How To Say No To Free Drinks
One of the most common questions I receive is, “how do I say no to free drinks?”
Usually, the scene that plays in the questioner’s head is a dashing night out, sober and motivated, having a good time but slightly tempted.
Then, out of nowhere an individual pops up and offers a free drink on a silver platter.
How can I possibly resist the temptation?
I like to put my Sherlock hat on for any question, these are questions I’ve asked myself, wrestled with, and came out mangled on the other side.
Let’s break this down a bit.
What’s Free About A Free Drink?
Let’s gander at the definition of the word
- not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes.
- without cost or payment
Does alcohol ever come without a price?
Particularly for those of us whose systems have been seemingly hijacked by it?
Moreover, if it has control over our system to the extent of controlling our desires, how are we even free, We can’t do as we wish notwithstanding the free drink.
That’s like offering a prisoner a free block of iron as he’s locked in an iron cage.
Addiction Is A Preprogrammed Response: How To Say No To Alcohol
The minute the drink caught your attention and seemed appetizing, you’re already engaged in a preprogrammed response.
Think of the drink as a symbol that represents a structure of thought (feelings, images, words) and behavior, much like a computer app represents a host of code and actions.
Seeing the symbol is more or less equivalent to clicking the app, it activates the code to reach a predetermined destination.
Seeing the drink then produces involuntary feelings, images, and words associated with it that in turn produce chemicals and hormones in the body to motivate it toward a specific end (to drink).
This is all going on slightly below the conscious mind, thus is the mechanism of habit.
Charles Duhigg in the Power of Habit shows that the most up-to-date research suggests that the brain shows loads of activity upon the trigger and the reward (the sight of the drink and actually drinking it) but almost zero activity during the routine, as if the person was sleeping.
This suggests that habits are so ingrained neurochemically that the processes nearly run themselves!
Now a craving is a telltale sign that this program is already rooted deep within your neurology – would you say you’re free?
Negative! You’re a prisoner.
With this type of programming, you don’t take a free drink, a free drink takes you.
Loaded with this new information, you can kindly decline the free drink and explain “I appreciate the gesture, but my neurology is hardwired in such a manner that it’s safe to say I have an allergy.”
An allergy by definition is a “damaging response.” With the game plan up your neurological sleeve, we can safely adopt this noun.
No Is A Complete Sentence
However, I find the “No, But” technique to be extremely effective.
No, but I’ll take some water, thanks
No, but I’ll have a cola with lime.
No, but I’ll definitely take this dance.
No, but some small talk will do just fine.
No, but what an amazing event, did you put this all together by yourself?
No, but how about the food here?
No need to complicate things and work yourself into a frenzy.
You have an allergy. If you had a peanut allergy you’d have no qualms about saying no to peanuts. In fact, you’d experience no sense of deprivation at all!
What’s the difference? Social pressures? If that’s the case, use the “No, but” technique and redirect their attention to something equally satisfying for all parties.