I hate saying the word “no.” It just doesn’t feel good! But when you’re out with friends and you don’t feel like drinking, how do you turn down a drink politely? Being good at this can make your time with friends more enjoyable for you, and for them. So let’s look at three ways to say no when someone offers you a drink.

The first thing to remember is that someone offering you a drink is a really nice thing to do. Sharing is caring! So even though it might make you uncomfortable to say no, don’t let it bother you. Here are three ways you can reply to someone asking you to drink.

1. “No thanks, I’m not drinking tonight… how’s it going?”

BOOM. Simple. Then you move onto a new topic. This way is great for people you barely know. Sometimes people use alcohol as an “in” or a way to introduce themselves. The fact that you said, “…not drinking tonight” makes it unclear if you drink or not in general. Since many people get uncomfortable if you don’t drink, this can help avoid any lengthy awkward conversations about you not drinking while they have a beer in their hands. Also, notice that you asked them how they’re doing after you refused their offer. So you’re not telling them, “No thanks, go away.” It’s more like, “I don’t want to drink, but I still want to have fun and meet people.”

2. “That’s OK, do you mind grabbing me a water?”

If you’re out dancing at a club or at a house party, you’ll probably be thirsty at some point. So when someone asks you if you want a drink, they probably like you (or they are a bartender). Either way, they will probably get you something else if you want it. This response helps in two ways. First, you didn’t have to say “no,” you actually got to say “yes,” but to something else. So they still get to do something nice for you. Second, you get to hold something in your hand so others assume you are already drinking and are less likely to ask you again and again.

3. “Thanks for the offer, I actually don’t drink though.”

WOAH! You just opened up a 15 minute conversation… “Why don’t you drink? Do you think it’s bad? Is it ok if I drink?” So first of all… only use this one if you don’t drink at all. You also should only use it if you plan on spending a lot of time with this person in the future. If you two like each other, it’s good to learn about one another. And they’ll know not to ask you every single time you go out together.

Depending on who I’m talking to, I’ll choose one of these three when decline alcohol. I hope this helped and if you’ve got a way that you like, put it in the comments so others can try it too.

 

If you want more in-depth knowledge of saying no when people offer you a drink or drugs, check out the “Psychology of Saying No.”