Need More Than a No?

Sometimes, depending on where you are and who you’re with, it can be hard to turn down things like marijuana or alcohol without making some waves. You know that you can always say no—but how can you help others understand and respect your decision?

Here are some pointers that can help.   

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Bring Something Better

The easiest way to avoid what can be awkward interactions is to hang out with others who, like you, choose not to use. But that may not always work for you.

If you are somewhere where you know there may be people drinking, bring an alternative. Like your favorite bubbly water or shareable snacks. You’re never left empty-handed—making it easier to turn down a drink or joint—and it’s a simple way for people to get to know your preferences.

Know Your Lines

If someone is pressuring you with alcohol or marijuana, maybe they just don’t get why you’re not interested. Help them see it from your perspective. Practice replies in your head that will help them understand that it’s your decision and you own it.

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Keep That Confidence

You know what you do and don’t want to do. So, stand firm and give them a friendly, but confident, “No, thanks.”

If that feels off or isn’t really working, put your own spin on it. “Not right now.” “Nah, I’m good.” Whatever feels right.

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Let Them Know Why

Giving others a peek behind the curtain can be all it takes. Tell them about all that studying you have to do, or how you have an early morning. Work. Hikes. Health. Money. They're all valid reasons for not drinking or using marijuana.

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Change the Subject

Asked again if you want a drink or smoke? Deflect. Deflect. Deflect. Changing the subject to literally anything else can move the conversation along and take the pressure off of you. Think sports, TV, music, dancing, or whatever else comes to mind.   

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Bring Backup

You know what can make saying “no” easier? Having your friends say it with you too. They’re there for the tough situations, and this one’s no different. So, whether they’re your closest friends or new ones who are also choosing not to use alcohol or marijuana—you’re not alone.

If the pressure continues, you’ve all got each other’s backs.  

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Have Ideas on Deck

Always be ready with better suggestions. What if instead of drinking or using marijuana, we… try a new restaurant. Go see a movie. Explore Washington. If you feel out of fresh ideas, try checking your campus calendar for events.

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Wish Them a Farewell

Sometimes, you’ve just got to peace out. If someone can’t respect your choice not to use—and won’t leave you alone about it—that's on them. Feel empowered to just walk away.

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