Ipstenu.Org

Before You Ask Why

I don’t drink at WordCamps.

I don’t drink much at all, unless we’re talking coffee and water. This is for many reasons, some are personal and some are not. But I’ve noticed that, when I say ‘No thanks, I’m not drinking’ people ask why.

Before you’re that person, before you ask someone why they don’t do a ‘common’ thing, consider the questions. Not drinking alcohol can be for a variety of reasons, but none of them are necessarily your business.

I have a few good friends who are substance free for a number of reasons, from abuse there of to just dislike. I know someone who’s allergic to grains to the point that she cannot have beer. I have a friend who just hates the taste. I know a person who can’t drink because she’s pregnant. Someone else can’t drink because it interacts poorly with medicine. Then I have a friend who is nervous to drink when she’s on her own in strange cities.

None of them need  to explain to you why they’re not drinking.

When you ask “Why don’t you drink?” you’ve just asked them to possibly reveal something they’re not willing to share. Unless you’re the friend who hangs out with them and chats with them, at which point you should already know this, it’s not okay to just ask these new people you meet at a WordCamp all about their personal life.

You’re often a new friend, and not everyone is going to want to talk to you about everything, but asking them the very personal thing right away, it’s just not polite.

Stop asking people why they don’t drink. It’s not your business.