Not Drinking? Here’s 50 Clever Excuses

The social pressures that come with remaining tee-total can be challenging at times; the phenomenon of people experiencing the obligation to drink in social situations has been identified in many societies across the globe. 

Why is there peer pressure when it comes to drinking?

While it’s difficult to find specific research on why our friends want us to drink so much, there are general indications from social psychology and sociology that suggest that the behavior is a reflection of group mentality behaviors.

Generally, we feel safer when others are doing the same as us. This way of thinking has been passed down for generations from our early human ancestors who had to form social groups to survive. 

Consequently, we have evolved inclinations to support group union by conforming to social norms and shunning behavior that doesn’t match the group dynamic. We are social creatures wired to seek the approval of others to ensure that we thrive (even though in this day and age, this way of thinking doesn’t serve us the way it once did).

That explains why, if you’re a non-drinker, you can feel more inclined to go as far as to fake drinking when you can’t be bothered with judgmental looks or irritating questioning.

However, when the examination gets too much, or perhaps you’ve gotten to the point where you careless of what others think of you (go you!), you’ll likely need to give people a friendly reminder to back off. To help you out with this, we’ve compiled 50 clever excuses as to why you’re not drinking:

Tips for dealing with drinking peer pressure:
  • Don’t be surprised if your friends seem to undermine your efforts to cut down your drinking. They’re not necessarily trying to undermine you. They’re likely dealing with their cognitive dissonance.
  • Stay out of round buying as this will likely increase the obligation.
  • If they persist, leave the situation, this sends a clear message that you don’t appreciate their behavior. You may want to consider whether you wish to continue spending time with these particular people.
  • Plan for and rehearse the scripts we’re going to give you.
  • A firm resolution to change your drinking can be an essential part of sticking to your sobriety.

Excuse 1 | I’m Taking a Short Break From Alcohol, It’s Negatively Affecting My Health/ Skin  

A great excuse for those times when you just don’t feel like drinking at that particular time.

Excuse 2 | I Am a Much Better Person to Be Around When I Am Sober 

This excuse could also be used as a flirty comment…

Excuse 3 | I’ve Got an Early Start Tomorrow 

Blame it all on work- if you keep discussing work, people will likely zone out after a while. Result!

Excuse 4 | Alcohol is Too High in Carbs and Calories

This excuse gives the impression that you’re diet conscious. Perhaps you’re a model/ athelete and a big event is coming up?

Excuse 5 | I’m Still Recovering From THAT Phase 

Beware! People might treat you like an alcoholic after that. So better use it with people you are not going to see quite often.

Excuse 6 | It Will Disturb My Whole Diet Plan

You are again putting this all on your diet-conscious personality. 

Excuse 7 | I Wish, but I Am Diabetic 

Many people go sober due to medical restrictions. So why not use that excuse for yourself too?

Excuse 8 | You Don’t Want to See Me Drunk

This excuse is great  for people who think that saying no to alcohol will make them annoying. 

Excuse 9 | One of Us Needs to Stay Sober for the Children This Evening

This excuse can be used at a gathering where you don’t know most of the people, and it’s easy to get away with a lie.  

Excuse 10 | It Will Probably Put Me to Sleep, and I Don’t Want to Miss Anything Tonight

This excuse will work best for maintaining your “fun person” image. 

Excuse 11 | I’m Currently on Antibiotics So on This Occasion, I’ll Have to Pass 

They may investigate about your health… but you can think of infection or two.

Excuse 12 | I’m Training for Marathon/ Any Sporting Event. My Trainer Has Strictly Forbidden Me From Drinking 

If you are into sports, you can quickly go with this excuse. Just make sure you know a bit about a couple of athlete’s competition in your area.

Excuse 13 | I’m the Designated Driver

This excuse will never get old because, after all, someone has to play the designated driver role.

Excuse 14 | I Feel a Little Queasy…  

This will make them move away. FAST!

Excuse 15 | I Am Allergic to Alcohol 

No one will argue with someone being allergic to alcohol.

Excuse 16 | I’m on a Strict Budget  

This is quite a genuine excuse, and so many people at the party will be able to relate to you as well.

Excuse 17 | Religious Reasons 

This excuse usually works… unless you are at a family gathering.

Excuse 18 | I Prefer Soft Drinks 

Talk directly to the bartender and get your order in before anyone asks/challenges you.

Excuse 19 | You Won’t Be Able to Handle Me. So Better Not Risk It 

Yet again, maintaining your ‘edgy’ image with such witty responses.

Excuse 20 | No, but Thanks for Asking! 

Refuse politely. Simple.

Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Excuse 21 | I Had a Horrible Alcohol Experience Last Night 

You might want to add the details to this story.

Excuse 22 | I Am on a Bet/ I’m Raising Money for Charity by ‘Keeping Dry’ 

Sounds pretty real

Excuse 23 | I’m Currently Fasting 

Religious excuses are the best as people don’t investigate it any further. 

