend is like a tank so I drink one drink for every two that she does!
3. Go to the bar with anybody who's buying you a drink. Again, sounds ridiculous but if somebody offers to buy you a drink while you're out - go with them. This means that they can't spike your drink, since you'll be standing right next to them. Sound paranoid, but it's better to be safe.
4. Don't go off on your own when you're drunk. Self explanatory really, don't go off alone when you're drunk and vulnerable. This applies for friends too - look out for each other and try not to leave them on their own either!
5. Finally, drink a pint of water before you go to bed. Trust me, it wards off a hangover and you'll be very glad of it in the morning.
Whether you guys decide to drink or not, make sure it's your own decision, and you're keeping yourself safe! If you have any questions for my next "Help..." episode, please let me know!