I’m sure that most of us know one or two people who don’t like to drink and/or dance at nightclubs. I mean, yes there are certain times when we all have to restrain ourselves from drinking because either we’re the designated driver for the night or we’re having an early one at work the next morning and don’t want to stumble there with a killer hangover.
As for dancing, it complicates things for that person more because their friends could all be having a swell time partying it up like tonight is their last night, whereas that person is lurking in the corner awkwardly trying to figure out what to do next. I suppose it’s easier to avoid the dancing scene in a bar or pub, and maybe they could use the excuse of ‘oh my feet are killing me!’ and sit down for a bit, but they can’t extend that excuse to cover the whole night without becoming buzzkill for their group.
I think the first thing we have to do is try to place ourselves in that person’s shoes so that we can get a better understanding of why they won’t drink or dance. A lot of the time, it’s a crippling fear of embarrassing themselves and a desperate need to maintain their self-control at all times. They don’t want to risk losing themselves in the alcohol or the music, and constantly criticise themselves if they relinquish a bit of control in this context. They fear judgment and ridicule from others, even if nobody is judging them.
Perhaps they don’t want to spend money on alcohol, and would rather settle for an energy drink or even a soft drink. They may refuse to drink for religious reasons, which is justifiable. They may have health concerns about alcohol becoming a self-destructive habit and don’t want to risk indulging in it. But then you get those people who become dictators by chastising other people for drinking, and they become extremely annoying when they start to judge others for indulging in a drink or ten.
Most judgmental people also tend to mock other people’s dancing for being lame, weird or just plain embarrassing, and that’s when they start to get a lot of raised eyebrows from the people who have to listen to their endless tirade of criticism. After all, people go out to nightclubs to party and escape their everyday work routines, and the last thing they want is for other people to point the finger at them and judge. That’s when people who don’t drink and/or dance start becoming a burden to hang around with, because other people feel as though they’re being dragged down by their harsh commentary.
Now you’re probably thinking ‘so what do I do about these sort of people?’ Don’t worry, I’ve got this sorted. The only way to encourage people to drink or dance is to slowly expose them to both scenarios without judging them. So for example: you have an anxious person who’s scared of getting drunk and losing control. Instead of trying to force them to skoal that tequila shot, you can expose them to a bit of alcohol and prove to them that drinking doesn’t lead to black or white outcome – you can control your intake and the only way you’re going to know your limit is by actually giving it a test run. You also have to remind them that it’s okay to let loose a little, especially in a nightclub context where people are just looking to have fun and enjoy themselves, and wouldn’t really notice your drunken antics since they’re already in their own drunken haze.
Dancing can prove to be a little more difficult if you’re overthinking it. Some people tend to think they’re bad dancers and don’t want to look like a dork amongst a group of pros rocking the dance floor. It’s good to just sway with the beat, and often drinking and dancing do pair up really well because when you drink, your inhibitions tend to lower and you’ll definitely enjoy your free-spirited side more. As a matter of fact, the more you do it, the more confident you get as you start to expose yourself to the dancing scene more frequently.
Yes, we all do have our cringeworthy dance moments and we like to blame it on the alcohol (which honestly is the culprit about 95% of the time!), but it’s all about gaining the experience and having fun that counts. How is anyone supposed to overcome their fear of dancing if they don’t expose themselves to it? They’ve got to face your fears in order to get over them.
You’ll also find that most of these once deprived drinkers/dancers will become less judgmental as they start to have more fun. The reason why is because they know they have no business making comments about other people when they themselves are also exhibiting similar behaviour, and plus they’ll be too busy ripping up the dance floor to stare at everybody else. They won’t be sitting down and looking at their phones all the time either.
Now, if they don’t listen to your helpful advice on how to loosen up, you can always give them a cocktail but say it’s a mocktail. Or you can give them a vodka sunrise but say it’s orange juice (because you can barely taste the vodka in those). Either way, they’ll start to loosen up without realising it, and then they’ll make the most of their night, and that’s what you call mission accomplished haha!