Author Topic: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.  (Read 5726 times)

WackyTomato

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 51
I'll try to keep this short and sweet.

I am currently 34 years old. Not that I was ever an alcoholic, but I am trying to decrease my alcohol intake for health & wellness reasons (it also saves money, right?). I am currently working abroad and most of my colleagues are about 3 to 5 years younger than me. Therefore, they tend to party and drink way more more than me. As a result, I am not too inclined to go out with them much.

I don't tend to share much common grounds with said colleagues, therefore I don't particularly enjoy their company outside of working hours (I was never a big fan of mixing "friendly" work colleagues in my close social circle - but I have made a couple of exceptions in the past).

I feel that I'm perceived as as hermit. I just don't enjoy going out nearly as much as I used to. I like to stay in with the wife and just do things with her and/or by myself. Some of you may call this "growing up", but I wonder if any of you have any tips as to how to manage this with work.

Sure as hell ain't gonna force myself to do things I don't want to on my own time outside of work. I believe in a balanced life...

Thoughts?  Anybody in the same boat?

Rubic

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1082
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2016, 06:52:54 AM »
I just order a club soda with a wedge of lime.  I've got a drink
in my hand.  Everybody's happy.

Mrs. S

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 112
    • Royally Frugal
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2016, 07:18:01 AM »
This happens a lot and i have accepted that as a part of growing up. A few years ago we were happy to be out every evening but now not so much. It costs both money as well as required a lot of liquor to go into your body. There is no point in getting together with people in general (and colleagues in particular) with whom you have nothing in common.
A friend of ours stopped drinking a few years ago and realized the closest group e was sitting down with every week simply had nothing to talk about. I started drinking way late and am quite comfortable with a good dinner without drinks.

If you worry about how people perceive you in office you might also be considered a miser in case you are more frugal than most.

GreenSheep

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 651
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2016, 09:44:47 AM »
I drink very, very little, and I tend to keep my work and social life separate, too (with some exceptions, like you). I just don't worry about it. I have a good time with my coworkers at work, and then I enjoy my time with my fiance and a handful of non-work friends when I'm off work. I don't think work needs to be a person's primary source of friends/social life.

The club soda with lime idea works if you truly want to be there and just don't want to drink, but it sounds like you're like me and just have no desire to go to a loud, mostly alcohol-fueled get-together.

I know someone who got a DUI last year and therefore stopped going by the bar after work every day. Not one of his "friends" from the bar called or stopped by his house to check on him or hang out. There's a difference between drinking buddies and true friends.

little_brown_dog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 915
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2016, 10:01:59 AM »
Can you go out for a weekly happy hour and have a drink? Just nurse it slowly while others are downing theirs. To me, weekly drinks is a very normal and socially appropriate amount of time to spend with coworkers, but a drink a week will hardly harm your health or hurt your budget.
You are not a hermit, it is natural for couples to want to spend time with each other after a work day instead of hanging out with friends. Whether single people realize it or not, much of their socialization in groups is often about finding a sexual or romantic partner (for that night, that month, or long term), or just keeping busy rather than sitting isolated at home. When I was single I swore up and down that this wasn't true of me....I just LOVED socializing period, and of course I wasn't looking for a boyfriend on girls' night out...but then I met my husband and all of a sudden the desire to drink and party dramatically decreased. It took being on the other side of the fence to realize that much of my beloved party behavior was really about warding off isolation than it was about truly loving that atmosphere. I still enjoy a good party or night out, but I don't crave it or need it the way I seemed to when I was single.

As a married couple, we do not hang out with friends on a regular basis. The majority of our socialization is with our large extended family (about 2-3 times a month), but every couple of months we do a long dinner and catch-up with our couple friends. I feel completely satisfied with this level of socialization.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2016, 10:03:54 AM by little_brown_dog »

Mr. Millennial Mustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2016, 10:12:25 AM »
WackyTomato,

I’ve found my self in a very similar situation as of recent. I will echo both Rebic & little_brown_dog as I tend to exercise both strategies.

I will add that I would not be concerned with what your younger colleagues perceive of you on this particular matter. When working in a business environment, you’ll often find the most respected and most powerful person either nursing one drink or not drinking at all. The benefits of staying sharp far outweigh the consequences. Additionally, i believe you’ll find that the younger colleagues will soon be in a similar boat as you and may come to you with similar questions seeking your advice.

