Group challenges can be a fun way to connect with your friends. Whether you try to be competitive, or use them to improve yourself, it’s always a lot easier and more fun with friends.
Of course, that’s assuming your friend wants to do them with you in the first place.
Reddit user aitadryjan asked the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit if his response was a little overboard when his friends and wife tried to include him.
The original poster (OP) asked:
“AITA for not joining in and doing “dry January” with my wife and friends?”
As he explained:
“There’s this thing called ‘dry January’ where you make a big production not drinking alcohol for the month. It’s supposed to be this big challenge I guess for people who are problem drinkers and need an excuse to not drink.”
“I don’t get it, I think it’s stupid – if you feel compelled to take a ‘break’ from drinking in the first place maybe you’re just an alcoholic?”
“My wife is doing this along with a group of our friends. We were on our weekly zoom call and people were talking about it and they asked how we’re feeling about it.”
“I said we? We aren’t feeling anything. She might be, but I’m not.”
“They all got on my case about how it’s just one month, can’t I go one month, if I can’t go one month what does that say about me? Don’t I want to ‘reassess’ my ‘relationship’ with alcohol?”
“I said if you have to make a big production and show of not drinking to where you feel you have to make it a whole identity for a month, doesn’t that say more about you?”
“And what ‘relationship’ with alcohol?”
“If I want a beer, I drink a beer. If I don’t want a beer, I don’t drink a beer. It’s not some big issue.”
“They’re all trying to pressure me into this and I basically told them to f’k off with their peer pressure bullsh*t.”
“That I’m a 36-year-old man and I don’t need to go ‘dry’ for a month to prove a point to someone, myself included.”
“But my wife is telling me I’m acting like a superior a**hole about it and the way I talk about it makes me sound like I look down on alcoholics…”
On AITA judgements come from one of the following acronyms:
- YTA – You’re the A-hole
- NTA – Not the A-hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks here
- NAH – No A-holes here
Since OP’s friends tried to pressure him into something he clearly didn’t want to do, but OP harshly responded, it was decided everyone sucks.
“I’m gonna go with ESH. Like, it’s sh*tty of them to try and pressure you into doing something you don’t want to, but you’re also coming off as kinda sh*tty for being judgemental about it and implying that they’re alcoholics.” – badb-crow
“ESH. Dry January has nothing to do with alcoholism. Plenty of people do a dry month to lose a couple pounds, save money, or achieve other goals.”
“You don’t have to be an alcoholic to take a break from drinking. You’re TA for implying that it’s only for ‘problem drinkers’ and lashing out; they’re TA for pressuring you.” – Flownique
“I suppose ESH but your attitude definitely makes you sound like an a**hole and they’re probably responding to it. I get it, I think month long campaigns to not drink/eat meat/shave whatever are dumb.”
“But if they wanted to do it and were excited about it, you didn’t need to be such a judgmental a**hole about it. ‘Oh, I’m not participating but good luck to you all…’ was all that’s needed.”
“It’s also kind of a jerk move to not support your wife and friends when they’re trying to do something good for their health” – CityBride
“ESH. Yeah, they suck for pressuring you in a not-so-positive way, however on the flip side, instead of declining in a firm but polite way, you’re coming off as retaliating, dramatic and a bit childish.” – bassplayerchris
Other comments leaned more one way or the other, with some objecting more to the friends, and others objecting more to OP.
“Let me get this straight.”
“Someone quitting alcohol for a month is probably an alcoholic. Someone who refuses to quit drinking for a month is probably not an alcoholic.”
“Someone joining their friends in a group activity is making a big production out of it. Someone who refuses and insults all their friends’ motivations and self-control is not making a big production out of it.” – jupitaur
“NTA they pushed you to do it not the other way around. I drink so infrequently that I very well might go all of January without a drink not including New Year’s Eve.”
“Not dedicating to go a month doesn’t make or break that you’re an alcoholic” – OurLadyofHalloween
“Hmmm, based on the way you blew up at the perceived threat to your drinking I don’t think you’re being honest with yourself.”
“Most people that can control their drinking don’t take such offense to the thought that they shouldn’t drink for just 1 month. I’d seriously take a deep look into your drinking and focus on how it effects others.”
“In the mean time, YTA.” – Prof_Toke
“NTA I hate these stupid challenges that everyone is somehow peer pressured into participating in, or sponsoring.”
“No one is under any obligation to do these things and people need to chill out trying to get everyone as enthused and invested in these things as they are.” – AWhistlingWoman
“Honestly, Dry January is made easier when you have a group doing it so you can offer support and empathy to those who are struggling, and you don’t feel like the odd-man-out for not drinking in a particular situation.”
“OP may not have a drinking problem, but his reaction to what basically boils down to a fitness challenge is a bad look. He comes across as holier-than-thou, disparaging, and just rude.”
“I also hardly drink, but always participate in Dry January as a show of support to friends who do feel like it’s a challenge.”
“It ends up being thought-provoking for all of us, and really allows you to gain insight into all those niggly social pressures you tend to gloss over when you’re drinking. OP, YTA.” ~ double-dog-doctor
As with any relationship, communication is key. If your friend doesn’t want to participate in a group activity, trying to shame them over it isn’t going to work.
Likewise, lashing out at friends who are trying to include you will, of course, hurt their feelings and make you feel like a jerk.
If you claim to be an adult, talk it out respectfully rather than make pointless accusations.