How Alcohol can help with Social Networkiing
Everyone knows that a big part of college is drinking. Whether it takes place at house parties, or in bars, there is little denying that it is a part of life. But do people really ever think how important drinking is to social networking, and that this may be one of the reasons that it takes place so much at college. Now don’t get me wrong, a lot of the drinking is done because parents are no longer around, and there are fewer rules and more options. However, once people get by the immediate shock of binging just because you can, the booze begins to get more important.
There are many reasons, and many types of people at college, especially at a large university like the one I attend. It is more than interesting to watch as people adjust to this new social opportunity. Many look to older siblings, or friends that have attended the school for a long time. How do most of them get comfortable enough to talk in situations that can be awkward? They drink In the movie “Road Trip”, four college students go on a drive from Ithaca, NY to Austin, TX. The movie is a portrayal of the life of a college student today. In one scene, the student that was supposed to be the nave, nerdy kid, gets blackout drunk at an all black fraternity party, ends up becoming very comfortable around the brothers, and loses his virginity to a large, African American girl. Would this happen without alcohol I doubt it.
What is really important in that message is what happens to this guy’s persona after this ridiculous night. He is no longer this punching bag for his three friends. Instead he turns his hat around, lights a cigarette, and walks with a stride. He learned that he could talk to people, including girls, just because he got drunk one night and realized how social he could be.
Now of course, there are limits that need to be put on alcohol consumption. It is dangerous, and many people die every year from over usage. But it is important to look at drinking as a test of your responsibility, and a test of your ability to socialize. If you feel confident that you can go out with a person to discuss business, and limit your drinking to an amount that will loosen you up, but keep you from being stupid, then this shows responsibility. On the other hand, if you are incapable of limiting your consumption, and you end up binge drinking on a business meeting, then you need to evaluate whether alcohol should even be a part of your life anymore.
I am as guilty as anyone for having my nights that I have drank too much. I have done stupid things and not remembered them. However, I learned a lesson a few years ago, that I will probably never forget. I was in Italy with my family, and we were all sitting around a table about to enjoy a nice meal in paradise. Of course the drinking age there is 16, so I was legal for the first time. My father raised his glass, and toasted the family. Everyone said cheers and took a sip, except me. I threw my head back, and downed the beer like I was at a high school party with a $.50 Busch Light in my hand. When I had successfully drank the entire beer, I looked up with pride. Instead of getting high fives and another beer, I just had shocked looks from my parents and brother.
I learned right then and there that you need to learn how to adapt to your surroundings, whether it is in business, or with family. It is necessary to evaluate the people you are with, the setting you are in, and the amount of alcohol you consume. You will soon realize that limiting yourself in some areas allows you to take advantage of other things you may miss out on, or even forget.
There are other ways to look at drinking, and the positive effects it can have on socializing in situations that may not be as comfortable as you may have hoped. For example, I have been going to a rabbi’s house on Friday nights for the Sabbath. He is attempting to teach me a little more about the Jewish religion. He is well aware that I do not speak much Hebrew, and being at dinner with three girls from Israel, and two other conservative Jewish people, I may feel a little out of place. He knows this, so he will have a few more toasts because he knows that it will make me more comfortable.
I would like to know how other people feel about this, I know some people have bad experiences with alcohol, and family, but when responding, I would like you to look at it purely from a networking perspective.