When you're planning a party that's going to feature drinking, one of the worst things you can do is just not invite your sober friends. Oh, they don't drink, I don't want to make them uncomfortable. Let them make that call for themselves. And there's a lot you can do to make sure sober guests will feel welcome and comfortable at a party, even if other people are drinking.
Photo: Visual Hunt
The most important thing is balance: between making accommodations for your sober friends, and not making them feel self-conscious about their sobriety. Sobriety doesn't mean "abstinence from socialising and fun," and hosting is about making people feel welcomed and comfortable. Here are some ways to do that:
- Offer decent mocktails. Hopefully your alcoholic cocktails do more than get people drunk -- they're festive, they taste good, and holding a drink is an A+ solution to What do I do with my hands?? Offer your sober guests beverages that are equally fit for a special occasion. Juice, soda, sparkling cider, and seltzer are good starts, but you can craft mocktails that are as complex and elegant as the best alcoholic cocktail, too. Include these drinks as a normal part of your offerings -- even guests partaking of booze can use a break now and then.
- Make the party about something other than getting drunk. If you can, put the bar in a room other than the main space for hanging out. Play music. Maybe play some party games. (Not drinking games). Introduce guests to foster good conversation. Get out a telescope and look at the moon. If you're focused on enjoying things other than being wasted, your sober guests will have something to enjoy, too.
- Be cool. Once you've made accommodations for your sober friends, don't make a big deal out of it. Do your best to treat them like… a normal person. (Which they are.) And if they decide to leave early, once the drinkers start getting drunk, don't be offended or pressure them to stay.
Oh, and if you don't know why someone's not drinking, for the love of god, don't press them for a reason. Whether they're pregnant, in recovery, or not in the mood, it is extremely none of your business if they don't volunteer to share.