It’s hard to be put in a position where you don’t want to come off as uncool, but you genuinely disagree with the fact that your friend’s been drinking underage. It doesn’t just have to involve beer or alcohol, disagreeing with someone’s habits or actions in any case is tough to do. I guess it’s just universally human to be afraid of conflict. However, it’s also important to realize that not saying anything at all (or just going along with it) can also have consequences.
The first thing that’s important to understand is that people who are under the influence of any substance may not always have a clear head. For some people a can of beer is not a big deal, but for others it can drastically impair their decision-making. Especially at younger ages, different people can respond to alcohol differently. There are people who can take four glasses of wine and be completely fine. Other people drink half a glass and become dizzy. It is often harder to have a conversation with someone while they’re drinking since they can become more abrasive and might not always be willing to have a conversation with you about this.
When dealing with someone who drinks or drinking yourself it is always important to know your tolerance and if you’re unsure about this, it might be a good idea to wait or at least create a safe environment where there is less of a chance that the drinker can be injured.
If possible, it may be a good idea to have a conversation why your friend wants to drink. Often a non-judgemental conversation about it can allow someone to open up. You can’t force your friend to stop drinking, but you can definitely influence someone into deciding that for themselves. If she really is your friend, then don’t be afraid to tell her straight up that you don’t agree with the idea of underage drinking.
As a teen we can often feel like we have to impress our friends and come off as a chill person. So, I can understand where your friend is coming from. Sometimes we need that validation that we’re cool enough and we don’t realize that there are plenty of other things that make us great friends–things that don’t necessarily involve drinking or doing risky stuff. It can be nice to hear that your friend likes you for who you are and that you don’t have to change to impress them. I don’t know your friend, but I’m sure there’s some other cool-mature stuff about her that you admire.
Worrying about things that are going on with someone’s health is a natural thing to do–it’s partly what friends are for. I hope everything turns out well for you and your friend and even if it doesn’t, then it’s ok to drift apart while still being concerned. Don’t ever feel like you need to join in.
Self-care is just as important as concern for your friend. Here at ConnecTeen we believe that it is equally important to remember yourself as well because you can’t help others if you aren’t living out a healthy lifestyle. If you need more information on what you can do to maintain a non-toxic friendship and stay healthy, feel free to check out our blog and other Peer Talk posts!
It’s always important to have a conversation about the things that make us uncomfortable. If you ever need to talk about this or any other crisis please message us through our website, text us at 587-333-2724, or call at 403-264-TEEN.