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    #1

    don't drink

    What is a polite but firm way of saying that you don't drink? I don't drink but I always get funny stares when I say that. I hate answering the slew of questions that follow, like, "why don't you?"

    Anyway, I'm just curious if there's an effective way to say that I don't and somehow not put the spotlight on me. Any ideas?

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: don't drink

    If the people you mix with can't handle a simple 'I don't drink', think about mixing with different people.

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    #3

    Re: don't drink

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    If the people you mix with can't handle a simple 'I don't drink', think about mixing with different people.
    My friends totally get it and don't mind at all--it's people I don't know really well (classmates, colleagues) that give the strongest reactions. They're not explicitly rude, they just look at me funny and then ask questions. I just try to steer the conversation to more meaningful topics. I felt maybe I wasn't saying it the right way and that there might be a better way of stating my preference.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: don't drink

    There's nothing wrong with the way you're saying it. You're using a nice, simple statement to state a truth. Any problem is with the other people.

    Any other way of saying it would probably be untrue. You could say "I can't drink" as if it's a medical problem, you could say "My religion forbids the use of alcohol" but (I assume) that's not the case, you could try "I'm allergic to all alcohol" even though you're not.

    However, all of those mean lying to people. If I were you, I would stick to "I [simply] don't drink" and if people insist on asking more questions, just tell them it's your personal choice (and none of their business!)

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    #5

    Re: don't drink

    IMO, this isn't really a language issue, it's a cultural issue. You are saying it correctly as "I don't drink", but abstinence is so unusual in the US, you will invariably get questioned. It's the equivalent of saying "I don't drive". It will illicit the same response, "Really!? Why not?" There're a few things I can think of to do. You could say "I don't drink because X ... but seriously, can you believe what happened in Y?" meaning... give them a reason you don't drink, perhaps X="I don't like the taste" and then quickly switch the subject to Y=something political. Or, you could try the old shell game and say "I don't drink because I'm from the Philippians, and we hate the taste of alcohol." That may garner a few "why nots", but you could easily change the subject.

    Ultimately, you're going to have the same kind of issues for various topics in any language. It's more a matter of understanding the social norms.

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    #6

    Re: don't drink

    If you feel the need to tell a little white lie, "I'm on medication" is a good one.

    "I think I'm pregnant" could get some laughs as well. Especially if you're a guy.

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