I'm going to reveal a life-changing secret and you might want to be sitting down for this one.
Are you sitting?
Okay. Here it is: you don't have to drink in college to have fun at parties.
I'll give you a few minutes to recover.
Now before you exit out of this window, I'd like to preface this post by saying I have nothing against drinking or people who do it. For health and personal reasons, I can't/don't drink, but if you can put back ten shots in ten minutes then don't let anyone stop you. You don't owe anyone an apology (well, maybe your liver), and you should always make choices based on what is best for you. It just so happens that sobriety is best for me.
Choosing not to drink in college can be a hard decision, and like any choice it has its pros and cons. While I never have to deal with hangovers and the aftermath of drunk texts, going out can be awkward and even just boring. Alcohol can help some people feel more comfortable in social situations and less concerned about what others are thinking about them, something that hinders many of us when we're around new people.
However, sobriety also has its benefits. You CAN have fun without drinking, and not just by staying in. I love a good netflix binge as much as the next person, but sometimes you just want to go out, and that's okay. I've found that going out sober can still be a GREAT time.
So whether you're looking to take a night off or trying to take on a sober lifestyle in general, here are some of my favorite tips for having fun when going out sober.
1. Caffeine. Lots of it.
The biggest struggle I've faced in going out sober is when everyone is bouncing off of the walls at 1am and you're the only one in the room who realizes that 1am is right around when you start getting tired. The best solution to this? Caffeine. Part of the reason people love alcohol is it gives them the energy to make it through long and late parties, but if everclear shots aren't for you, I recommend redubll, 5 hour energy,or even caffeine pills if you're really hardcore. Good for your body? Definitely not. Worth it every now and then? Definitely.
2. Hold a cup.
It doesn't matter what's in it. Water, coke, redbull, or Sunny-D for all anyone cares. Carry a cup with you and that way people won't always be asking you if you want a drink, and people also will never know you're not drinking.
3. Give yourself a task
Decide you're going to be the DJ, start a game that you're in charge of, if you're the psycho-shrink type, designate yourself therapist of the night so sad drunk girls can talk to you about their problems. No matter what it is, giving yourself something to do other than wander around and mingle can be a great way to have fun without taking a sip.
4. DON'T look at your phone
I repeat: DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR PHONE. Nothing will make you more inaccessible and isolated then standing in the corner going through your facebook feed and texting your parents. If you can, leave the phone at home. If you need it for safety reasons, disable your data usage and put the phone on airplane mode. Remember, your attitude is almost entirely responsible for how much fun you have, and no one has ever come back feeling great about a night that they went into thinking "can't wait to read tweets on my phone all night!"
5. Don't make a big deal out of being sober
If you want to tell people that's fine, but don't run around the party going on about how sober you are. Drunk people don't care, and it will only create the perception that you're there to judge and belittle your peers. If someone offers you a drink you should feel free to explain that you're sober, but the truth is that most people won't be paying enough attention to you to care, and even if they do, they probably won't be able to tell you're sober. You're the only who who needs to know and the only one who cares. The more you think it matters, the more it will affect how much fun you have.
6. Remember, everyone else is too drunk to care what you do -- go crazy!
Just because you're not drunk doesn't mean you can't get a little wild and do things you might not usually do. Things I find just as fun when sober? Dancing (tabletops included), playing fun games like truth or dare, partaking in drinking games without drinking (just imagine how many people you can beat in pong sober), or messing with really wasted people. Too afraid to sing in front of people? Karaoke in front of drunk people. The point is, being surrounded by people who are intoxicated is a great opportunity to let lose a little and have fun. Judgement free zones all around.
7. It's all about the people you're with
If you're going out, go with great people. Go with people who will respect your decision to stay sober, people who you won't have to babysit and escort around if they are drinking, and people who you feel comfortable with. It can be a significant other, a great group of girlfriends, or anyone who you think you can have a great time with. No matter what, going out is a social event, and if you're not interacting with people who make you feel comfortable and happy, no amount of alcohol will make the night good.
8. When in doubt, dance it out
Dancing is fun. Do it. If you don't like dancing then we probably have nothing in common and my advice should be taken very lightly, but that's cool too.
9. Don't judge... observe
If you've never been sober around tons and tons of drunk college freshman, you are admittedly missing out on something. Drunk people often do really funny things. In your position of sober power, take this opportunity to observe how comical drunk people can be. Just remember, DON'T JUDGE. If you're busy judging other people for their behavior it will make it harder for you to let lose and have fun.
10. Be positive!
I know I said this above, but attitude is EVERYTHING. If you think you're going to have fun you probably will. If you think the night will be unending purgatory then it probably will feel like that. Stay positive, do the things that make you feel happy, and go into the night thinking you're going to have fun. You'd be surprised how true mind-over-matter can be.
Have fun, be safe, go hard.
All my ruv,