7 ways to have fun at parties as the only sober person

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I'm allergic to alcohol—yes, that's a thing. And I inevitably end up at booze-centric functions explaining my glass of seltzer. Fielding the questions helps fill the time, but there are still plenty of moments where I'm standing around not getting sloshed. As a result, I've had years of research to find ways to entertain myself when I'm the only sober person in the room. Here are some of the best ways I've found to enjoy a party when you're the only one not drinking.

1. Be the bartender.
When you start making drinks for the party, you get to talk to everyone. And everyone is impressed that the sober person makes a damn fine cosmo!

2. Learn some secrets.
I always use get-togethers as an opportunity to practice my social skills. I read somewhere that conversations are made up of two or more people vying for attention. Intentionally or not, people often try steering the conversation back to themselves. When I'm at a party, I make a conscious effort to keep the other person talking. People will tell you all sorts of things!

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3. Pretend.
Just go ahead and sip that straight tonic like it's a gin and tonic. It's like you're under cover. And the weird thing is, people treat you differently when you act like one of them, which leads me to believe that acting drunk is, in large part, psychological. One time, without realizing it, I started slurring my speech after too much time around too many drunks. Lean in to that slur.

4. Order fancy mocktails.
Just because you don't drink alcohol doesn't mean you can't have fancy drinks. There are a number of soft beverage recipes out there that are delicious and look classy AF. One of my favorites is a drink from Hong Kong called the gunner. One part ginger beer, one part lemonade, a lime, and several dashes of bitters, the gunner looks like a cocktail and tastes amazing. (Yes, the bitters has alcohol, but the drink calls for so few shakes that it is diluted beyond any sort of perception.)

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5. Eat.
You have more room for food. Take advantage of that.

6. Practice your stand-up.
I think everyone at one time or another has wanted to be a stand-up comic—making someone laugh is a rush. What better place to work on your routine than a party. Not only drinkers easier to make laugh, they won't remember if you bomb.

7. Just watch.
When I am at any sort of function with drinking, I channel my inner Jane Goodall. One of my favorite things to do is pick a spot in the middle of the action, preferably by the food, and stay there the whole night and just watch. A party is the perfect place to study all kinds of drunk, human behavior. Witness complex mating rituals, overt displays of dick measuring, bizarre eating habits, and other wildly interesting behavioral patterns. Who am I kidding? Sit back and enjoy the drama!

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