3 Pro Tips for Navigating Clubs and Parties in College… Sober

It’s totally possible to be sober — and have fun — at college parties.

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Sober woman drinking a soda

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.

Woman dancing

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.

3. Be a Little Devilish

Woman taking photo with friends

Hey, if your friends are going to insist on getting completely wasted, you have a right to have some fun of your own, right? I’m not talking anything sinister, of course.

Tbh, snapping a couple photos (that you won’t post without their permission and will totally delete if they ask), 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 being a little annoying, 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!

7 thoughts on “3 Pro Tips for Navigating Clubs and Parties in College… Sober”

  1. This is awesome, thanks for writing this post!! Over the years, ALL of my friends have started drinking, and it by junior year, it became way less socially acceptable since people started turning 21. From my own experience, these are great tips, and it’s nice to know other people don’t drink and are social too!

    p.s. If anyone is considering studying abroad in England, be aware of the UK’s pub culture! It is practically impossible to socialize without hitting a pub (unlike the US where people go to coffeehouses and such just to hang).

  2. I really appreciate this advice! I’m a little nervous about the coming school year because I won’t be able to drink due to medication I’m taking. But I love to go out dancing and be social. These tips have made me feel better about going out with my friends and having a great time without feeling left out. Plus I don’t want to have to be bothered with everyone asking me why I don’t drink. Thanks for the article!

  3. Awesome comments, ladies. It’s nice to know there are other girls out there that don’t drink, or don’t drink often. I do drink occassionally (as in, once every 3 or 4 months) but at school people seem to drink once every 3 or 4 days, so it gets a little overwhelming, at least for me. Hope I could help!

  4. Good! I’m glad this is here. I don’t drink now (since I’m underage) and I find it supremely annoying when people look at your like you’re a cyclops.

    It takes a very powerful, strong, and confident girl to go against the grain like this in college. We should be proud.

  5. Another fantastic article! I started summer term for college about a month ago and while I sometimes drink, this really makes me feel better about the nights I choose to stay sober. I just started reading your blog its very helpful!

  6. these are good tips… the best advice I can give for any girl out there who wants to stay sober during college (for whatever reason) is to talk about it with your girlfriends or whoever you’re going out with that night. It’s not hard to say “i don’t drink,” but to say it without alienating the ppl around you can be tough. Try explaining your reasons… once you’ve got a couple ppl who understand, it gets easier to get through the night even if you do get judgmental looks from others.


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