I get this question a lot, so I wanted to take a moment to write my tips and advice for making friends when you don’t drink.
1. Be humble.
A lot of people get all high and mighty about their choice not to drink, believing they’re morally better people than those who do.
If that’s you, the only people who will want to be your friend will either need to feel the same way or be a kinder person than you.
Nobody likes people who project their beliefs and opinions.
Keep it to yourself.
It’s ok to drink.
It’s ok if you don’t drink.
It’s not ok to push either opinion onto somebody else.
2. Drink non-alcoholic beer.
This was a tip from an old barber who told me he used to drink too much.
He said if I still wanted to hang out with the boys but wouldn’t drink alcohol, I could always try non-alcoholic beer.
He also said the friends who matter won’t care if I drink, and the ones who care don’t matter.
3. Go to church.
If you want to make friends who also don’t drink, you have a good chance of meeting them at a church (or a synagogue, mosque, etc).
4. Take a gym class.
The gym is another place to meet people who don’t or only rarely drink (for health reasons).
Classes at a gym are a good idea because they can create a similar environment to school — If you just keep showing up and seeing the same people, you slowly become friends.
5. Get a hobby.
Golf, bowling, woodworking, competitive gaming… there’s a lot of stuff out there. Find people with the same interest as you and do that thing together.
Meetup is a good place to find people in your area with the same interests. If you want to try something new, you can always visit Reddit and explore random subreddits until one catches your attention.
6. Get a pet.
Pets are friends too. Plus, you can meet other people with pets, like at a dog park.
7. Give first.
A big part of friendship is being open with each other, but how do you get someone to open up to you?
It’s easy. You give first.
Don’t be that person on an airplane who shares their entire life story. But when we tell someone a little about ourselves, it invites them to share a little about themselves too.
When you keep doing that, you become friends.
8. Be accepting.
The best way to make a friend is to be one.
Imagine if you told someone all of the bad things about yourself — how you’re lazy and not living up to your potential. How sometimes you say mean things and regret it later. Imagine you told them the worst parts — the things that I can’t pretend to know; the things you don’t even like to admit to yourself.
Now imagine that person doesn’t care and still wants to be your friend.
You can be that friend to somebody.
If someone did that for you, wouldn’t you want to be a good friend to them too?