With lockdown easing and beer gardens opening back up, some may be feeling pressure to drink. It's important to recognise that drinking is not everybody's cup of tea and others may want to drink in moderation. Pressure to drink in the majority of cases isn’t malicious, it may not even be conscious. Most people just want the people they’re with to have a good time.
- 57% of Brits would like there to be less pressure to drink alcohol.
- 35% of respondents said that the pressure to drink alcohol is common in their age group (rising to 60% of those aged 18 - 34).
- 34% reported drinking more than they wanted to because they didn't want to be "impolite" in refusing a drink.
- 60% of those who drink more than they intended to say they have been pressured by friends.
Recent research unravels three forms of pressure that people experience when it comes to drinking.
- The "forced on you" is what people often think of when they think of peer pressure and while it is the most overt, it is usually not as common as the other ones.
- The more common form of pressure is "friendly pressure" which is wrapped up as banter or wanting everyone to have a good time.
- The third type of pressure comes from "keeping up" with the pace of the fastest drinker. This is especially prevalent when the group was "buying rounds".
(Source: BMC Public Health)
So what can you do to create an atmosphere where everyone can determine what level of alcohol consumption is right for them without feeling pressured to drink?
- Instead of saying "Go on!" or something similar when a person indicates they won't be having a drink, just chill and say "No Pressure Mate"
- Think of other places to get together that doesn't revolve solely around alcohol
- Positively encourage friends when they go for a non-alcoholic or low alcohol drink
- Don't rush people to drink more and, if you are a fast drinker, think about how others may feel pressured especially if buying in rounds.