Am I judgemental for not dating people who smoke/drink/do pot?
May 8, 2015 7:19 PM   Subscribe

I have friends who smoke, drink, and do weed/light drugs. I don't think anything of it (at least consciously) and I wouldn't prefer them to stop or anything. But suddenly, when it comes to people I date, I get so turned off when I hear that they smoke, drink, do pot, or light drugs like LSD. I like my friends but I would never date them. There's just some things I don't mind or even prefer in friends that I wouldn't want in a potential "other half". I have friends who have fuckbuddies and I think it's funny/awesome/empowering for example, but when it come to someone I would do myself, I wouldn't touch such people with a ten foot pole.

My friend (who does pot and LSD) recently introduced me to a guy friend of hers. Then I found out that he regularly does pot (my friend told me), and that in the past he did LSD with her (I don't know if he still does it) and my interest dropped to 0. It's not like I think they're "bad", but I just feel like the type of person to pick up a habit is probably not someone whose personality I would be attracted to. Am I being too harsh? I ask this because this isn't something I would say to my own friend, she might feel judged herself if I say "no thanks, he does pot/LSD".

I am not a complete prude either. I drink a bit of red wine once in a while when I write my stories or play piano, but beyond that I don't do anything that intoxicates or influences me. I don't even drink coffee. I wouldn't have picked up red wine in the first place if it wasn't for the "good for the heart" reputation.
posted by Sades to Human Relations (56 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Yes it makes you "judgmental" but it is appropriate to make judgments about who you wish to date.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:25 PM on May 8, 2015 [75 favorites]

I am not a complete prude either. I drink a bit of red wine once in a while when I write my stories or play piano, but beyond that I don't do anything that intoxicates or influences me. I don't even drink coffee. I wouldn't have picked up red wine in the first place if it wasn't for the "good for the heart" reputation.

This is definitely unusual. It doesn't make you a weirdo or anything, but if you only want to date a person who basically never drinks, your options will be limited. Drug use beyond that is less common, and I wouldn't really put it in the same category as drinking alcohol.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:31 PM on May 8, 2015 [16 favorites]

You can say "no thanks, he's not my type," and you don't have to elaborate. "Just not feeling it" is another thing to say if you're pushed.

It's totally fine to have this boundary with people you date. It's good to know what you don't want. However, it will make your dating pool smaller (especially since it sounds like this comes up a fair amount in your social circle?) But all boundaries with potential significant others do.

Also, I have never heard anyone call LSD a "light" drug, but maybe I'm behind the times.
posted by sockermom at 7:34 PM on May 8, 2015 [20 favorites]

You are allowed to set your own boundaries of what kind of substance use goes beyond your comfort level for someone you are going to trust with the intimacy of being your partner, as opposed to your friend.
posted by matildaben at 7:35 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Eh, there are plenty of things I don't mind in my friends that I wouldn't want as characteristics in someone I'd date. They're different situations, and the standards are different. That's far from abnormal. It's actually a very good idea.

(Little tip for you, though: no one says "do pot". It's generally "smoke pot". I know you're not experienced in this area and have no interest in falsely portraying yourself as such, but it's slightly jarring to hear someone refer to it that way.)
posted by Because at 7:36 PM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]

Well, I am a person who likes to do all those things you mentioned, and i won't date people like you because I feel they are closed minded and we won't be able to relate to each other about life experiences in general. So I think it's sort of a self solving problem so long as everyone is honest upfront.

Edited- didn't mean to sound so harsh. I agree with everyone saying you get to set your own boundaries. Just pointing out that just because you decide to make an exception to date a person like you describe, doesn't mean you would actually be good for them to date/ they would want to date you. Because you're different, not because you're wrong. There are enough people who fall on each side of that line to just date each other. Personally I've found that preferable.
posted by Argyle_Sock_Puppet at 7:37 PM on May 8, 2015 [21 favorites]

Response by poster: Should have clarified: I don't compare drinking at normal social events (like a holiday, not clubbing) or going wine tasting to being a drinker. Or trying a drug once to being a drug user. But if it's frequent like daily, weekly, once a month, then yeah I consider that a habit.

About LSD being a light drug: I guess that's what my friend always told me. *shrug* I heard it's not "addicting". Never researched further into it other than what my friends tell me tbh.
posted by Sades at 7:38 PM on May 8, 2015

No, it doesn't make you judgmental -- hell, you don't mind your friends drinking or or smoking or doing drugs. I too have friends that do things and have vices that I don't necessarily agree with or wouldn't do myself, and that's just OK by me and makes up only a really tiny part of the people they are -- but it's not like they're really in the running to be my life partner. Bottom line, you get to choose who you want to date, and what your personal dealbreakers are. Having your partner share your values is a huge deal, and it's not something you should feel like you have to justify, nor should you feel judgmental for sticking to your values. At the end of the day, you get to call the shots.

