Greenpointers Advice: How Do I Socialize with a Friend Who Doesn’t Drink?

Bullet Mouth is Greenpointers’ advice column, here to answer your questions on life’s many vexing issues, and share how hanging out in Greenpoint can help.

Cocktails at Esme: A Good Soldier (Becherovka, Bourbon, corn lemon, cinnamon) and A Los Suicidas (Mezcal, Pimms, Strawberry, Lime, Beet) . Photo: Rosie deBelgeonne
Cocktails at Esme. Photo: Rosie deBelgeonne

Dear Bullet Mouth: I just found out that a new friend doesn’t drink alcohol. That’s totally cool by me, but short of only hanging out with her during the day, how do I work her into my social life? I don’t invite her out to bars, right? What about get-togethers where there will be alcohol?

Answer: Though it’s hard to imagine living in a booze-laden metropolis—or even a one-saloon town—as a teetotaler, recent excesses have me contemplating the potential benefits of going off the sauce. Namely, “hair of the dog” would cease to be an integral part of my vocabulary, cash would start piling up and I’d probably lose ten pounds. I would also have to completely overhaul my social life and acquire some new hobbies.

There are many compelling reasons to not drink alcohol. What’s your friend’s?

If your friend doesn’t drink by choice, due to religious beliefs, medical constraints or just straight-up distaste for the stuff, then don’t worry about it too much. She made a choice she’s comfortable with and is probably accustomed to socializing with those who drink. She may not want to meet you and the crew at a bar late on a Friday night, but inviting her to your next boozy dinner party shouldn’t be an issue.

If your friend doesn’t drink due to dependency issues, it’s a different story. Until you know her well enough to ask whether she’s comfortable being in bars or around alcohol, assume that she’s not. Pick activities and locales that are more of the Disney variety: no bars, no parties and certainly no strip joints. Meeting for lunch or coffee is always safe, as is going to a museum or the movies. Your goal is to be supportive, and removing alcohol from the situation obviously helps.

Just be sure not to skirt the issue entirely or treat her like a wounded animal, either of these is annoying enough to, well, drive a person to drink.

Here are a few alcohol-free activities in the neighborhood to get you started:

Farmer’s Market: Grab a coffee and snag a bench at a Greenpoint farmer’s markets. The one off McCarren Park is on Saturdays and the one in McGolrick Park is on Sundays (though it’s currently closed for the Winter season). You can catch up while people watching and stocking up on fresh produce after.

Mini Golf: The newly reincarnated Polonaise now houses Brooklyn Bazaar (150 Greenpoint Avenue), complete with a mini golf course in the basement. Play a round and perhaps finish it off with a game of ping pong.

Local Readings: Attend at a reading at Word Books (126 Franklin Street). This neighborhood bookstore has an awesome selection and an diverse calendar of events, like the upcoming reading by Sebastian Bach of 80s hair metal band Skid Row on December 6th.

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To ask Bullet Mouth a question for future Greenpointers posts, write it in an email to [email protected] with subject line “Bullet Mouth Advice.” All submissions will remain anonymous.

About Bullet Mouth Advice

Bullet Mouth is a Greenpoint-based advice column. She's here to answer your questions on relationships, work, etiquette and anything else that ails you. You can also find her at www.bulletmouth.com.

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