Sunday, 4 August 2013

Fitting In

I was out the other evening with a large group of people at a function. As a shy person, I’m not really one for flourishing under such conditions. I have a soft voice so even when I chat to people it’s hard for them to hear me. And in a crowd, I tend to get drowned out.  Everyone was drinking, with an open bar nothing less is expected. At one point in the evening a drunk version of one of my colleagues said this exact phrase to me: “Have a drink, come on, what’s wrong with you?”

I don’t really drink much alcohol. It just doesn’t do much for me. I might have a glass of wine occasionally but I’m not that fussed. I rarely drink when I go out because quite frankly it’s overpriced (yes I know it was free in this instance) and I tend to get sleepy from just one drink.  

This flippant comment really upset me that evening. This person has known me a long time and knows I’m not one for drinking, and I always get frustrated having to explain over and over again why I don’t drink.  It’s clear to see why so many people drink even when they don’t really want to. They want to fit in and not have people start interrogating them about why they aren’t drinking. Society says that drinking alcohol is normal; therefore if you don’t do you must be abnormal. 

How often do we do things we really don’t want to just to make other people happy? My colleague couldn’t really care less about me, or my reasons why I don’t really drink much. If I had just been holding a drink in my hand and not drinking it I would have been seen to be behaving how he wanted me to, and I probably would have avoided any upset.  If I had started drinking just to appease him then that would make him happy, not me.

Not behaving in a way that the people around us want us to can make it hard to fit in. Since I don’t enjoy getting drunk this is one of the many reasons why I don’t spend too much time with people who just want to go out and get drunk.  There is no enjoyment in being sober around drunken people!
As far as I can tell, choosing not to drink doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with me. Far from it, but I let this flippant comment upset far too much for my own good! From this experience there are a few things to be learnt:

1.  Drunk people are stupid and insulting
2. Try not to care about what people think of you; especially people of little importance.
3. Don’t let other people alter your behaviour. Make your choices for you, and what will make you happy.

Ultimately, you only live once so stop wasting time with people who make you feel miserable, and spend time with those who contribute to your happiness. 

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