Do we need to Drink to be Sociable?

How sociable is drinking? It is not sociable when people get so drunk that fights break out; or when things are said that ought not to be said; or families row; people vomit; have accidents; kill or maim through drunk driving; become unreliable; are miserable and unhappy; stop eating properly, sleeping properly…..

That said, many people can enjoy one or two drinks at a social function and believe it helps make the occasion relaxing and enjoyable. Alcohol can symbolise a celebration with toasts being drunk, for example.

Is it Necessary to Drink to be Sociable?

But is it really necessary to have a drink in order to be sociable? The short answer is ‘no’. Why do we need a poison in order to be able to relax and enjoy ourselves? The only reason that we do is because we are conditioned to accept that this is so and we are in the habit of drinking to relax. What actually makes an occasion enjoyable is the company we are in and the activities we are undertaking, for example, and whether or not we like the people and enjoy what we are doing.


That said, drinkers tend to pressurise non-drinkers to drink and if we are contemplating giving up drinking it is one of our greatest fears – how will we ever enjoy a social occasion and be relaxed and convivial if we are not drinking? (I must admit, when this was my fear, I could have only been concerned for my feelings and not those around me, as I was probably a repetitive and loud bore when I was drinking at that time. I had always had a fair few before even arriving at the party). Why do people want us to be mentally absent through drinking, rather than mentally present? If we do not need a drink to relax and enjoy ourselves, we can be much sharper, more quick witted and much more humorous if we are sober – and certainly less obnoxious, garrulous and boring.

What Does it Mean?

Let us consider the phrase further – drinking to be sociable. What does it actually mean? If you had another activity that you enjoyed – say, dancing, being in a drama group, swimming, for example and the only reason you could give for doing it was that it was sociable, many people would think you should not be doing it. Clearly you are indicating that you do not enjoy the activity per se.

Social Pressure

There is social pressure to have a drink – let us not deny it – but in many instances people want you to have a drink because they want you to join them in getting relaxed and a little inebriated. If you can relax without it, they should not be concerned. And this is certainly possible.

If you have an alcohol or drug related problem, please call The Haynes Clinic on 0330 333 8184 for free and confidential advice and help. The Haynes Clinic offers residential treatment for dependency on alcohol, drugs and prescription medication. We can also help with other addictions such as gambling and with eating disorders.