top of page

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.

bottom of page