It’s difficult to find drink friendly friends. As we’ve often discussed, Irish social life revolves around drinking with friends and family. When we reduce our drinking we can find friends and family don’t like it. Most people are unware we’re all drinking so much as you can see from the image below.
So it can be difficult to find drink friendly friends. Friends who are okay when you drink less and don’t nag you into drinking more.
What do you need?
There’s more opportunities if you can be around people who drink themselves, but are not concerned how much you drink. However depending on your own situation, this may be too difficult in the early days of reducing your drinking. If this is you, then staying away from pubs/drinking buddies is a must. It’s probably only temporary, until you feel stronger saying no. So understanding what’s right for you at this point in time is critical.
Meeting people away from pubs or nightclubs, you are more likely to find people who drink less.
Volunteering can be a great way of meeting new people without going into a pub.
If you have children, getting involved in the local school parents committee can be a great way to make new friends.
On Volunteer Ireland and Boardmatch Ireland you’ll find lots of opportunities. These range from working online at home (useful if you’re a carer or parent with young children) to organising or supporting events or even office work.
At Activelink, you can sign up for a weekly e-zine of volunteer opportunities.
Volunteering in an area you like can be a great way to build a happy life, develop new friends and get experience of a new area. The research shows people who volunteer tend to be happier.
Learn a new skill or hobby?
It’s never too late to learn a new skill, take up a hobby or return to education. Many community colleges offer short night time courses.
Aontas is a great starting point for Irish adult learners. There’s also lots of free online courses available from the likes of Alison and Coursera. Many of these online courses have online discussion groups which can provide great social support.
Alcohol Free events
A new alcohol free social scene is developing in Dublin and is moving throughout the country. Funky Seomra has alcohol free dance events in Dublin, Cork and Galway.
Sober slice can be found here
Join a choir
Research shows joining a choir can improve your mental and physical health and helps make new friends. The new type of community choirs means you don’t even have to have a perfect voice just be able to hold a note. There are even choirs for people with Parkinson’s disease. If you don’t think this works check out RTE’s choir of the ages.
You can find a listing of choirs in your area here
Meetup.ie is a very useful website for bringing groups of people together in real life. There’s groups for different interests, like Yoga or cooking or even over 40’s singles and separated. You can even start your own drink friendly meeting group.
Girl Crew has lots of social events throughout the country, helping women to meet other women.
Do Irish people make it difficult to be friends?
I read somewhere that Irish people are very friendly on the surface but actually getting to know Irish people is very difficult. There’s some truth in this according to an Iraqi friend. So you will need to have patience and realise it takes time and lots of meeting up before people actually become friends. Also don’t rely on just one or two people. Try to develop friendships with different groups of people.
Friends from abroad
I’ve noticed that people who have moved here from abroad are more available to go out and be friends. Possibly because they don’t have the same extended family here to keep them occupied?
Friends from abroad are generally more drink friendly.They don’t have the same drinking culture, which is another added bonus. I still remember my Iraqi friend’s wedding. No drink at all, but the craic was mighty.
If you do have to stop seeing drink toxic friends, it’s really important you develop a drink friendly group of friends. After all if you’re having fun with friends, it makes it easier not to drink too much. It will take energy but it’s well worthwhile making the effort.