DEAR ABBY: I am a well-educated, confident, attractive woman in my mid-30s. My job is in business development. My question is, Do I need to be a social drinker in order to be successful? A male friend of mine often harps on how I make the other drinkers uncomfortable, and how people stay out late, drinking and discussing business deals until 3 or 4 in the morning. He says I must learn to have a drink or two -- otherwise I won't be successful in getting any deals.
I never criticize others who drink, and I quietly order fruit juice when others are drinking. No one beside this friend even notices it. But he often says loudly to the server that they should find some juice for me since I don't drink. I have tried to learn to drink, but frankly, I don't enjoy it.
Also, I have seen my friend and some of the other men indulge in somewhat loose behavior as they keep having more drinks. I think I'd be wise to refrain from drinking. My friend says because I am originally from another country, that I am "different." His remarks are wearing me down, as he recently has started accusing me of not being good company.
Please tell me your thoughts on this. He is my best friend, but also has a temper. -- DESPERATELY NEEDING ADVICE IN MANHATTAN
DEAR DESPERATE: For a "best friend," this man is behaving peculiarly. "Best friends" do not announce during a business dinner that a colleague is "different." He appears to be someone who has a drinking problem, and is trying to coerce you into doing something that makes you uncomfortable so your sobriety won't make him feel guilty.
When someone accuses you of not being good company because you don't drink, it means he's looking for a drinking buddy. This man has more problems than you're equipped to deal with, and he won't help you advance your career. My advice is to distance yourself from him.