In the long run, it's a tradeoff. Sure, your pool might be somewhat more limited, depending on the circles you run in, but IMO I don't think it's unreasonable expect your future SO to be someone who doesn't drink, at all -- and there are more people like that out there than you might think! Instead of having any drinking at all be an absolute dealbreaker, why not expand your boundaries to include people who drink only rarely or once in a blue moon, like you do?
posted by un petit cadeau at 7:39 PM on May 8, 2015

I don't think not wanting to ingest anything for the reason that you don't want a substance to influence you sounds at all snooty. One's state of mind/experience is a very personal, very precious thing. Alcohol influences this, as do all non-ingestible experiences as well. People have different ideas about how they would like to be. You should absolutely be making these decisions for yourself regardless of what the norm is or what others think of what you do and how you experience life.
posted by Blitz at 7:42 PM on May 8, 2015 [8 favorites]

It's fine to want what you want, and there are plenty of people who don't smoke or do drugs. You will probably have to specify to new prospects what kind of drinking is and isn't okay with you, mostly because light drinker or infrequent drinker is not the same - culturally - as teetotal or straightedge or sober/in recovery or abstaining for religious reasons or scarred by parental drinking or health nut or serious migraineur. People will bring their own baggage to your "no drinking" verbiage unless you are extremely specific about what you mean there.

I think a lot of people are very binary about smoking and drugs, that part's pretty easy. Probably a little harder if you're really young, but they are out there.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:50 PM on May 8, 2015

Short answer: no, you're fine. You're allowed to want to date whomever you want to date for any reason. And especially since it sounds like it's just a reflexive thing for you. You can't help feeling how you feel.

Long answer: I don't have any hard line rules about it when I date folks, but personally I don't drink/smoke/whatever. Just not my thing. I've dated plenty of dudes who drink socially, people who drink as a hobby (like, enjoy craft beers or cocktails), people who smoke weed occasionally...and here's the important thing:

These people I date. They all do whatever their thing is less when they're dating me, simply because it's not a social activity the two of us can share, and they're completely ok with whatever thing it is having less presence in their life.

I think that's what's really key. I don't put my foot down about it because it's just naturally not an issue, since I make it my policy not to date assholes. If someone's whole world centers around getting high, they're not going to have any more fun around me than I'm going to have around them. And likewise if I'm dating someone and they have some big deal problem with being present and accountable, I'm not going to keep dating them. It's self selecting.
posted by phunniemee at 7:52 PM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]

There's nothing wrong with being highly-selective about the people you date, and it's far from unheard of to not want to date people who smoke, drink, or do drugs. But I will say that there's a pretty long continuum here, and someone who drinks casually is at a pretty different point on it than someone who does LSD (or even pot, honestly). You're limiting yourself vastly more by avoiding people who drink than by avoiding people who do drugs.

I'm a little confused by your definition of "drink" because your OP says " I get so turned off when I hear that they smoke, drink, do pot, or light drugs like LSD," but then in your update it sounds like you said you don't mind casual drinking. I do think that first you need to be really clear with yourself about what's ok with you. If you're not ok with drinking at all, that's fine (though very limiting as I mentioned). And if you're ok with casual drinking, that's fine too, but in that case you shouldn't say you don't want to date people "who drink" because that includes people who drink casually by any common definition.
posted by primethyme at 7:53 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Mod note: Friendly reminder folks, please don't use the edit function to change content. It causes confusion when people respond to your original version. Instead, add a second, corrected comment and flag the first one for us to remove. Thanks.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:57 PM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

You're not alone: I draw the line at dating smokers and people who use drugs of any kind (And I live in one of the marijuana-friendliest of states).

I have friends who drink and smoke and use drugs occasionally, and they're fine people. I'm pretty liberal and I truly believe everyone's free to experience life any way they see fit, and what people do or don't do is an individual choice. Abstaining from smoking and drugs is an individual choice. It reflects how you want to frame your world and how you like to spend your time.

You'll find fewer people in the dating pool, but if that's important to you, it's cool to stick with it. (I always have.) As I'm getting older, I'm encountering more and more people who may have experimented in their past but don't smoke or use recreational drugs any more. I think it's fine to consider people individually when you come across it.

So, no: You are not being too harsh, and it's a fair line to draw. But take people case by case.
posted by mochapickle at 8:00 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

i had a few people who were obviously bothered by my intake of intoxicants try to date me. it went bad for everyone. don't try to overcome this, just accept that it's a deal breaker issue for you. people do tend to date alongside their friend group - like your friend introducing their friend to you - so if your friends are recreational/habitual users of intoxicants than the people they will set you up with will likely have these traits as well. it would probably help you and them in the future if you found a way to tell them you didn't want to date people who used drugs/drank to excess, while being mindful to not make moral judgments about it/your friends. it's a fine line to walk but it can totally be done.

if it matters to you at all, as someone who drinks more than you'd be comfortable and does other stuff as well, i don't think you're a prude or close minded or anything like that - i just think we have different world views. that's cool - lots of people have different world views - it makes this whole thing go 'round. i wouldn't sweat it, if i were you.
posted by nadawi at 8:09 PM on May 8, 2015 [11 favorites]

I think, yes, you are entitled to your own boundaries, but you are also being judgmental and ignorant. Saying that casual sex is not for you is fine; saying you wouldn't touch someone who has had casual sexual experiences "with a ten foot pole" is pretty degrading.

