An interesting study on young Finnish and Australian people who don’t drink and want to avoid the social stigma of not drinking was published recently. The study listed the things young people in both countries do to avoid the stigma of not drinking
So here are 5 top tips the young people used to avoid the social stigma when they were trying not to drink.
1. Hiding non-drinking
The young people hide or denied their non-drinking status to avoid explaining their non-drinking to other people. We explain how to use the
“No I’m not drinking”
approach to avoid social stigma here.
2. Take the focus away from alcohol
The young people tried to go to social gatherings which took the focus away from alcohol. So they did baking or went to sports events. We give some examples of alcohol free social events here.
3. Finding non-drinking friends
They tried to hang out with groups of people who did not drink, so there was no social stigma. We’ve some suggestions on finding friends who don’t drink here.
4. Being active and having fun
They tried to be active and have lots of fun. In Ireland, we’ve seen a huge increase in healthy activities like Park Runs. (where you can actually walk) There’s even an Irish website now where you can find all about health activities for your age group
5. Not blaming others for drinking
These young non-drinkers did not blame others for drinking as they saw their choice as an individual one that was right for them
6. Seeing themselves as morally superior to other people
Some young people saw themselves as morally superior to other people for not drinking. This made them feel better about themselves.
Not sure I’d recommend this tip. In Ireland, I’d lose a lot of friends if they saw me being “morally superior” about not drinking. It’s a lot easier to blame my hangovers for not drinking.
Avoiding Social Stigma
It’s so weird that we have to apologise for not drinking. So it’s good to see there are groups of young people on different sides of the world deciding not to drink and using the same tactics to avoid stigma.
You can see the full research article here.