a group of friends partying together
​Recommended Drink Limit Per Day By Gender
Beer
​Male
2 cans or 660 ml​
​Female
​1 can or 330 ml

​Recommended Drink Limit Per Day By Gender
Wine
​Male
1 glass or 200 ml
​Female
1/2 glass or 100 ml

​Recommended Drink Limit Per Day By Gender
Spirits
​Male
2 nips or 60 ml
​Female
1 nip or 30 ml

You would think that it’s easy to simply say no to a glass of alcohol these days but as a well-accepted social lubricant, alcohol is commonplace, and turning down offers to drink from your colleague, boss or new acquaintance can prove to be tricky.

Save yourself from being labelled the party pooper with good preparation, tips and a few witty comebacks up your sleeve. From attending a wedding as a groomsman to that after-work business dinner with a client (even one who owns an alcohol company), you can build up your drink refusal skills to survive any situation in the wild.

At a Social Gathering

friends putting their hands together at a dinner gathering

  • Example: A Christmas party
  • Likelihood of alcohol being present — high
  • Difficulty level — low

The stakes are low at a mass social gathering where you are unlikely to know anyone other than the host. Try being brutally honest with a few inventive and humorous white lies. Say that you are allergic to alcohol, have just taken cough syrup, are on a course of antibiotics or that you are tonight’s designated driver. If pressed for further details, simply change the topic or raise your glass of delicious non-alcoholic beverage with a good-natured ‘cheers’. Stick to this strategy for a few hours and soon everyone will be too drunk or tipsy to notice.

Related: Alcohol and Health — Setting Your Drink Limits

At a Sit-down Celebratory Dinner

a male and female friend clink their wine glasses together

  • Example: A wedding
  • Likelihood of alcohol being present — high
  • Difficulty level — medium

With drinkers seated to your left and right, as well as the pressure to wish the couple well by toasting them numerous times throughout the night, the chances of falling prey to temptation can be high. Dodge the bullet by picking a fancy mocktail to sip throughout the night. It looks like you are drinking something alcoholic but you are not, and it is suitably dressed for a celebratory occasion. If the only non-alcoholic options are fizzy drinks or tea, ask to fill a wine glass with iced water to blend in a little more.

Related: Why is Binge Drinking Bad for You?

At a Business Meal

colleagues enjoying dinner with beer

  • Example: Post-work dinner meeting
  • Likelihood of alcohol being present — medium
  • Difficulty level — medium to high

If your boss or colleagues are drinkers, joining them for dinner after work would most likely mean opening a bottle and having a glass to drink. After all, it’s all about the team spirit isn’t it? This situation could potentially prove to be your undoing, especially if a fellow non-drinking colleague succumbs to the pressure and leaves you stranded. Except, you are savvier than most. Gently remind your boss of your 8am meeting with a VIP client or the important presentation that you have to make and trump the lot with your admirable, hardworking ethic instead.

Related: Men's Health — How to Ditch Drinking

At a Client Meeting

colleagues talking to a client about a business deal over a glass of wine

  • Example: Deal meeting
  • Likelihood of alcohol being present — high
  • Difficulty level — high

You are about to seal the deal in the morning with the paperwork, but your client insists on going out for drinks before he signs on the dotted line. How do you politely decline with so much at stake and without faking an illness or allergy? Practise your “no” script beforehand and execute it with wit and tact, or try nominating a colleague as the designated drinker instead. Being firm yet polite is an attractive trait that clients recognise and will respect – it shows that you are no easy pushover even in high-stress situations.

Related: To Drink or Not to Drink?

At a Beer Festival, Wine Tasting or Nightclub

a gathering of friends cheers their beer mugs together

  • Example: Oktoberfest
  • Likelihood of alcohol being present — high
  • Difficulty level — high

It is unfortunate for a teetotaller to find himself or herself at one of these events where alcohol is not just present but at the very centre of attraction. Whatever your reason for being there, stick to your guns and you’ll be able to master the occasion like a vegetarian at a barbeque. Try not to be a sour puss at the sidelines and be enthusiastic with other people’s appreciation of their drinks. The most important thing is to show that you can have fun and be the life of the party, with or without alcohol.


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