You might also want to think about the way you're framing your own drug use in terms of personal choice and class connotations-- you're rationalizing your own drinking habit because you read it was healthy, you associate it with very personal experiences like writing "my stories" and classy activities like playing piano. You don't seem to want to imagine that people who use other drugs may have similar reasons or patterns of use.

As to the friend of a friend who did acid-- you're not obligated to be attracted to anyone, but an alcoholic pianist is many more times more problematic within the context of a relationship than someone who dropped acid once in college. If you are preoccupied enough with working out your boundaries around substance use and relationships that you're asking an advice forum, I think it might be helpful for you to learn more-- to examine your ideas and fears about the kinds of people who consume, and learn what healthy and unhealthy levels of drug and alcohol use look like. LSD and marijuana are not the same class of drug, either legally or culturally, and it would greatly improve your ability to make safe judgements (safe for you) if you became more fluent in the cultural mores of your friend group and the group from which you're selecting potential partners. Make your decisions based on real knowledge, not abstract, ignorant standards of "influence" that you yourself don't live up to.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 8:30 PM on May 8, 2015 [62 favorites]

-No smokers: totally normal, like 90% of everyone will back you on this
-No pot: Maybe 60% of everyone will back you on this, depending on your circles.
-No drinking: Like 80% of everyone will NOT back you on this. Probably 80% of everyone is going to go out for a drink occasionally at a bar after work in adult life. For the effect, and socially. (A bit different from a "wine tasting or holiday.") Thus, this is your most restrictive category. I would date people who drink occasionally and get drunk occasionally but never blackout drunk or throwing up drunk. That is my personal line. Being pretty well drunk, though? Basically harmless if no one is driving. I'd let this one slide.
-No drug use: Like 75% of everyone will back you on this.

Shrug. You're fine. Your question makes me glad I'm not in my early 20s and living in Portland anymore. Hah.
posted by quincunx at 8:34 PM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]

I think it's okay to hold a date to more exacting standards than your friends, especially if you're looking for a long-term relationship. This is a person that, down the road, you might be seeing every day and sharing a living space and/or finances with. It's not too hard to be friends with someone who eats only bread or lives with five parrots; they're weird, but it's a weirdness that affects only them. In a relationship, you get a lot closer to someone's individual weirdnesses.

I do think it'll help you to clarify, for yourself, what your thoughts are on drinking and drugs, and why they're a turnoff for you. Even your update is sort of murky: "frequent like daily, weekly, once a month" - there's a considerable difference between a couple drinks a month and a couple drinks a day. And there's a difference in wanting to date a non-drinker so you can enjoy the same sorts of activities and wanting to date a non-drinker because you consider drinking to be a bad thing. There is a whiff of judgment and naïveté in the way you've phrased your question, which makes me suspect that the reasoning behind your preferences might not be fully baked.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:41 PM on May 8, 2015 [15 favorites]

You know, I was thinking: A lot of this comes down to social circles, too.

I lived in a pretty remote community where I was literally one of four people under 40 who didn't use recreational drugs. It was just the culture there and it was kinda lonely for me, and there was a lot of pressure, too. My social circles are different now and it's not quite so lonely. So if your particular circle is really into that (which, again, is fine) you might want to expand your circle of friends.
posted by mochapickle at 8:43 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

As many have already said, there is nothing wrong with having different standards for friends & romantic partners. Personally, I don't care if someone smokes pot or not, but I wouldn't want to date a daily pot user. On the other hand, I like my wine, so if that's a deal-breaker for someone, so be it. In either scenario, chances are we would both be uncomfortable far too much of the time.

The best romantic partners are people you feel fully comfortable with, who don't have you constantly questioning your boundaries, & accept you as you are. Do I think you sound a bit judgmental about people's past behavior? Yeah, a bit, because people grow in different ways, & the person you are at twenty-something can be worlds away from the person you become at thirty-something. We all go through phases, make mistakes, & constantly reinvent ourselves. So, if anything, I'd say judge the person on who they are now, not on who they were that one time (or semester) they did LSD. Regardless, you don't need to justify your dating choices to anyone but yourself.
posted by katemcd at 8:56 PM on May 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

Are you morally in the wrong? No. Different strokes for different folks and all that. Are you a hypocrite for holding potential partners to a different standard than friends? Absolutely not, I think most people do this in one way or another.

But you may want to reconsider where you are drawing the line on this as it is likely limiting your dating prospects, seeing as most of your social circle seems to be more interested in drinking/pot/drugs than you are. Now, I'm not suggesting that you should date alcoholics, or druggies, or unrepentant potheads. But...

You say: I don't compare drinking at normal social events (like a holiday, not clubbing) or going wine tasting to being a drinker. Or trying a drug once to being a drug user. But if it's frequent like daily, weekly, once a month, then yeah I consider that a habit.

