Why is drinking alcohol fun?

26 Jun 2022 / Topical / Background

Sit together on the terrace with a beer. Cosy. Toast to the holidays. Cosy. Raising a glass at a wedding. Cosy. Cook and eat while enjoying a good glass of wine. Cosy. And so we could go on and on. Why is drinking alcohol nine times out of ten linked to socializing?

To find out why drinking alcohol is often associated with socializing, it is good to know why we drink. There are roughly two reasons for this. First, we often drink alcohol to numb. A great sadness or a problem is forgotten for a while when you are under the influence and intoxicated. Unfortunately you feel even worse afterwards, but that aside.

The second reason, drinking from social behavior, is linked to sociability. Everything that belongs to a pleasant event, such as cake, balloons, presents, fun music and therefore also alcohol, is therefore labeled as pleasant. And humans are social animals in general, we like to belong. So we copy other people's behavior. We call this imitative behavior.

Source: maxvandaag.nl

Martine Groefsema, researcher at Radboud University in Nijmegen, conducted research into this imitative behavior with regard to alcohol consumption. We wrote an article about it before: 'Social behavior and alcohol use

Research into social behavior and alcohol use in brief

During a study 'social behavior and alcohol use', which Martine Groefsema conducted with her colleagues from Radbout University in Nijmegen, she discovered that people unconsciously adapt their drinking behavior to that of another.

During the study, a 'participant', in reality an actor, raised a glass with a number of real subjects. This actor drank, depending on the participant, one or three beers. Most subjects drank, presumably without realizing it, as much as the actor. The actor didn't push the contestants, but simply asked them "if she wanted a drink too," because "he grabbed a beer." The researchers concluded from this that people adapted to the drinking behavior of the other without coercion.

The above situation is an example of unconscious imitative behaviour. But sometimes you are deliberately persuaded. Or do you want someone to drink with you ('Ah, have one', 'You're not a boring sock', 'Just let yourself go'). Why do we do that? Although this has not been studied, it is easily explained. Because we are used to imitating each other. And if someone doesn't join in, you feel a bit rejected.

Tip from Martine

No one likes falling outside the group. To still have the feeling that you are 'participating', you can drink your non-alcoholic drink from the same glass or bottle as your friends who do drink alcohol. In this way it will not be noticed that you will still leave as sober as you arrived.

At IkPas we are not necessarily against zero point zeros. If it works for you, then it works. However, we do add a critical remark. Curious about our motives? Then read this article.

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