Pub Etiquette: Why it’s ok not to get into buying rounds

“Drink anyone? I’ll buy this round”

When it comes to a night out with a big group of friends, there’s a big chance that you will all get stuck into making the long slog back from the bar with several drinks in hand.

Before you’ve even looked at your own wallet or thought about how the night will pan out, you’re already down €25 (at least). Too polite to say “I’m not going to do rounds tonight lads”, you’re already ordering at the bar.

It’s not generousity that ties people to rounds these days – it’s fear.

Why in Ireland are we so concerned about being seen as the black sheep of the group?  Is there really anything wrong with saying “I’m going to pay my own way”? Of course there isn’t.

Here are five valid reasons why it’s ok to not be guilt-tripped into engaging in this social minefield:

People drink at different paces

By buying into rounds you’re essentially forcing people to either drink more slowly or quickly than they want. Not only that, but there are also those who will change up their drinks during the night in favour of more expensive ones when it isn’t their round.

Some people don’t plan on staying out all night.

If your plan is to be home by 12 and you forked up the first round, then the chances are that you’re not going to get your money’s worth back by the end of the night. It’s perfectly ok to say that you’d rather buy your own.

You don’t have a lot of money

And that’s ok. You know how much you can afford and you shouldn’t have to justify to your friends why you can’t afford to buy them all a round. In 2014, the average amount that a person spent on a night out was €81, sometimes even more.

Some people wait until the very end before they offer a round

I’ve heard stories of people who hold back until the end of the night when people have whittled off before they start offering to pay for the next one. It’s a sneaky tactic and very unfair.

Some people don’t drink alcohol

At least one in five adults in Ireland don’t drink and why should they have to pay for other people’s booze? There’s a big price difference between a Coke and a Jameson and Coke.

Instead of judging people as being unsociable or unfair, consider how unfair you’re being by forcing them into a system that they don’t want to be a part of. You don’t know what their financial situation is.

Doing rounds essentially leaves you drinking and spending more than you intended. So don’t be miffed with the friend who doesn’t want to buy into the system.

(Lead image via Wikimedia Commons/Zenior)

7 thoughts on “Pub Etiquette: Why it’s ok not to get into buying rounds”
    1. I know the feeling! That’s bad that you’re dragged into it though. I think what’s frustrating is well is when someone gets you a round without even asking and then says “sure you can get the next one”

  1. I never get into rounds. Luckily my friends feel the same way. There are so many good arguments against rounds but the only argument for rounds seems to be laziness i.e. less trips to the bar per night. I think they are starting to become a dying custom and good riddance.

    1. Why I can see people arguing that it’s a form of camaraderie, I definitely see it as a slight form of social exclusion. It maddens me when people get narked when you decide not to do rounds and you’re right it does fall on the laziness side too.

  2. I do not buy rounds. People look at me as though I have two heads. Some say that I am tight, unsociable, anti-social etc. I ask them why they get into rounds of drinks. They always say that it is because it is sociable. Is It? I say…. The meaning of the word Sociable is “willing to talk and engage in activities with other people; friendly.” That has nothing to do with buying rounds of drinks, nor does it require you to get involved in ‘all’ activities. Some people avoid the pub or the bar after activities at a club because they know that they will be forced into buying a round of drinks. They may have little money or find it difficult not to drink more than they really want. Is that sociable? Having a drink or buying a round can be considered sociable by those who it works for, but only by those who see it that way. However, pressuring people into following them with no regard for them is simply anti-social. In fact, it is totally selfish. I belong to a golf club of 700+ members and I say NO. I get constant comments and pressure but it is more important to me to not drink too much or be told what to do. In the last 18 months I have found that whenever I have said that I will buy my own, everyone has an issue but no-one has ever asked me why. I have told people and most totally agree, but they will continue because they are worried that they will be ostracised and loose opportunity within the group. I like to think that I am well entrenched within the club so I get away with it. Be yourself and do not bend to bad practises. Use your rational mind and not your indoctrinated mind.

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