So, what do you consider a "normal social event" for drinking? If you go out to dinner with someone, and he orders a drink with his meal, is that normal? If he keeps a six-pack in the fridge and has a beer once in awhile while relaxing at home, is that normal? Because if these sorts of things are too much drinking for you...well, if your social circle is anything like mine, you are going to be severely limiting your dating options. You are allowed to do that, if you want. It doesn't mean you are a terrible person. But you should be aware of the tradeoffs.

Pot is going to be easier to weed out (pun...I don't know if it was intended or not), but, you know, smoking pot once a month isn't really a habit. Or at least it probably isn't a habit. Weekly, kind of; daily, absolutely - but not monthly.

I think phunniemee's standard, or something close to it, is something you may want to think about. If someone's world revolves around getting high or getting drunk, that's a problem - but it will reveal itself quickly. A moderate drinker or a moderate pot smoker should not have a problem significantly toning down their consumption in your presence.
posted by breakin' the law at 9:25 PM on May 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

"Then I found out that he regularly does pot "

He regularly does pot? In, like, jazz cigarettes?

So, first off, you're totally allowed to be judgmental in deciding who you date. That's one of the fundamental rules of pair-seeking, that you're allowed to not date who you don't like for pretty much whatever reason.

But stuff like that, combined with:
"I am not a complete prude either. I drink a bit of red wine once in a while when I write my stories or play piano, but beyond that I don't do anything that intoxicates or influences me. I don't even drink coffee. I wouldn't have picked up red wine in the first place if it wasn't for the "good for the heart" reputation."
makes you sound like you both are a prude and that you aren't reaching an informed opinion so much as retreating to some pretty D.A.R.E. assumptions. I'm fine with Mormon+Mormon; Vegan+Vegan. I even recommend it. But you're coming across like someone who says they wouldn't date anyone who listened to country or rap, not just judgmental but ignorant too.
posted by klangklangston at 10:33 PM on May 8, 2015 [19 favorites]

I think you are just stating a preference. Quite frankly, I bet some of those same people you rule out to date because of drinking or drug use would want to know you don't imbibe in anything. They would rule you out as a potential dating partner.

If you think a rare glass of red wine while playing music makes you open minded and not a prude about alcohol or drugs, I think you should rethink that. But, there is nothing wrong with being closed minded on the subject.

I am older, but I do recall in my youth, that I quit smoking pot when a girlfriend asked me to because her father was a town judge and something something reputation. I did. It wasn't a big deal to quit nor was it a big deal that she asked. Maybe before you rule someone out, find out their level of use and their willingness to stop.
posted by AugustWest at 10:37 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yes, you ARE being judgmental but guess what? That's fine.

You are entitled to have your preferences in lifestyles and decide who you want to date. That's making a judgement but it's fine.

I personally would hardly befriend someone who uses drugs. Yet, I am a drinker and would understand if someone didn't want to date me.
posted by Kwadeng at 11:05 PM on May 8, 2015

If it makes you feel any better, there are folks like me out there who feel the same lack of attraction when it comes to people who relate to drugs the way you do. That's not meant to be snide, more just to observe that the people on the other side of the fence from you are not strictly more tolerant in terms of their dating criteria. Judging potential romantic partners: everybody's doing it.
posted by invitapriore at 11:35 PM on May 8, 2015 [7 favorites]

Next time a friend wants to play matchmaker, ask "do they drink? Do they smoke? I'm not interested in dating anyone who partakes in mind altering substances."

There are people out there like you, I promise!
posted by oceanjesse at 11:50 PM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hands up for being another person like this. While I do drink coffee and have the occasional drink (1 a month? Less?), I don't do any of the other things and my appetite for someone instantly shrinks when I find out about excessive drinking, drug use, etc.

I think it has to do with the mindset of these potential dates, combined with my own personal taste. I don't want to be with someone who regularly changes the way they think and who they are (even temporarily) by taking a substance. I just want them to be them, regularly and on the level.

That they might take something and then be somehow impaired or different lends an air of randomness and selfishness to life that I'm just not looking to take on. Who I date, they will have all of me. So I feel it's unfair for them to (unconsciously) expect me to take care of them when they're off their faces or deliberately hijacking their health. The element of surprise, of not knowing who they turn into or what they might to, it's just not good enough for this gal.

And no, it's not hip to think this way. It's not cool. It's probably not going to increase your standing among your friends. But it's how some of us think and feel. Who I date is too important to have substances fucking with them and adding an extra element of uncertainty/distaste to a relationship.

Of course, my thinking is not your thinking. But it's where I'm coming from when I refuse to date smokers, heavy drinkers, etc.
posted by Chorus at 12:36 AM on May 9, 2015 [6 favorites]

I drink very occasionally and have tried a few recreational drugs. If I was in the dating scene, I probably wouldn't date people who drink to excess or take lots of drugs regularly. However, that's something that I would decide while getting to know a person not when I'd only just met them.

