How to Party Sober

You don't need alcohol to have a good time. 

There, we said it! 

Even though you might initially feel uncomfortable (which is a completely normal feeling, by the way!), know that you're showing up authentically and in alignment with your values. That alone gives you confidence that many people have yet to embody. 

Whether it's your first time venturing out after becoming sober or you've recently cut back on your drinking, you shouldn't be stressing about having a fun night sans alcohol. 

We've compiled a list of tips that have helped us whenever we go out and party with our friends. 

Follow these, and you'll end the night with a smile. 

Set an intention

By setting an intention, you're being purposeful about your actions. 

Are you going out to celebrate a friend or a milestone in someone's life? Are you looking to meet new people? Do you want to let loose with a fun night of dancing?

Get clear about the reason why you're going out. If you're celebrating a friend or an important event, remember the meaning behind the celebration. 

Perhaps you're going out to flirt and meet new people. By showing up and staying sober, you're already showing your true values. That alone will attract people who align with what you're looking for and the type of connections you are ready to make. 

When your night out involves dancing, get excited about the music beforehand and visualize how great it will feel to move comfortably in your body without alcohol impairing you. 

Your intention serves as a compass, guiding you through the night and helping you stay true to your goals amidst the excitement and distractions.

Make a game plan

Are you the only one going sober, or will you have an accountability buddy? Check in with your friends before. 

If no one else is joining you in having a sober night, clearly communicate your intentions and ask that your friends respect your decision and support you. 

True friends will be mindful of you and your decision, regardless of their relationship to alcohol. 

Make sure the friends you go out with are people you feel truly safe around. Some of your friendships will change when you cut back on your drinking, and that's okay. You might have had friends who were your go-to drinking buddies in the past, and now they longer want to hang out with you. That's also okay! 

Even though you might feel lonely, don't force hanging out if you no longer connect over the same interests. Gravitate toward the people who respect your new decision. 

Managing expectations with everyone before the night starts will make you feel more comfortable once you're out.   

Have an answer ready

People tend to be nosy when they find out you're not drinking. If they react strongly and try to encourage you to have "just one drink," remember it's a reflection of their relationship with alcohol. 

But just to be safe, before the night begins, rehearse the reason why you aren't drinking. You can disclose as much as you want to. You can either be completely honest or simply say, "I'm not drinking tonight," and leave it at that. 

If someone makes you uncomfortable or tries to pressure you, walk away and find one of your friends. You don't owe anyone an explanation.

Enjoy non-alcoholic drinks

A sober night doesn't mean you have to be drinking water all night long. Speak with the bartender or party host before the party starts and tell them you're not drinking. 

If you're at a bar, you can ask the bartender for their NA options. Feel free to tell them not to give you any alcoholic drinks if that makes you feel more comfortable. 

Bring drinks for yourself if you're heading to a house party (side note, can we still say that even when we're not in college?). Depending on the occasion, you can bring wine or canned drinks. This way, you don't need to rely on the host to provide a NA option. 

When you have a drink in hand, people are less likely to ask why you aren't drinking. Also, if you're accustomed to always holding a glass when you're out, you don't need to go empty-handed the entire night. 

Get comfortable socializing

Unless you're a born extrovert, not everyone enjoys striking up conversations with strangers. 

However, socializing sober is a great way to expand your comfort zone if you shift your mindset slightly. You can practice becoming more comfortable engaging in conversations. Challenge yourself a little, and take the time to learn about others. 

If you don't feel comfortable talking about yourself and why you're not drinking, steer the conversation back toward them. 

People love to talk about themselves. 

Research shows that talking about yourself activates the same areas of the brain that light up when eating good food, taking drugs, and even having sex. Crazy, right?! 

But of course, always check in with yourself if something feels off. If you start to feel drained or no longer enjoy the conversation, politely excuse yourself to take a break or find a friend. 


One of the beauties of being completely sober when you're out and about is observing what's happening around you. Sit back and become fully present. Enjoy some harmless people-watching and find entertainment in being the most sober person in the room. 

You can always Irish exit

Have an escape route ready whenever you're prepared to leave. You can go home if you're no longer having fun, are tired, or don't want to be there anymore. Don't force it if it doesn't feel right to you.

Sometimes the energy of the night changes when your friends are on another level than you. 

Don't feel bad if you excuse yourself early or want to sneak away. Sometimes people will try and persuade you to stay, but you will always know when the time is right to head home. Just tell at least one friend or send a group text so that no one worries.

A night out with friends doesn't need to involve drinking. Remember, your decision to party sober is a testament to your strength and authenticity. Own it and embrace it. 

Written by: Elena Rogers

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