Three out of 10 adults feel pressured by their friends to drink while socializing
28% of adults who drink alcohol have made excuses.
43% admitted to cancelling their social plans in order to avoid the alcohol-related pressures.
Friends are 33% more likely to persuade their friends to have an unplanned tipple than their partner (33%), and 30% respectively.
Others have been subject to pressure at work events (22%), and weddings (24%).
For the 28% who have made up excuses not to drink alcohol, 38% attributed it to getting up early the next day, while 32% claim they are on medication.
And three in 10 tell others they’re the designated driver, even if they’re not, with a fifth lying about wanting to take a break from booze.
However, the real reasons people have chosen not to drink alcohol included wanting to wake up feeling refreshed the next day (32 per cent), getting a better night’s sleep (26 per cent), and trying to live a healthier lifestyle (25 per cent).
Dr Martha Newson, a psychologist specialising in human behaviour who has partnered with non-alcoholic wine drink McGuigan Zero, which commissioned the research, said: “If you’ve ever made up an excuse to not drink alcohol, you’re in good company.
“The research found that people tend to rely on excuses that are functional, such as having work the next day or driving, placing responsibility outside of their control.
“Interestingly however, the true reasons that people reported not drinking alcohol were embedded in self-awareness and personal development, such as health, sleep and wellbeing.”
The study also revealed that 25% of people who feel pressure to quit soft drinks have found that birthday parties are the most stressful.
24 percent had an issue at a Christmas party.
It was also revealed that 59% of people polled by OnePoll already drink or would consider drinking a low or no alcohol beverage.
Among the most popular drinks respondents tried were beer, wine, and mocktails.
Sober curious celebrity Louise Redknapp said: “Let’s be honest, when we’re not drinking alcohol at a social occasion, we all feel the need to explain ourselves, make excuses and apologise to our friends and family for not ‘being fun’.
“But it’s time to say no to the peer pressure.
’’With so many amazing no and low alcohol alternatives on offer, our drinking culture needs to change.
“So, for whatever reason you’re choosing not to drink this festive season, lean into your decision and I’m with you all the way.”
A spokesperson for McGuigan Zero, said: “Our research has shown that nearly 60 per cent of people already do or would consider drinking no or low alcohol drinks.
“It’s now a way of living for a lot of people.
‘’We’re passionate about giving people the tools to feel confident when choosing not to drink and McGuigan Zero allows you to still feel like you’re the life of the party, without the consequences the next day.”
Dr Martha Newson’s tips on how to navigate social situations while not drinking
1. RITUALS USE
Participating in the rituals of drinking – like saying cheers and clinking glasses – are powerful ways to signal that you are part of a group. These traditions bring us together. So, try to include yourself in these rituals with low or no alcohol options by using the ‘right’ type of glass so you’re covered for every occasion.
2. PLAN AHEAD
Good friends will want to be there for you and will make you feel more like a host if you can have whatever you want. By knowing that you won’t be drinking alcohol prior to the event, there will be less pressure on you to conform at the time.
3. JUST DO IT
People who live their lives honestly, and not make excuses for their choices, are more attractive and honest. So feel confident about your alcohol-free choices.
4. KNOW THAT LOW OR NO ALCOHOLIC DRINKS ARE NOW PART OF BRITISH CULTURE
British culture has seen a dramatic improvement in the past decade. One of the most notable changes is the increased importance we place on our mental and physical well-being. According to research, the majority of people only drink alcohol if they go out more than four times per month. This cultural shift towards less alcohol consumption is not slowing down.
No matter what your response, smile – smiling helps to release neuropeptides, tiny molecules that help you get rid of stress. All of us deserve to feel good about our choices and have meaningful interactions, with or without alcohol. Everyone should feel confident in their decisions to make the best of themselves and others.
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