For example, I once I went on a date with this guy from okcupid and I think he had three or four glasses of beer to my one. I wasn't attracted to him anyway, but him not following social cues and drinking much more than me just added to that. I knew that he wasn't a guy I wanted to keep dating.

On the other hand, my ex was a smoker (tobacco only). I never would have imagined that I would date a smoker. But while getting to know him, it was never an issue: he only smoked outside, he only smoked a few times a day, he didn't stink of cigarettes.

It's not like I think they're "bad", but I just feel like the type of person to pick up a habit is probably not someone whose personality I would be attracted to.

I would say that this is where your attitude is really judgemental. You don't even really know the guy and you're making a lot of assumptions about his relationship with drugs and alcohol and what that means about his personality. For all you know, he might actually be cutting back on the pot or he might only actually smoke very rarely with his friends. It doesn't mean that he wakes up every morning and the first thing he does is take a bong hit.

And honestly, your paragraph at the end about how you're not a prude made you sound... well, prudish. Are you sure that you're hanging around in the right circles if your friends sometimes do LSD but you won't even touch a cup of coffee?
posted by kinddieserzeit at 2:19 AM on May 9, 2015 [9 favorites]

It's totally okay to decide that some things are dealbreakers for you, and it's totally okay for drug use to be a dealbreaker. If you are currently surrounded by people who think LSD is a "light" drug, then you might have the feeling that by ruling out drug users then you're ruling out 90% of the world, but you're not. I don't drink or do drugs and neither does my boyfriend. I have lots of other friends who don't do drugs, and a couple of other friends who don't drink at all either. You might think about signing up for OKcupid or expanding your social circle so that you run into more people who have the same ideas as you do.
posted by colfax at 2:41 AM on May 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

My general network of friends/acquaintances is a mix of people who drink kind of a lot(maybe 10-20%), people who used to drink a lot and now only do occasionally or at a much lower level(60-70%), and people who just don't. Either they only do on special occasions and only have one or two, or just don't at all.

I could apply the exact same metric to weed and other drugs. It would be pretty much exactly the same ratio.

The people who don't, don't get shit for it. They also tend to date other people who don't.

There's plenty of people out there with similar preferences to you, and anyone who isn't an asshole won't have much of a real opinion on it. Similarly to the people who don't drink and moralize/cluck at people who do, the people who give you cmon-bro shit for not drinking or say this is a ridiculous requirement are just buttheads.

Let them butthead. You're fine. It's very similar to the militant asses on both sides of the veg* debate.

I also threw in and pretty much entirely backspaced a bit similar to what klang says that you do come off as a bit of a hardhead about this in some ways, but once again, you will find plenty of likeminded company. A former good friend who drifted away due to distance has had maybe 2 beers in his entire life, and had a huge group of friends who were exactly the same way. They all had no problem finding people to date who had a similar opinion/stance on this sort of stuff.

Additionally, i think mefi skews a bit towards being a group of people who generally do partake, and who have almost entirely like minded friends.

I drink a bit of red wine once in a while when I write my stories or play piano, but beyond that I don't do anything that intoxicates or influences me. I don't even drink coffee. I wouldn't have picked up red wine in the first place if it wasn't for the "good for the heart" reputation.

Pretty much perfectly describes one of my exes. And once again, she had many like-minded friends and seems to have had no trouble finding people on the same page to date.

But jeeze, did it sure feel weird to write a "nah, that's within the spectrum of not that odd" as someone who is like... the kind of guy you'd describe being not interested in.
posted by emptythought at 3:02 AM on May 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

It's fine to not date whom you don't want to date. In my dating years, I wouldn't step out with anyone who had a speech impediment. Just couldn't go there.
It's another thing, however, to refuse to *hire* people who indulge in the things you list. That would be egregious. But, that's not the case here.
Just don't make any big, righteous statements about your standards. That might tip you over into the "holier than thou" category, and you don't want that.
P.S. Reefer is good for aching joints at the end of a long day. Err, so they tell me.
posted by BostonTerrier at 6:29 AM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's judgmental but totally appropriate. Don't let people get you down - I'm getting a weird peer-pressure vibe from some of these responses. How is it not judgmental to come down on someone for not smoking pot?

I broke it off with a guy in the casual-get-to-know you phase (for a few reasons but one was) because he told me he was high every time we got together. Fine, whatever, smoke a blunt whenever, but for me and what I've been through by this point, I want to make sure that the person I'm getting to know is the genuine article and their authentic self. It's not fair otherwise, because what will you do if it works out?

Anyway, he took me to task a little harshly; he called me judgmental, close-minded and prudish. I don't think I'm any of these things, it's a matter of (finally!) becoming assertive about what I want to get out of dating interactions. It sounds like you're probably quite a bit younger than me, so keep it up, don't wait for a string of shitty relationships to start narrowing down the problematic factors.

So have your boundaries. I don't think these are bad boundaries to have - some people only want to date other people who are 15 years younger, or make over six figures, or are over six feet tall. Someday, you may find that the pool of eligible people is dwindling and revisit your feelings about pot and drinking, or you may not need to because the pool of your peers will grow out of these things.

