3 Tips for Navigating Clubs and Parties in College... Sober

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Bottles of alcohol at a bar


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Whether we like it or not, alcohol is a big part of college life: from keg parties, to beer pong, to Thirsty Thursdays around your dorm, there are few college social events that don't involve drinking. But if you're a designated driver, or if you simply don't drink, it can be awkward to navigate these situations when the pressure is on to get wasted.

But, being sober doesn't mean you can't have fun and enjoy clubs and parties; there are lots of ways to enjoy yourself and avoid getting hassled to have a drink. Here are a few tips:

1. Get a "Buffer" Drink.

If you don't feel like explaining why you're not drinking to everyone you meet, grab yourself a cup and fill it up with your drink of choice. Most sodas will suffice, since lots of mixed drinks contain it, but for something different, try some soda water with a slice of lime.

A bonus? Lots of bars offer free Coke or other non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers, so try mentioning to the bartender that you're not drinking and see what kind of deal you can get! Having some sort of drink in your hand will keep the obnoxious party-goers from hassling you, so you can enjoy your night.

2. Let Loose.

One of the advantages of being a sober partier amongst a bunch of drunk college kids is you can dance like a fool, flirt shamelessly with your crush, and laugh until soda water comes out your nose with the knowledge that no one will think twice about your behavior; they will all be acting the same way. So take advantage of this time to enjoy yourself and relax.

Lots of people use alcohol as a way to loosen up and feel more confident, but who needs an excuse to do that? If you're in the right mindset, you can loosen up without any chemical assistance. Use the anonymity of everyone else's clouded judgment and memories to really enjoy yourself and have some fun without feeling self-conscious.

College party bottles of beer and cups


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3. Be a Little Devilish

Hey, if your friends are going to insist on getting completely wasted, you have a right to take a bit of advantage don't you? I'm not talking anything sinister, but snapping a couple photos, and asking a few brainteasers can be a lot of fun when your girlfriends aren't running at 100%. Plus, the next morning (when you're the only one feeling great), you'll have lots of fun stories to share that, let's face it, everyone else might have forgotten.

To make up for taking an embarrassing photo or two, be the good friend you know you are and make sure everyone gets home safely. They'll appreciate it, and will hopefully return the favor if you're ever in a similar position in the future.

What do you think?

Do you drink? If not, how do you handle the pressure to drink in college? How do you enjoy yourself as "the sober one" at parties? Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences!