I have started on my path not very long ago and because I'm very unsure where it will take me, I am hesitant to label myself as a Buddhist or even a meditator or such. Also where I live, eastern schools of thought are not well known anyway.

In certain social situations (most recently at the office Christmas party) I am usually nagged to relax more or to enjoy myself more. I understand that these are good intentioned tries to make me have a similar experience to what these people deem as joyous. However I don't feel anxiety or loss of comfort just because for example I don't get drunk and dance in a very animated way. In fact I'm usually quite content to just lean on the bar and observe people and be mindful of what's happening. I have yet to meet a party goer who will believe this.

Do you have any advice on how to try and help these people understand that I don't partake in their experiences because I don't find them wholesome and ultimately fulfilling without having them brand me as a weirdo or a liar? Specifically without mentioning Buddhism, meditation, mindfulness and similar terms? I'd like to convey believably that there are other ways to enjoy yourself, not just drinking and hitting up attractive people.


  • 3
    "I'm not happy like them" Make sure you are not being judgemental of their happiness. Try not to start labeling and separating happiness when at a party interacting with people. Perhaps during sitting meditation later you can investigate happiness, but when interacting with people just be yourself. When you say I am not happy like them, then you are bringing assumptions to happiness. May you be happy and know happiness :)
    – Thien
    Dec 19, 2014 at 18:03
  • Here is a great blog about judgement that I think might help. tinybuddha.com/blog/why-judging-people-makes-us-unhappy
    – Thien
    Dec 19, 2014 at 18:13
  • I'm not sure what your goal is, if I knew that, I could more easily suggest the Buddhist style of getting there. Did some one ask you why you don't drink at a party? (i.e. you're following the precepts?) Or you are trying to get out of going to one of these parties you don't enjoy? Or did the topic of personal religion come up, for example if someone asked you to join in a group Christian prayer or something? Dec 19, 2014 at 21:27
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    Is that a can of worms you want to open? Trying to explain this could be misinterpreted as being judgmental...
    – R. Barzell
    Dec 19, 2014 at 23:52
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    At the moment I live a mostly secular life and am surrounded with such people. I'd rather build bridges then stand out like a sore thumb just because I can't explain myself in simple, secular terms. If I continue on the Path I suppose there will be more things I need to either explain or reconcile somehow for outsiders. My question intends to find out if there are any early best practices, not merely allowing the communication gap to widen. (Though I see how I could be over thinking this.)
    – thehumming
    Dec 20, 2014 at 22:19

4 Answers 4


As long as what you are doing is not immoral in my case I would go along with what the others are doing.

Main point is by doing this you should not accumulate more fabrication. One way is to reduce contact through it is not very effective, which you are trying now.

The more effective way is to go along with the crowed but what every you do be mind full of the sensation and its impermanence. It is reaction of clinging or aversion to the sensation created when you come in contact with something which causes fabrications. This is what you should actively avoid. Though you might not chase sense pleases you have to go with the flow in social contexts if you want to be a householder.

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    I find this answer eye opening so thank you for that! Interestingly in this video an immoral act is defined by something that leads to suffering. Now you could argue and I would agree, that since I am in a social situation of entertainment, I am already surrounded by unwholesome acts and thoughts so I either go for the social acceptance or leave. However I feel that a middle ground is more beneficial for me, since my practice is not that strong yet, and going full with what others are doing would cause suffering I couldn't be mindful of properly.
    – thehumming
    Dec 21, 2014 at 8:56
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    very good answer!
    – Andriy Volkov
    Sep 11, 2015 at 15:25

Most Buddhists I know exude happiness. Seeing a monk or a nun just standing and silently smiling brings much joy and happiness. True happiness is infectious. I have never found that my happiness goes unnoticed. In fact many people become happy and calm themselves when around practitioners.

However, peer pressure to drink is a different story. If someone presses you to drink after you have said no, that should be examined separately.

  • Thank you for your input. I really didn't want to convey any "pressure to drink" and I'm not looking to exude anything. I want to be mindful and help people understand that what they might perceive as me being uptight due to not sharing a particular experience the same way they live it, is just merely me enjoying myself in a different way. I hope that makes it a bit more clear.
    – thehumming
    Dec 19, 2014 at 18:56
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    Well instead of trying to make people do things because you are not happy like them and/or because you do not like how they act or how they think, instead let go off all that and just be yourself. When you experience true happiness you will share it and exude it even if you do not try. Let go of how they perceive you. Let go of trying to control their views and their actions. Just be there in the present moment at the party with them. Cultivate joy and happiness together. That is mindful living.
    – Thien
    Dec 19, 2014 at 19:07
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    I understand now how the initial wording of my question was unfortunate. Thank you.
    – thehumming
    Dec 19, 2014 at 20:00

"I appreciate you wanting to be sure that I am enjoying myself, and I understand that you do not perceive me as doing so, but I assure you, I very much am!"


just BE WHO YOU ARE,Have you ever noticed that even when you were a party animal before people had stuff to complain?You are right to be mindful and you should do it every second you are awake,this might look a bit extreme but trust me it always help.as for having fun don't be immoral live your life but remember you are not a puppet of anybody friends respect who their friends really are,if they do not you might want to rethink about your entourage.If they ever ask about your sudden change don't mention meditation or your path simply say that people change with time and you are going through such a pace too.This should get you out of any awkward situation with your friends or family!

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