Dear Auntie,

I want to go out to a party with my friends but I feel like I’m going to be pressured to drink… What should I do? – Reluctant partier

Well Reluctant, it really depends. If you have a history of not being able to control your drinking once you’ve started it’s probably a good idea to give these kinds of events a pass. Instead, find friends doing fun things that aren’t drinking alcohol. However, if you are just not much of a drinker, you should take heart, there’s a good chance that lots of people at the party will feel just like you and won’t be drinking or if they do it will be in moderation. There are all kinds of great strategies that students use in those situations. I asked around the SGA and they came up with the following: Offer to be the designated driver so you can keep your friends safe too. Bring your own nonalcoholic beverages and either pour them into the glasses at the party or use the containers they came in or use a water bottle. Bring food to eat so you look like you are doing something. The students I talked to said they generally have more fun when they aren’t drinking and they have the added bonus of not feeling vulnerable to someone taking advantage of them when they’re under the influence. To be honest most of the liquid courage you attribute to alcohol is really placebo effect anyway, so if you pretend like you are drinking it’ll have the same general effect without any of the negative consequences.

I want to go to events on campus but I don’t have any people to go with… what should I do? – Lonely1

Dear Lonely1,

When I was a young girl I was lucky enough to have a swimming pool. I loved swimming. Every spring I could barely wait until the pool was warm enough to be enjoyed. In fact, I rarely did. From time to time I would ease in until my body acclimated, inching my way in slowly. Usually my father would cannonball into the pool and soak me when I was only half in. So I started just jumping in regardless of the jolt to my system. Once I started swimming around I found my body quickly adapted to the cold and I was able to enjoy myself. Events and activities are a lot like that. You could slowly ease in, use the help of others or take the cannonball run. You just have to decide that you want to do it and overcome the fear from the jolt to your usual patterns. Once you’re in the water though, don’t forget to swim! Make the effort to get to know people, volunteer to help clean up after the event and get to know the planners. You will find it worth the effort and it won’t be long before you are fearless in the face of fun.

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