Save the late nights for your close social circle and wife.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2016, 10:15:37 AM by Mr. Millennial Mustache »

Enigma

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 482
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Clarksville, TN
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2016, 10:21:59 AM »
I only drink socially...  Since I have only lived in the DC area for about 18 months, I think if I stopped drinking it would immediately have an impact on my social life.

As for professionally...  Coworkers don't seem to care if I drink and it has never come up.  They probably only care that I get my work done and answer my emails.  There are no coworkers in my social network of friends.  I keep the two completely separate.

WackyTomato

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 51
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2016, 11:08:07 AM »
I guess by creating this thread I was looking for some validation.

It's the first time in my career that I am so blatantly confronted with this.  Expats abroad drink A LOT (for those who may have missed it, I am currently working abroad).  Not being part of that heavy drinking culture definitely hurts socializing / networking.  In addition, separating your social life from your work life in this particular condition is harder as well.  Anyway, I will try to not let this situation affect my will.







WackyTomato

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 51
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2016, 11:10:07 AM »

I will add that I would not be concerned with what your younger colleagues perceive of you on this particular matter. When working in a business environment, you’ll often find the most respected and most powerful person either nursing one drink or not drinking at all. The benefits of staying sharp far outweigh the consequences.

This is so true!  But perhaps they got in these position (partly) because they played the game and allowed themselves to get totally hammered several times a week in their younger years / more junior positions to socialize / network, etc.


MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3643
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2016, 11:13:49 AM »
I rarely drink, and in fact decided a week ago to completely give up alcohol. When I'm out I'll just ask for a glass of water, and rarely does anyone actually inquire as to why I am drinking. If someone really cares to know why I plan on saying, "I'm a kickboxer and drinking will prevent me from getting a fight." I highly doubt anyone will care to follow that up, nor will anyone want to get aggressive about my desire to avoid drinking.

lthenderson

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1368
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2016, 11:14:58 AM »
I am trying to decrease my alcohol intake for health & wellness reasons (it also saves money, right?).

My advice would to find friends also into health & wellness.

I never was a big drinker and hated renting alcohol and getting no real benefits. Especially just to remain part of a younger crowd. Now with the money I saved from drinking and other ways, I'm the young one hanging out in a much older retired crowd. I enjoy it much better and have found I enjoying having a beer or two and socializing with them while all my peers are slaving away at careers.

Mr. Millennial Mustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2016, 11:23:39 AM »

I will add that I would not be concerned with what your younger colleagues perceive of you on this particular matter. When working in a business environment, you’ll often find the most respected and most powerful person either nursing one drink or not drinking at all. The benefits of staying sharp far outweigh the consequences.

This is so true!  But perhaps they got in these position (partly) because they played the game and allowed themselves to get totally hammered several times a week in their younger years / more junior positions to socialize / network, etc.

I'm sure they did at some point as well. However, it sounds like you're past that now. Your colleagues wont be far behind. Stay your course and be true to who you are, everything else will work itself out for the better.

WackyTomato

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 51
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2016, 11:32:08 AM »
Whether single people realize it or not, much of their socialization in groups is often about finding a sexual or romantic partner (for that night, that month, or long term), or just keeping busy rather than sitting isolated at home. When I was single I swore up and down that this wasn't true of me....I just LOVED socializing period, and of course I wasn't looking for a boyfriend on girls' night out...but then I met my husband and all of a sudden the desire to drink and party dramatically decreased. It took being on the other side of the fence to realize that much of my beloved party behavior was really about warding off isolation than it was about truly loving that atmosphere. I still enjoy a good party or night out, but I don't crave it or need it the way I seemed to when I was single.

As a married couple, we do not hang out with friends on a regular basis. The majority of our socialization is with our large extended family (about 2-3 times a month), but every couple of months we do a long dinner and catch-up with our couple friends. I feel completely satisfied with this level of socialization.

Yes, I agree and share those views as well.

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3643
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2016, 11:37:30 AM »
I am trying to decrease my alcohol intake for health & wellness reasons (it also saves money, right?).

My advice would to find friends also into health & wellness.