Excuse 24 | You’ll Find Me Cool Even Without Booze in My Hand! 

Be straightforward and politely decline the offer.  

Excuse 25 | Drinking Late at Night Causes Serious Issues in the Morning for Me… 

You can conveniently use this one if it’s an evening function. 

Excuse 26 | Thanks, but I Simply Don’t Drink [Insert Whatever’s on the Menu] 

This excuse works well if you’re in a place that only serves beer and you’re a wine drinker for example.

Excuse 27 | I Think My Taste Buds Are Not as Developed as Yours 

Just another cool way of saying that I don’t like the taste of alcohol. 

Excuse 28 | I Think It Will Be Better to Give My Liver a Break for Tonight

An excuse to make them believe that you love drinking, but maybe not today. 

Excuse 29 | I Can’t Get Past the Hangover From Last Night

You need to have a cover-up story stating how that happened and how worse it was. Then you might get to listen to a couple of their hung-over stories as well.

Excuse 30 | I Have Given It Up for Lent 

No one is going to argue about your religious beliefs at a party. 

Excuse 31 | My Partner is Running for a Marathon, and I Am Supporting Them

Well, this makes you a supportive partner- but make sure that they don’t know your significant other!

Excuse 32 | I Have Already Gotten Through My Lifetime Supply 

A casual way of saying that I was an alcoholic but not anymore. 

Excuse 33 | I can’t, I am Currently on a Meditating Program

Tell them how you were feeling something missing in your life. And now, since you have started, you are at so much peace with yourself and the world.

Excuse 34 | It’s My 3rd Day of Detox. Still, a Long Way to Go!  

Tell them how you were feeling a bit unhealthy, so one of your friends came up with this idea. And Oh my! It feels so refreshing.

Excuse 35 | I Am Trying to Fit in the Dress/ Suit I Saw at [Insert Shop] 

The struggle is real!

Excuse 36 | No Thanks, I Don’t Feel That Well Tonight 

In response to their upcoming questions, say that you have a headache or back pain because of your hectic day at work. 

Excuse 37 | My Wife is Pregnant, and I’m on Duty 

Nobody will argue against a responsible adult.

Excuse 38 | I’m Exhausted From Work; Alcohol Will Only Make the Situation Worse

No one will debate this.

Excuse 39 | I am good! 

Straightforwardness works if you carry it with confidence.

Excuse 40 | No Thanks! Too Many Calories for Me 

A bit oversized? Use that to your advantage!

Excuse 41 | Blame It on Your Upset Stomach 

Believe us! No one wants to know the details.

Excuse 42 | We Are Trying to Conceive

Excuse 43 | I Am Not Thirsty  

Playing dumb works sometimes.

Excuse 44 | I’ll Add Vodka in My Coke 

Or maybe I won’t. Just act along with it.

Excuse 45 | I Am Cutting Out All Alcohol and Caffeine Out of My System. Maybe That Will Help Me to Sleep Better  

This one is our personal favorite. Always works!

Excuse 46 | I’ve Already Had a Couple

Why? Maybe to get off a bad day or anything like that.

Excuse 47 | No Alcohol. It’s My New Year Resolution 

We’ll see how long you stick to that.

Excuse 48 | I Have Been Recently Diagnosed With a Bladder Infection 

They are not going to validate that from your doctor, for sure. 

Excuse 49 | It Gives Me a Migraine 

It happens to some people, so why not include yourself.

Excuse 50 | Drinking Makes Me Want to Smoke and I Am Not Going Down on That Road Again!

We all know how difficult it gets to get rid of an addiction.

We hope that these excuses work well for you and help you out in tackling the situation after saying no to alcohol at a social gathering. No matter which one of these excuses you choose, stand by your decision!

At Never the Right Word, our aim is to give you practical examples of how to handle life’s difficult conversations. If you have an awkward situation that you’d like example templates for, request a topic here.  

If you’re interested in further reading, we’ve also included links to our trusted resources and related posts below. To find out more about NTRW and our recommended tools, you can do that here.

Lastly, if you found this content helpful or want to share your own examples, let us know in the comments. We’d also be delighted if you shared this article and joined us on social media too!

Article by Never the Right Word

Scripts & Templates for Life’s Uncomfortable Conversations. Learn more about NTRW here. NTRW is supported by adverts and affiliate marketing links. For more info, please see our Earnings Disclosure.

This site does not constitute legal, mental, or medical health advice, please consult a competent licensed professional. If you have questions please Contact Us.

Never the Right Word

Never the Right Word

Hi there! I’m Amy, and I’m the person behind Never the Right Word. I’m a designer-by-day who’s fascinated by human psychology; you’ll find me learning about what makes others tick through all types of media and good old-fashioned conversation. Learn more about me here.

In 2019 Never the Right Word was born to fill the gap of ‘how-to’ websites with copy and paste examples showing you EXACTLY what you need to say to steer difficult conversations into positive outcomes.

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