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The Tie That Binds: Do We Need Alcohol to Connect on the Road?

by Christine DeSadeleer Oct 8, 2009
Sure, a couple of beers make it easier to walk up to that cute Brazilian. But can we really not make deep connections without the bottle involved?

Drinking alcohol tends to be a large part of many traveler’s itineraries.

Ok, maybe not ‘itineraries,’ per se, but checking out a local pub or expat bar usually plays into the travel experience.

Sometimes, drinking is taken entirely too far, and ruins a trip or friendships. Other times, it simply creates too many missed hikes or day trips because of those gosh-darn hangovers that make you want to hurl at the thought of rolling out of that uncomfortable hostel bed.

So here we go with a new study that lets us know if you don’t drink alcohol, you’re more than likely to be depressed. Even more so than a heavy drinker, apparently. Alrighty, then.

And it’s not just depression, no no. It’s also anxiety disorders.

When they try and break down the “why,” it seems that most people who completely abstain from alcohol either have some extreme illness like chronic fatigue, or are former alcoholics, both of which are more prone toward “melancholy.”

Added to that is “the most powerful explanation”:

…It seems to be that abstainers have fewer close friends than drinkers, even though they tend to participate more often in organized social activities. Abstainers seem to have a harder time making strong friendship bonds, perhaps because they don’t have alcohol to lubricate their social interactions.

Yes, alcohol is a lubricant. When traveling, this can be especially helpful in sliding your way into a new situation where you don’t know anyone (especially when traveling alone). But really, abstainers have a harder time making strong friendship bonds? We clearly can’t be trusted to connect without a little tequila (or vodka, or red wine…).

I wonder if this is more an issue of self-acceptance and self-determination more than anything else. Not to say I don’t ever partake in a little drinky-drinky myself…

Do you think alcohol is a necessary social lubricant while traveling? Share your thoughts below.

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