I never was a big drinker and hated renting alcohol and getting no real benefits. Especially just to remain part of a younger crowd. Now with the money I saved from drinking and other ways, I'm the young one hanging out in a much older retired crowd. I enjoy it much better and have found I enjoying having a beer or two and socializing with them while all my peers are slaving away at careers.

Additionally, do you have any friends that enjoy cooking and/or board games? I cook dinner with a group of friends and we rarely drink, though this is largely due to one of the friends not allowing alcohol in her house (bad experience with other people drinking, so she just doesn't drink). Game nights are generally a lot of fun and rarely involve alcohol.

Schaefer Light

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1198
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2016, 02:27:28 PM »
Alcohol.  The cause of and solution to all of man's problems.

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 823
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2016, 08:07:19 PM »
If you think you need to do some bonding/socializing/networking with your coworkers, go out once a <TIME PERIOD>, order a soda+lime, stay for <AMOUNT OF TIME>, make excuses, go home.

You can also try to be more friendly/outgoing/whatever at work. I do this via getting lunch with everyone once or twice a month. We also have a nerd card game we play after lunch most days. It might take some creativity to find something appropriate for your office/culture.

I view all these things as the cost of doing business, to a certain extent. But I also don't work with people who go out as a work group more than once a month. I also like my coworkers, so going out and getting one (1) happy hour drink is a fun use of my time once every two or three months.

snogirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 367
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2016, 09:52:56 AM »
I use the meet up app and tailor it to things I am interesting in.  Hiking, board games, photography, skiing.
I have met so many like minded people using that app.  The groups are awesome.
FWIW I don't drink and am a recovering alcoholic (13 years sober).
The impact on my professional and social life has been amazing!
I wasn't a slobbering drunk & honestly the drinking was only symptom.
My life is super busy now and don't miss it whatsoever.
As far as hanging out socially with your friends that drink (I do that even as a recovering alky), it really isn't that hard.
You order water or ginger ale.  People don't care and if they do it, well, they may feel uncomfortable about their drinking.
Just saying.

Icecreamarsenal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 519
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Burnt
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2016, 10:12:02 AM »
I'll try to keep this short and sweet.

I am currently 34 years old. Not that I was ever an alcoholic, but I am trying to decrease my alcohol intake for health & wellness reasons (it also saves money, right?). I am currently working abroad and most of my colleagues are about 3 to 5 years younger than me. Therefore, they tend to party and drink way more more than me. As a result, I am not too inclined to go out with them much.

I don't tend to share much common grounds with said colleagues, therefore I don't particularly enjoy their company outside of working hours (I was never a big fan of mixing "friendly" work colleagues in my close social circle - but I have made a couple of exceptions in the past).

I feel that I'm perceived as as hermit. I just don't enjoy going out nearly as much as I used to. I like to stay in with the wife and just do things with her and/or by myself. Some of you may call this "growing up", but I wonder if any of you have any tips as to how to manage this with work.

Sure as hell ain't gonna force myself to do things I don't want to on my own time outside of work. I believe in a balanced life...

Thoughts?  Anybody in the same boat?

Thoughts:
Certain cultures, east-east asian and certain european ones, demand socialization post work with colleagues.  You don't seem to be in one of those where you are literally forced to upon threat of termination.  If that's the case, try moderation and blaming the wife, or a project.  I hope that doesn't offend anyone, but I've used, "Oh, my wife wants me to run an errand for her," literally hundreds of times to get out of unwanted social interaction.  Actually, most of the time it's true.  And if you have a baby?  Forget it, your baby is a get out of social hell free card until he/she's 18.

WackyTomato

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 51
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2016, 10:43:44 AM »
Thank God I am not part of that culture, no.  I'm a normal WASP - for the lack of a better term.

JLR

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 500
  • Location: Australia
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2016, 09:20:46 PM »
I don't drink alcohol. I never really have. Sometimes I will have a taste of something my husband is drinking, and once or twice I've ordered a cider with lunch, but it just isn't what I do. When I meet new people it is a bit of a novelty for them and they might question it. I just say I don't drink, my husband often makes some joke about how lucky he is to have a permanent Designated Driver. People seem to get over it quickly. And I've noticed in the last few years that once I say I'm not drinking, other people in the group often choose non-alcoholic drinks.

