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  • 1.  I don’t drink. Can I go to networking happy hours?

    Posted 02-02-2023 15:21
    Love it or not, alcohol is an acceptable element of most social settings. In fact, it's probably the "norm." I can't count the number of times I have turned down a drink just to have people jump to ALL SORTS of conclusions or judgements. "Are you pregnant?" "Are you in treatment?" "Come on, just one."

    The first thing we can all embrace is accepting that some people don't drink and the reasons why are none of our business. The next time you host an event, try to have lots of options available. And when someone isn't drinking -- don't say anything. AND, one of my favorite tips from Annie Grace, of "This Naked Mind," is when someone asks do you what YOU want to drink, just say "yes, I'd love a seltzer with lime please."

    It isn't always easy, but this article gives some more great tips to help.

    What do you think, Connect community? What tips do you have for people who may not drink, but they still want to participate in networking happy hours?

    Lee Ann Searight

  • 2.  RE: I don't drink. Can I go to networking happy hours?

    Posted 02-06-2023 15:19
    @Lee Ann Searight thank you for introducing this topic--both for people who don't drink, and for those who do, to be conscious of their reaction when someone doesn't want a drink with alcohol in it.

    ​I am on again/off again with both caffeine and alcohol for medical reasons. I stopped drinking both for a full year, and it was actually encouraging to realize that it can be enjoyable and refreshing to drink mint tea in the morning to help wake me up, and I can be perfectly fun and social without alcohol. It was like a mini-Renaissance for me!

    I would definitely encourage people who don't drink to attend happy hours--who says you need alcohol to be happy? I guess I'm fortunate to work in an industry that doesn't have a "drinking culture" so it's really felt like a non-issue for me. The bigger hurdle was getting over social anxiety and being comfortable in my own sober skin at a social event. I think I am actually more articulate and genuine without alcohol in my system. It has really been a confidence booster!

    Maria Liccardo

  • 3.  RE: I don't drink. Can I go to networking happy hours?

    Posted 02-08-2023 14:50
    Even if you do imbibe, I think networking happy hours are a perfectly reasonable time to opt for non-alcoholic beverages. I read an interesting article about "zero proof" events and festivals where people enjoy mixed drinks like old fashioneds and martinis that are free of alcohol. This growing movement would indicate that more people are fine going the non-alcoholic route. 

    I'm with @Maria Liccardo-- I'd prefer to be sharp and genuine during events where I'm meeting and talking to new people,  so I'd be fine to stay zero proof at events with you, @Lee Ann Searight.



  • 4.  RE: I don't drink. Can I go to networking happy hours?

    Posted 02-09-2023 07:43

    100% agree about not drinking at an event for more than one reason. If you are trying to meet people, you do not want anyone to think you are an over drinker and if you are the speaker you need to keep your wits about you.

    I have gone months with never having a drink and it is refreshing to see that it might just be the new norm.

    Enjoy your networking as you and not as others may want you to be.

    Rev. Jim Klynman
    Woodstock Ga.

  • 5.  RE: I don't drink. Can I go to networking happy hours?

    Posted 02-09-2023 17:07
    Edited by Arnie Grahl 02-09-2023 17:12

    Like @Maria Liccardo I've journeyed through seasons of complete abstinence from alcohol, and seasons of moderate drinking. Never from caffeine though. I love my morning coffee too much. but I agree with all the sentiments expressed here. There are so many reasons for people not to drink, and it's ludicrous for anyone to ever make someone uncomfortable because they don't drink.

    I do think a drink at a happy hour or social event is acceptable. And I'm not presently in a non-alcohol season. But I have a lot of respect for people who are. I'm not in support of drinking more than one, however. Being sharp and in control is so critical. 

    There are some people I joke about drinking with, mostly close friends. Like, boy after that meeting, I really need a drink. Or it's 5, time for that glass of wine. But deep down, I'm not a big fan of that kind of thinking. And to the public, I don't wan't to come across as supporting drinking. 

    Arnie Grahl

  • 6.  RE: I don't drink. Can I go to networking happy hours?

    Posted 02-13-2023 08:42

    @Arnie Grahl - I love the idea of referring to chunks of time as "seasons," rather than a specified amount of days or weeks or months or whatever. 

    I also hear you on the "needing" a drink after the stressful thing. When I hear myself say something like that, I do a quick little check-in: do I actually feel like that, or do I feel like that's what I /should/ want after a stressful thing? It's my attempt at a check and balance... or something. :) 

    To the initial question - I think it's totally fine to come to a networking happy hour and either drink or not drink, based on your own preference. I agree with you, @Maria Liccardo, I am grateful that I haven't felt pressure one way or another: if I want a drink, that's cool. And if I'd prefer a Diet Coke, all good! 

    @James Klynman - I understand why you might choose not to drink and the reasons you mentioned are definitely things I consider when I'm deciding whether to drink at a work event or not. And also, I find that a small amount of alcohol can ease my nerves/anxiety about talking with folks and making connections. 

    Really digging on this conversation, friends! Thanks for kicking it off, @Lee Ann Searight 

    Stay awesome,