There are totally people out there who don't drink, smoke or do drugs. My sister married one; he's not a dick about it and doesn't seem to think less of people who do. I've got a good friend closing in on 40 who's never had a cigarette or more than probably five drinks in his life. We manage to get on well together, even though I have a different lifestyle (though mind you, we aren't dating). He doesn't judge me for smoking; I don't judge him for not smoking. You'll find them, don't back down from what you want.
posted by mibo at 6:36 AM on May 9, 2015 [7 favorites]

Am I being too harsh?

No, not exactly. As a former heavyweight consumer of THE DRUGS, I can see how unappealing I probably appeared to many potential partners. (Or maybe that was due to the not bathing much?)

However, I would posit that you are being too uninformed. It's not a problem to have particular minimum standards in terms of who you find attractive, as most here seem to agree (although I find myself idly pondering when that easy agreement might fall apart... Hair color? Religion? Income level? Etc.). But what's bugging me, personally, is that you don't seem to have a very concrete understanding of the thing -- substance use -- that turns you off. It just feels like you strongly oppose a thing, but you don't really grok what that thing is. And, I think most MeFolk would generally be uncomfortable with that.

The reason that informed distinctions matter is that, yeah, you have a right to be averse to someone who uses chronically and therefore puts themselves -- and you -- at risk of injury or legal sanction, or who is therefore not capable of being in the same mental space as you are. However, being averse to someone who consumes say, marijuana, in the same sense that you consume red wine? Well, that kind of just makes you a hypocrite. On its face, it sounds reasonable to state, "I don't date people who speed excessively," but this ignores the fact that some people drive very well at high speeds, some are reckless, and that you yourself texted that statement while driving. Does that make sense? I'm not saying you can't have your standards, just that it's always valuable to understand -- and be able to defend -- those standards.

I once briefly dated someone who was a big fan of Ayn Rand's books. This raised huge red flags for me, because I find Objectivism to be repellant. I felt okay with putting that in the potential deal-breaker category, because I've looked into why I find Objectivism to be repellent. I wouldn't have felt "right" about putting her reading choices in that category if I'd just gleaned from facebook that Objectivism was omg-scary-and-evil.
posted by credible hulk at 6:47 AM on May 9, 2015 [18 favorites]

You want what you want and it's legit to enforce that boundary. I say this as someone who would be (and has) excluded by such a filter.

However, as others have mentioned up thread, you seem somewhat naive or vague about the social realities of mind altering substance use. This will make it difficult to articulate your boundary to others in a non-confusing way. Your discussion of boozing in particular leaves me completely unclear as to what would be OK or not in a romantic target.
posted by PMdixon at 6:53 AM on May 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

On review, I see that mibo has (errr) articulated the value of being able to articulate objections much more articulately than I have.
posted by credible hulk at 6:54 AM on May 9, 2015

Eh, date or don't date whoever you want, just be aware that it limits your opportunities. Probably limits them to church communities only in this day and age, really. I don't know if you're into church or wanting to bring church folk around your drug-doing friends, though.

I am pretty well straight most of the time--heck, i don't even drink coffee and I drink a little booze--but I had to learn some tolerance once I got into college and a less sheltered lifestyle. I may not have interest in smoking pot myself, but most people try it (or even worse things) and end up being perfectly fine--hell, I knew someone who smoked it every day for eight years, then got bored of it and quit spontaneously and had no effects. What else does that? Just because someone tries it once in a while doesn't mean they're an addict or completely terrible at having a relationship. By all means, avoid addicts--but the occasional indulger, in my experience, has been fine and hasn't been the terrible thing I would have supposed.

But again, that's up to you. If you are 100% No Tolerance, then that's what you are. Just make sure you only date in communities where that's okay, not among your friends, I suppose.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:28 AM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Of course it's okay not to date people whose use of substances differs from your own. (AskMe may not have been the best group to ask about this, honestly.). There are plenty of people who have that standard, including non-religious people.

I have friends who drink. That's fine. I don't. No issues there. They enjoy it, they're awesome people, so whatever. But a romantic partner? Let's just say: you say you drink on occasion, so I wouldn't date you.

It's GOOD to have standards on dating. And something that's important to you, why wouldn't you want a partner who shares your beliefs?
posted by lysimache at 7:46 AM on May 9, 2015

It occurs to me that if you really insist on "no drinkers," you may wind up attracting people who won't accept YOUR limited drinking! I think if you do drink a small amount of alcohol, you really need to sit down and figure out what your limits really are, because what you initially said you want in a partner - "no drinking" - doesn't actually reflect your own practices. And the fact that you think of having some wine sometimes as "basically not drinking" makes me think you associate "drinking" with "getting drunk." If you don't want someone who gets drunk, that's very different than someone who doesn't drink at all.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:09 AM on May 9, 2015 [12 favorites]

You're not a resource that everyone deserves "fair" access to. You have no obligation to relax your standards, and you've gotten a lot of answers to that effect.