As for going out, I can't stand being somewhere you can't have a conversation. Even a loud restaurant gets on my nerves. I hate having to get them to repeat what they are saying. I hate having to yell all night to be heard. And I hate the headache and sore throat the next day.

Surely there are other people around who feel the same way you do. You might notice others choosing to not drink once you say you aren't. And you might find other people taking you up on different social suggestions, like a restaurant dinner where you can chat. Or a dinner party at home. But it sounds like you don't even like these people and would prefer to not spend time with them. Perhaps just tell them you like family life with your wife and want to spend time with her. My husband and I would definitely rather spend time with each other than anyone else.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5739
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2016, 04:27:13 PM »
When I worked I kept my social life and work life entirely separate. I would go to lunch events, etc but weekends and nights were not for work friends unless it was a retirement party, etc.

Freedomin5

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2077
  • Location: China
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2016, 12:20:01 AM »
I'm an expat, and I don't drink. I also don't play most of the expat games (going on exotic vacations, talking trash about the help, etc.). So far, it hasn't hurt my professional reputation at all, nor my social life.

Professionally, it may have actually enhanced it. The expat community is quite small, and people talk (and talk and talk). I've tried to foster an image of someone who lives their life with integrity. I'm very good at my work, and I'm dependable. I will socialize, but I don't lose control. I try to be pleasant and professional in and out of work. Ultimately, when networking, people have hired me because I am an expert at what I do, and I do things well. I've never been hired for a position because I can hold my liquor, or because I got hammered or wasted at happy hour.

Socially, there are expats who aren't into the drinking scene. Find groups and clubs that share your interests. For example, I have friends who like hiking or biking, and they do that each weekend as a group, or sightseeing, or cooking...you get the picture.

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4799
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2016, 05:38:51 AM »
If you think you need to do some bonding/socializing/networking with your coworkers, go out once a <TIME PERIOD>, order a soda+lime, stay for <AMOUNT OF TIME>, make excuses, go home.

This.

I hate loud, crowded socialising in groups but want to get on with my co-workers and network with them. I have a rule that at the completion of every freelance project, I will go to the post-project pub night and stay for a minimum of one hour and buy a maximum of one drink (during that hour, one more if I stay for any further period of time). I don't drink generally so get a lemonade or a diet coke. No one cares that I'm not drinking alcohol but they appreciate that I turn up and socialise. Sometimes I am counting down the minutes until the one hour is over and I can go home, sometimes it flies by and I stay for several more hours.

If anyone questions the non-alcoholic drink or leaving early, there are lots of things you could say:
"I'm not feeling it tonight."
"It's an early morning for me tomorrow!"
"I can't stay long, but I did want to catch up with you guys."
"Got to watch the old heart/liver!"
"Doctor's orders for a little while, I'm afraid."
"I've got a lot on this week, but I'll be sure to come out next week."

Just adopt a breezy tone, laugh and be a little self-deprecating. I always make a joke of what a square I am before anyone else does!

stashgrower

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 348
  • Location: Australia
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2016, 07:23:54 AM »
I've never been questioned on my glass of water!

Easye418

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 472
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2016, 08:54:44 AM »
If you think you need to do some bonding/socializing/networking with your coworkers, go out once a <TIME PERIOD>, order a soda+lime, stay for <AMOUNT OF TIME>, make excuses, go home.

This.... I love how he/she put "you think" because IMO, you don't or shouldn't need to outside of working hours.


I used to work in the alcohol industry, club soda and lime or sip on a beer for a long time.

Here is my personal take on "work relationships",  I don't really give a shit what you think of me, I will be nice and friendly when I am in the office, I will work my ass off, when it becomes spare time between work or family, family will always win. 

I feel the biggest problem is the young or single or divorced people, they don't have anyone to hang out with so they expect you to drop everything and do it. 

GreenSheep

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 651
Re: Diminishing Alcohol Intake / Impact on professional and social life.
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2016, 10:14:39 AM »
On the subject of leaving an event at which you just showed up to make an appearance... years ago I read that the way to do this is to go immediately to the very back of the room, make a point of telling people it's good to see them, glad they could make it, etc., and keep doing this while working your way toward the exit. Apparently you can make an appearance at an event for as little as 5 minutes but make it seem like you were there much longer because everyone saw you and had a chance to say hello/goodbye. You'll be so quick no one will have time to notice what you were drinking, if anything!