Connecting Matters. Where do you draw the line?

Don’t feel like drinking tonight, or ever? You’re in good company at Princeton! Many people choose not to drink for a variety of reasons.

Tips for going out

Alcohol isn’t necessary for a fun night out even though some people may feel more comfortable socializing if they are drinking. You can increase your confidence in social settings by trying the following:

  1. Practice social skills. Like all skills, socializing gets easier the more you do it. Remember that people are at parties to mingle, and they’ll probably be glad to have someone else break the ice. Start with a simple hello.
  2. Don’t assume others are judging you. Most people are happy to talk with you and don’t mind if the introductions are a little awkward. If you can let go of what you’re imagining other people think and enjoy yourself, you'll inspire others to do the same.
  3. Join the non-drinking activities. A fun party has more than just drinking— you can dance, observe the crowd, or play DJ. You don't have to break out your best moves to dance.  Putting on a great playlist gives people something to enjoy and talk about. 
  4. Go out as a group. If socializing makes you nervous, see if some of your friends want to join in on partying without drinking. If you’re with a group, you’ll have other sober people you can talk to and dance with all night.

"Why aren't you drinking?": How to Respond

In American culture, drinking in college (and in general) is portrayed as a norm. Sometimes it’s hard for people to understand why someone wouldn’t want to drink, even though many people choose to abstain or limit their drinking. While it’s not polite to ask about someone’s choice to not drink, it happens.

Here are some ways to respond if someone does ask you:

  • Feel free to be honest with them and let them know your motivation for not drinking.
  • You don't have to give a reason. You can just change the topic.  Ask if they like the song that's playing. 
  • Hold a non-alcoholic drink in your hand. If you’re using a colored cup, people can’t tell what’s inside. Even just having a cup in your hand might stop people from asking.
  • It can sometimes feel uncomfortable or rude to refuse a drink when someone offers one.  Here are some ways to say no.

Things to do on campus

There are lots of fun things to do on and around campus at night. Here are just a few ideas:

Feel like staying in? 

  • Consider hosting a movie or TV marathon night. Invite your friends, make some popcorn, and press play!
  • Some dorms have common rooms with TVs that you may be able to use.
  • Movies and TV aren't your style? You can borrow board games from the residential colleges and host a game night.

Looking to get out of your room but want to stay on campus?

  • Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday USG sponsors free movies (drinks and popcorn included!) at the Garden Theatre.
  • The Student Events Committee hosts fun, free events every Thursday night, ranging from comedy shows to mug decorating.
  • Different performing arts groups host a variety of performances every week.

Need a break from campus?

  • If you’re up for it, you can go to Philly or New York for an adventure. There is so much to do—museums, restaurants, shopping, the list goes on.
  • The residential colleges often sponsor trips to Broadway shows—see if any are coming up!

For graduate students, sign up for the graduate student events listserv to get weekly emails of events.