The shame game


I’m just here to drink

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor

Games aren’t my thing, but I do enjoy company and a beverage now and then. I’m what you call a passive social drinker: I don’t care what you do, but let me do what I want to do. Hopefully I won’t ruin your good time and you won’t ruin mine.

I’ve never understood the purpose of drinking games, because I came to drink, not to prevent myself from drinking. The argument is that people who play drinking games tend to get drunker. I don’t necessarily disagree, since it’s house rules, so BYOB. But it’s not my intention to simply get drunk.

When a game of King’s Cup or I Never breaks out, I sit to the side while other partygoers try to wrangle me into the group. Eventually, I’ll notice that everyone has gathered around a table or in a circle on the floor, scattering a deck of cards around. I give an exasperated sigh and express my lack of interest. I continue to receive indignation and encouragement from the group, but I can feel their loathing.

I have two options now: to be alienated from the party, or indulge my friends in a game I want no part of. Feeling like a sourpuss, I always choose the latter.

I don’t really care for games. They stress me out and cause me to think, which is the last thing I want to do when I’m relaxing with company, enjoying a conversation, and consuming alcohol responsibly. Now, I’m not saying I’m against drinking games; I don’t care what others do. Just because I don’t want to participate doesn’t mean I should be shunned for being a spectator. I conform to many things, but why should I spend my precious free time doing something I don’t want to do? I appreciate the invite, but I respectfully decline. Competition is fine, just not while I want to relax.

To me, sitting idly by is more enjoyable than trying to think of something I’ve never done, or remembering what rule correlates to the six of diamonds. The worst part about being a passive social drinker in a drinking game is that I will always end up being the loser, because I don’t pay attention. I forgot to put my thumb on the table or I miss a rhythm—whatever.

But drunks are hard to convince.

A simple solution: if you want people at your parties, don’t force activities onto them. This extends further than drinking games: if you want lasting friendships, you shouldn’t shame others into doing what you want.

I’m aware that I’m not the most valuable person at a party. I bring a six-pack and a bag of chips and mingle—that is my ideal party. It’s what I want to do after a long week of work. Let me have that without stressing over Truth or Dare. Please, let there be a mutual understanding. Because, hey, I don’t force you to come to karaoke night, do I?

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