“WHERE ALL THE SOBER PEOPLE AT?!” How do you make friends with people (not just in college, but anywhere) if all they seem to do is drink, and you don’t want to? Here’s how I went from having zero friends who didn’t drink (and feeling pretty alone), to having hundreds of friends who have fun without alcohol.
Surrounded by 9,000 people – feeling alone
It was my freshmen year in college and I didn’t do the one thing that seemed to be the most popular… drink. To make a long story short, I found out that if others knew I didn’t drink, they wouldn’t want to hang out with me. It was assumed that I must be boring, arrogant or “over-religious.” So I was silent about my decision because it made others uncomfortable and made it harder to find friends. I did this for about a year and at the end, I didn’t know a single person who shared my decision. And it wasn’t like I was hiding in my room having a pity party. I was joining clubs, playing pick-up games at the gym, talking to TONS people on campus (as I was obnoxiously outgoing). But on a campus of nearly 9,000 students, I still felt alone.
Partying sober with hundreds of others – feeling connected
It wasn’t until my Junior year that I had the courage to “come out of the closet” as a non-drinker. After reading a statistic that 20% of college student don’t drink… I WAS PISSED! “Where the hell were they?!” Realizing that I was part of the problem (having been silent for 2 years) I decided to become part of the solution. I was going to stand out. After all, if I’m not willing to solve this, can I really expect someone else to?
My friend Steve and I started throwing house parties without alcohol. Within one month we had over 150 students to our parties, sponsorships from companies like Red Bull and Papa Johns, and media coverage across our home-state of Wisconsin. During this time I learned that it doesn’t even matter if you drink or not, 90% of college students were interested in attending a sober party like ours.
WHERE THE SOBER PEOPLE AT?!
You’ll have better luck finding sober people at the gym because they like making healthy choices. Alcohol doesn’t mix too well with fitness. Although some swear by the “work hard, play hard” motto. It doesn’t make sense with your health.
I know the word “activity” sounds uncool… but look closer and see it’s derived from words like “active” and “action”, which is always more fun. Keep an eye out for things going on in your area.
No matter what you believe, there are others like you. People of shared values and beliefs often meet at churches, youth groups, clubs and other ways to get together. Don’t let assumptions or stereotypes stop you from checking out a faith-based program or event.
Sites and apps like twitter, yik yak, facebook and others make it easy to find or share events in your area. We even have a facebook group for sober college students you can join. You can also use meetup.com to start a group and let people know that you’re out there. And don’t limit yourself to just finding a “sober” group. If you like volleyball, then find a group that plays volleyball too or join a rec league.
People like you are everywhere, but there’s no way for you to know that you’re alike. Be a person that stands out so that others can follow you. Consider starting Party.0 in your community so people have a place to connect. You’ll be surprised at who wants to party sober.
HOW (AND WHERE) TO FIND FRIENDS WHO DON’T DRINK ALCOHOL
There’s no secret answer here because the question is wrong. The real question is, how can OTHERS who don’t drink find YOU? Theodore Roosevelt said it pretty well, “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” Ghandi taught us to “create the world in which you’d like to live in.” So if you’re a student interested in creating a place for people to make friends, have fun and feel good without drugs or alcohol. Contact us and we’ll help you. That’s what we’re here for.