I grew up in a very conservative culture in India. Drinking alcohol socially is taboo in the social circle I grew up. After I came to US, I carried same perceptions for first couple years. After I graduated from first Masters and started working, things changed a little. Let me share with you my thoughts on Socially drinking alcohol in US.
Is Drinking Alcohol Socially needed ? Is it needed at Work ?
It is very tricky to answer…it depends on how you look at it. When I was studying my first Masters I would NOT go out on weekends, I used to stay home, watch movies, cook and do other stuff with friends. I did not even try to drink any alcohol, my perceptions were different…anyways, after I started working, I started to see how the social circle works. People used to ask me do I drink and I would say No. I was naïve thought drinking beer would make me put on weight, I started to drink one beer once in a while so that I could put on weight. Nothing changed…I used to go to happy hours with colleagues and saw that it was kind of hard to mingle. For instance, my colleague would ask “what do you want to have, if I say I do not drink”…they will ask why and other stuff. The reality is, there is no exchange of drink buying or anything as such. If you do not drink, people will not readily accept a drink if you buy them. The way it works is, you buy someone a beer or shot and they would buy one drink back to you. It just creates that communication. Many people like to drink socially…I do not like to drink alcohol, but what I usually do is, buy one drink and hold it in hand to keep the conversation alive and make sure everyone feels good. I do the same thing when I go out Salsa Dancing to socialize.
This is a very controversial topic; many would argue you need not drink to socialize. I agree with it…but you know….anyways, the point is, after I started to drink socially, I felt more connection and my network kind of strengthened on a different level because people communicate better and more open. It is not that just drinking alcohol helped, it just helps go with the flow of people. Do not get me wrong, there are many people who do not drink but have good social circle. To keep things in check, I have kept a stupid rule that I would never consume alcohol at home. My friends and everyone still push me, but I say NO. It can be very addictive, so I avoid it. But, if we all go out, I would have one drink, just to socialize…The overall point is, “It is socially acceptable to drink in US and people like it here to have a drink to socialize and chat”. Many of the internationals like me might have been raised in conservative cultures and would have different perceptions, the goal here is tell you all, it is Ok to cut loose a little if you can and socialize a little. Honestly, when doing MBA, I made so many friends just because I would be able to have a drink with others. Just my experience J. You have to very careful to have control on what you do.
What are your thoughts on Drinking Alcohol Socially ? Any experiences ?
Disclaimer: I want to make sure I communicate the message right. I am not encouraging anyone to drink here. It is a personal preference and many people do not have the will power to control it and end up as alcoholics. If you do not have that control, do not even dare to try it. If you think it is ok and have the power to control yourself, you may just have a drink once in a while just to socialize with colleagues or friends.
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