I think it's worth considering where this distaste is coming from, though -- if only because being turned off by anyone who uses intoxicants on an infrequent basis is going to severely limit your options.

Just because you have the right to your standards doesn't mean that these standards always come from a healthy, non-judgmental place. I mean, you say:
I just feel like the type of person to pick up a habit is probably not someone whose personality I would be attracted to
What kind of personality do you think people who occasionally drink or smoke pot have? You say that you don't think you're judgmental because you're okay when your friends do, but you also assume that people who do must be personally incompatible with you, and that you wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole. And you view their drug use as different than yours:

(I can tell you right now that of all of the things that might be meaningful indicators of personality, "likes to go out for a drink" is pretty low.)
I drink a bit of red wine once in a while when I write my stories or play piano, but beyond that I don't do anything that intoxicates or influences me.
As someone else pointed out, the contrast between how you perceive your own drinking and how you perceive others' use of intoxicants is pretty striking. You don't have to drink to write stories or play, but you probably find some personal enjoyment in it. From the outside, it looks like you're justifying your use of red wine.

So what's going on here? The thing is, what your attracted to--and what you're not--is affected by your attitudes. You have the right to be picky. You have the right to be so picky that you never date anyone. But despite how much you insist you're not judgmental, I do think that the way you talk about this betrays that you are, in fact, judgmental of people who use intoxicants. And yes, more than a little prudish. It really might be worth thinking about this, and attempting to see past people's use of intoxicants to who they really are. I'm not saying to date them--I don't think you should--but to see if you can change the way you think about people.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:11 AM on May 9, 2015 [5 favorites]

As someone who doesn't smoke, do any drugs and drinks only socially Which usually amounts to a 1-2 drinks every 2-3 months, I totally see where you're coming from. I wouldn't have a problem with hobby beer drinkers but weed and other drugs are definite no for me.

I don't think it makes you judgemental because dating is inherently judgemental and meant to be that way. Some people may view casual sex rather lightly and for others it may be a turn off. As for everyone who says that your judging people's morals I think an important part of dating is finding someone's who's moral values match yours.

Will it limit your choices? Probably but not as much as you may think. Neither my boyfriend or I smoke, drink or do drugs and neither of us is especially religious and we're both in our 20s. I honestly don't think you'll have as much trouble finding a partner with these traits as it some suggest.

The only thing I'll suggest us that you give yourself a better chance to learn about people. Not necessarily to date them but just give them the benefit of the doubt personality wise.

Lastly, birds of a feather flock together. If you want partners who don't drink and smoke alot you may want to hang out with people who don't either. Don't ditch your currents friends but there's nothing wrong with expanding your circle.
posted by CosmicSeeker42 at 9:27 AM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I thought it was pretty clear I am coming from the "am I being hypocritical" angle with the red wine thing. Yes I do think there is a big difference between getting a little buzzed versus being drunk or seeing hallucinations. But it's still being under influence and can someone who "sinned" a little still cast a stone at someone else? That's where I felt like maybe I shouldn't be so focused on it. I am not Mormon.

"Even your update is sort of murky: "frequent like daily, weekly, once a month" - there's a considerable difference between a couple drinks a month and a couple drinks a day."

oh the frequency was to cover everything, not just alcohol. I didn't state what my boundaries were for each category of substance (I don't think it matters for this question). Everyone seems to zoom into the drinking bit, but I actually started the question more with pot/drugs in mind and added alcohol/smoking because they alter the mind too. My preference is reflexive, but I think the underlying reason is because people who go for certain stuff tend to be different from what I want in a partner. For example, people who do drugs are often extroverted and party a lot (I mean who does ecstasy or LSD alone in their room), and I am not like that nor can keep up with that. It's a real turn off, I feel like they won't have time for me and they'll think I am boring because I don't hang out in the same groups they do. People who do pot often had worldview and hobbies I have no interest in. This is from what I've seen. It's also a turn off seeing people on pot/LSD look wasted or talk about the hallucinations they're seeing. It's entertaining, but not attractive. These are my friends but that's different than being in a relationship where you invest a lot of time and attention on someone. I dated people who drink and smoke, but not habitually. It wasn't something they craved or purposefully seek out to the point that it detracted from the relationship. They also didn't act funny. Tbh I haven't really thought about this until my friend introduced me to this guy.

I doubt I'll have trouble finding someone I like (as some of you suggest). I decided not to pursue the guy my friend introduced. I already talked to him a bit before my friend told me he does pot. I felt like we weren't a good match anyway, but knowing that he did LSD with her did paint a picture in my head of what he's like. If we connected better I feel like I would've given him a chance.
posted by Sades at 9:52 AM on May 9, 2015

I think many zoomed in on the drinking because that is the one that is going to get the most blowback, because drinking is more common. It won't be as much of a limiting factor if you are fine with casual/occasional users and mostly get turned off from regular/hobbyists. And, as many have said, it's good that you're recognizing/thinking about this sort of thing and trying to understand what your boundaries and deal breakers are.

