Updated: Nov 2
The scenario... you are at the party / work engagement / social event; maybe not having fun or maybe in danger of having too much fun?! The time has come to make your excuses - to avoid alcohol (a dry month?) or perhaps even to leave.
Some people find it easy to say no, for others it can be a real struggle. Saying 'no' to friends, even to ourselves, is not always easy especially at social occasions. Changing norms within the group, going against the grain can create resistance. This is especially true when we are starting on a health journey, cutting back or stopping alcohol consumption, changing long ingrained habits and lifestyle.
How does one graciously bow out of drinks (or even the event) without losing face? Here are a few tried and tested excuses, better yet, reasons...
Work Commitments. The classic excuse from London to New York to Singapore. You can mention that you have (1) an upcoming call or (2) an early meeting or work-related responsibilities the next day.
Commitment to Self-Care. State that you are having a one month health focus and that you are prioritising self-care. Of course, you might have to be seen making good on this later!
Sometimes the people that try to convince you to "just have one" or "stay longer" feel threatened by your change in habits, perhaps even that you might be judging their lifestyle.
Feeling Under the Weather. Claim that you're not feeling well, that it's best to head home so you don't spread any germs or get worse.
Prior Engagement. Explain that you already had plans or commitments made before the event was planned, and that you need to honour them.
Family Obligations. A great excuse for a Friday or Saturday night. Talk about family responsibilities or perhaps a family event the next day that requires your attention.
Drink a glass of, for example, non-alcoholic soda with lime or a mocktail.
Feeling Tired. Say that you're feeling tired and need to get some rest!
Learn to say No. If you know that you might have to leave, turn down the invitation, or, state upfront that you will have to leave early.
No matter what you say, you will likely feel the pressure or be pressured to carrying on as before. Just stick to your guns and focus on your goal and values. Politely saying no can be hard but it might not be as hard as you think.
If you don't manage to escape or avoid the alcohol, don't beat yourself up. Learn from the experience and hopefully the hangover doesn't hurt.
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