A Gentle and Creative Response
I’ve blogged about quirks before.
I’ve got a new quirk these days.
Quite often, when my husband and I hang out with people, there is alcohol involved. I have absolutely no trouble with people having a social beer or a glass of wine. There’s no judgment on my part. I’m not sizing them up or condemning them for their choice. Some people drink alcohol – I don’t. I made that decision long ago and I’m perfectly content with a bottle of chilled water when I go out. There are a lot of reasons why I don’t drink alcohol but it doesn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying social times with family and friends.
The problem comes when I’m sitting around with people who are drinking and they feel the need to ask me, “Why don’t you drink?” I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been asked that question and to be honest, it gets quite tiring having to respond. Often, I don’t really know the people asking me the question so I’m not comfortable going into a detailed explanation about my choice.
That’s the thing – I’ve made the choice not to drink. I get the impression that people who are drinking feel uncomfortable around people who aren’t drinking – there is some internal interpretation of my abstinence as judgment on their choice to partake. Perhaps they’re genuinely curious about my choice but my gut tells me that their question comes more out of their perception of being judged. They’d just feel more comfortable if I was drinking too.
So, this is where I’m at, in terms of dealing with this persistent dilemma. The last two times that I’ve been asked, “Why don’t you drink?” I’ve responded like this: I’m not sure why you’re asking me that question but I tell you what…you tell me why you do drink and then I’ll tell you why I don’t. How’s that?”
I’m not rude or sarcastic when I make that statement. I’m just tired being put on the spot with this question and I’ve found that when I respond with this statement, one of two things happen:
1. it closes down the conversation because the person feels as awkward with my question as I do with his/hers
2. it’s a great entrance to a deeper conversation.
I’m not trying to make anyone feel uncomfortable but do think that turning the tables and the occasional “being put on the spot” can make a person think twice about asking such a provocative question.
Maybe it’s just a quirk of mine.