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What Should I Do If My Boss Pressures Me to Drink?

People who decide to avoid drinking sometimes feel pressured to drink with friends. This pressure can feel especially intense when it comes from someone in a position of power, such as a boss. Being prepared for such occasions in advance is wise, and can help make the situation less awkward.

No Excuse Is Needed for Not Drinking

Despite how it may feel, you don’t need an excuse for choosing not to drink. When facing peer pressure some experts recommend using the acronym JADE to remember what doesn’t need to be done. You don’t need to justify (J), argue (A), defend (D) or explain (E). The goal is to state your preference and move on, preferably without making the other person defensive or starting a long conversation about the issue.

When offered a drink, it’s best to simply respond with, “No, thank you” or some variant of that. Some people take no for an answer easily, but others will insist. When a boss responds pressures you to drink, you should simply restate your preference. Responses may include statements such as, “Not tonight, thanks,” or, “I’d rather not.”

Although excuses aren’t necessary, if your relationship with your boss is good, you can explain your reasons for choosing not to drink. This can help avoid future awkward situations. If you’re a recovering alcoholic, you may choose to disclose that. If you choose not to, you might say something like, “Alcoholism runs in my family” or “I have health reasons for making that choice.”

Understanding Motives for Drinking

Employers have varying reasons for pressuring their employees to drink. Sometimes bosses just want to bond with their employees and feel drinking together is a good way to do it. Sometimes they don’t want to drink alone and so pressuring others to drink makes them feel more comfortable with their own behavior. At other times, there are business motives. During a lunch with clients, a boss may feel that if clients drink that employees should follow suit in order to build camaraderie.

If the situation involves business, you may decide that offering some sort of explanation for not drinking is warranted. Explanations that are generally accepted are, “I have to drive,” “I’m trying to lose weight,” and “I took some Tylenol earlier, which shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol.” At a business party, people who choose not to drink can simply carry around a glass of something that looks like an alcoholic drink, even though it contains no alcohol.

Help Avoiding Alcohol

Choosing not to drink is a wise decision. If you find yourself unable to control your alcohol consumption and need help facing the issue, give us a call and let us be of assistance. We can check your insurance coverage for you and answer your other questions about addiction treatment options. Our helpline is toll free and staffed 24 hours a day. Take a step toward freedom today.