In the article “Above the Influence,” the main idea focuses on how alcohol in college has clinched onto society and is now considered a norm. The goal of this study was to explore how non drinking college students negotiated communication about a potentially stigmatized behavior abstinence from alcohol (675). The concept of the paper goes into depth on how students who don’t drink alcohol are usually an outcast or fall into peer pressure to fit in. In order to support the claims, researchers conducted an experiment to prove their hypothesis.
They used both strict non drinkers and drinkers and placed the participants on a party school campus where alcohol is greatly abused. The actions of the kids varied on whether they would keep their non drinking low key or allow others to know about their situation. The research allowed the experimenters to see the variation of how the abstinent drinkers used communication to still fit in. The claims I most agreed with was allowing different non drinkers with various backgrounds to be put in similar situations.
The diversity gave a better out look on how they would try to still be social even without the alcohol consumption.
When the students used their different tactics to party without upsetting the other drinkers, I believe the empty cup was the best plan (679). When you’re communicating and trying to avoid any issues or quarrels, it is best to please the opposite party. Although some of the students did not drink, holding a cup would allow them to socialize without being hounded.
Drinking has become a normality in both college and adult culture. It can even be seen as disrespectful to some to refuse the offer or abstain from it. The empty cup allows positive face to take place without questioning or disturbance from drunken or concerned peers.
Participant Kristen stated that the cup gave her “control” of the situation and did give any negative vibes toward others. She was able to fit in the crowd with no problem. The non alcoholic cup could also allow the student to assimilate with new friends without feeling awkward or left out. It can give power to those who feel uncomfortable and out of place when faced with alcohol. Being a minority can always be harsh but the cup trick allowed a path into the majority without losing morals and beliefs. The claims that I did not agree with the most was blatantly telling fellow party goers that they were not drinkers.
Choosing to abstain from alcohol should be kept as a private matter and does not need to be show boated or announced. A non drinker who states their lifestyle can be seen as a prude or over responsible. Their actions can belittle a social drinker and even stir up an argument (678). As shown in the article, participant Andy was caught in an argument with a girl after declaring his abstinence. He could have hurt his relationship if the issue had gotten out of hand. His honesty without privacy has caused an uneasy feeling among others.
Some of the students could have tried to please themselves and their peers by using a prop to get out of pressure. College students already know how hard it is to assimilate without adding alcohol to the mix and should try to avoid any persecution. In many cases it is great to own up to a positive lifestyle, but dealing with young adults is in another spectrum. The brutality and insults given by peers can damage a person both emotionally and mentally. The bashing can also cause one to change their outlook or mentality about drinking. By being unaccepted into the norm, a person can try to change their selves to fit in.
Not only can denying drinking be an issue to the victim, but also a fellow peer. Alcohol is not always the center of a party or get together, but it is shown that when someone refuses a drink, the offered can feel offended, as if he or she were being dismissed as a person (677). Looking to keep the best interest of both parties is not to inform others about personal decisions. The experiment overall did allow many questions to be debunked, but I don’t agree with using a college as a normal situation. In college, students are given a great amount of freedom which causes curiosity and experimenting.
Whether it is with drugs or alcohol, college students use foreign or illegal items excessive when they are accessible. Most students are able to kick the negative habits when they are thrown into the real world and given real problems. The experiment should have been used in both college and adult life to give a feel on how being a non drinker is abnormal. I believe that a non drinker would be more accepted in a real world situation because being responsible is admirable when older. When put into a college realm, people tend to be very judgmental due to the level of maturity.
Peer pressure never disappears but it does subside when the level of maturity develops fully. Adults do not force or ridicule others when they are giving off a positive action. Although non drinkers can fall into stereotypical types such as a recovering alcoholic (676), it is easy to kick the labels when older. Therefore I do believe this article and research met the goal of different communication skills when dealing with abnormal choices in society. The experiment allowed to explore the responses of people when deciding on how they deal with abstaining from alcohol.
Some of the feedback gave positive and accepting results while other communication methods created tension and unwanted stress. Although some forms of communication worked better in social situations rather than others, having an array of different attitudes helped determined which faces worked best in college. The positive face allowed participants to have both a good time and maintain their safety. The other participants who chose their own route did have a hard time being accepted by others. Both methods created different paths, but allowed their abstinence of alcohol to be accepted in either a positive or negative light.