Tip 19:          Refusal Skills

It gets soooo damn old going to parties and being pressured to drink.  Sometimes people just slam the drinks into your hand and other times it is a bit subtler.  Thoughts?

Amy M.,   North Dakota State University, Sophomore 

I have my act together as far as school goes.  I get good grades.  I have a great girlfriend.   I am on the baseball team and we are a Division One team.  The problem is that when I go to parties I like to have just a few but all my friends and teammates want me to drink more.  What can I do to get them off my back at parties?

Anonymous, Freshman 


If you are being pressured to drink but you really would rather not, try these responses:

  • No thank you… no thank you… no thank you… no thank you. (until the person gives up)

  • Why is it so important to you that I drink?

  • I take my (athletic, academic, etc) performance very seriously and don’t want anything to get in the way of my success. 

  • I have a (test, practice, recital, work, meeting, class, date, etc.) tomorrow.

  • I am just getting over mono (or some other contagious disease) and I need to be careful. (cough in the person’s direction when answering)

  • Back off! (or any other four letter word you care to insert)


Amy, here’s another idea.  In a national survey of college students approximately 10% of the respondents said they had carried around a drink making it look like they were drinking but they really were not.  Carrying a non-alcoholic drink or nursing your beer is one way to curtail the pressures from others.


Once you have established the reputation of being a low-risk drinker, the pressure tends to subside.  It takes awhile to establish that status but have patience.  Sooner or later others will get the message and reduce the pressure.