Since I lead a life with attending a lot of events and conferences, there’s something that has been on my mind for some time. But when you just think and don’t blog about it, you can be sure someone else will cover the topic before you, and in this case Ryan Funduk did so in Our Culture of Exclusion.
Me and drinking
Looking at myself, I very rarely drink alcohol; for a myriad of reasons, really. When I was younger, with parties there were a good amount of binge drinking, and the result is of course being hungover, worn down and, at times, feeling pretty sick. Back in the teenager years, the goal was very often to get very drunk.
I’ve also never really been super-keen on the taste of most alcohol. Sure, I can appreciate a good wine or beer, but overall I prefer plain water. Additionally, I’ve been physically active most part of my life, and drinking and working out isn’t really a good match. To add to that, I have an ongoing interest in diet and health, what we eat and drink and how it affects how we feel.
So, I rarely drink.
But that’s how I choose to live my life, not that I think everyone else with a different opinion is wrong or should change.
A drinking problem
I think I got into this state of mind when I was in my early 20s. All good and well, and I felt good about myself. So, my problem is/has not been with drinking, but rather that I don’t (or very seldom drink) and over the years has rather been shown when attending events and parties.
Numerous times people have wanted me to drink, I’m “not a real man” if I don’t, or people have been under the impression that I’m not having a good time and rather wouldn’t be at the current event.
It couldn’t be further from the truth. I love meeting people, socializing, talking and hanging out!
I think it is vital for us to honor varying opinions, show mutual respect and also understanding for cultural differences. Just as much as I don’t want to excuse myself for not drinking with “No, I’m driving”, “I’m too tired” etc, I don’t want people that like to have a drink or two feel that they have to defend themselves either.
My humble hope is just that we will respect people’s choices and opinions, and hopefully have interesting and constructive conversations about not drinking vs. drinking with moderation vs. binge drinking. We can always learn from each other, and we definitely owe each other to consider that not everyone will have the exact same opinion (and what a boring world it would be, if it was like that).
A world I don’t want to see is where people feel excluded, that they stop going to parties, conferences and events, just because they feel they don’t fit in or are even welcome. As a host, organizer or attendee, please just respect the differences and give and honor options. Have beer and wine, but also non-alcoholic alternatives like coffe, soft drinks, water etc.
Let’s focus on being inclusive and getting to know and understand more people and views, and just how beautiful people really are!
Disclaimer: Personally, I very rarely encounter being excluded or disprespected nowadays for my choice, but I just want to make people aware that some people might, even if not intentional, feel like that.