Though different people will draw that line in a different place (few people consider themselves problem drinkers/potheads/etc.) And people will have different reasons for wanting to use different substances. And sure, there are plenty of people who take ecstasy, LSD, what have you alone, at home, and/or in small groups. Generalizations can be useful but actual people are also generally more interesting than that.

You don't have to want to date any of these people, of course.
posted by mountmccabe at 10:26 AM on May 9, 2015

It's bizarre the way you assume that someone who drinks or does drugs automatically has all these other attributes, such as extroversion, partying etc. Why don't you just assess those traits on their own on a case by case basis?

I think your assumptions aren't even especially good as generalizations. For example, who does LSD alone in their room? Lots of people. After someone has tripped with a guide a few times and has a good handle on how they react, it is often very illuminating to trip on one's own. I've known many people who trip alone in their room listening to music. I've done shrooms quite a few times on my own and generally get more out of it than I do when distracted by others. I am extreeeeeemely introverted and a total non-partyer.

As several others have said, you come off as quite hypocritical for rationalizing your wine use while judging others for their particular scenarios. You also come off as ignorant about the very things you are judging. I think it would behoove you to pry your mind open just a tad. Not suggesting you date addicts, but try getting to know some people who are light users instead of automatically demonizing them.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 2:30 PM on May 9, 2015 [10 favorites]

Yes, but it doesn't matter. Shit, some people have pretty strict racial preferences for who they date. This is just how things work. Are you probably missing out on some great people? Yes. Does it matter much if you eventually find someone great who also fits your specifications? Nope.

That said, are you religious? If these are due to personal, non-religious convictions AND you would prefer not to date someone religious, you are really going to have a tough time in the dating world. This is not to influence you to change your opinion whatsoever but your rationale for drinking red wine is just as arbitrarily harmless as someone who has coffee in the morning or has a blunt every now and then to relax. If you're aware of this and it's just your own preference, then just proceed. You have a right to be judgmental here; better than trying to change someone else's habits after you start dating them.
posted by hejrat at 2:53 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

"For example, people who do drugs are often extroverted and party a lot (I mean who does ecstasy or LSD alone in their room), and I am not like that nor can keep up with that. It's a real turn off, I feel like they won't have time for me and they'll think I am boring because I don't hang out in the same groups they do."

Again, not so much hypocritical as ignorant. Lots of people have done LSD alone in their rooms (hi), and MDMA first reached (legal) popularity as a therapy drug. Both LSD and MDMA have serious clinical psychological applications, from helping people deal with PTSD to anxiety and depression. LSD has a substantial body of literature as a treatment for addiction, specifically alcoholism. I've done both and I don't think of them as particularly "light" drugs if you're doing them right — they're powerful psychotropics that happen to not have a lot of documented longterm deleterious effects, and you should be willing to set aside eight to 12 hours for an intense experience if you try them.

It sounds like you're getting a lot of mixed messages about signifiers and what's signified. Some people will talk about drug use as a way to signify hedonic, extroverted preferences, but that doesn't mean that's caused by drug use. (Similarly, the old saw about the difference between 'drinking stories,' which are fun, and 'stories about drinking,' which are dull as hell.)

You sound really young and naive, and part of getting older is figuring out stuff like whether you don't like extroverts because they don't give you enough space to be introverted or because you're feeling insecure about "keeping up" and people thinking that you're boring. Drugs can be a signal, but they're not a strong signal here and it's almost always better to figure out what it is you specifically don't like (e.g. feeling pressured to party) rather than trying to play whack-a-mole with a whole bunch of prejudiced assumptions that may or may not lead to avoiding the things you don't like.
posted by klangklangston at 3:24 PM on May 9, 2015 [6 favorites]

Chances are pretty good that you know a lot of responsible, normal people who smoke pot and just don't talk about it all the time. I've smoked pot every day for a decade, and most people are outright surprised when they learn that about me. I don't drink ever, because I find alcohol to be much more mind altering than "doing" pot ever has been. As others have said up thread, you're allowed to be judgmental about who you date, but your criteria may be based on the wrong factors. People are multifaceted, and someone who smokes pot doesn't necessarily also lack motivation, intelligence, or any other quality you may be interested in. However, this attitude of yours will likely remove people you don't approve of anyway, because you do sound quite prudish. I mean, you're saying you drink because it's good for your heart, but other drugs besides alcohol also have health benefits. And extroversion and drug use don't really go hand in hand in the way you seem to think they do.

Basically, you're entitled to your opinions and should date who you want to, but you may want to recalibrate your scale to be based on actual facts instead of "pot smokers are bad because they're extroverted drug addicts with a specific worldview" or whatever other misconceptions you may hold.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 3:59 PM on May 9, 2015 [6 favorites]

This is so normal. No, you are not a judgmental asshole. The standard of how you judge someone as a person vs. how to judge someone as a potential mate is totally different. I wouldn't date someone who is a current drug user either, even just pot. Sorry, but it hasn't been my bag since college and I've moved on from that stage in my life. If someone wants to do it, more power to them -- I have absolutely no problem with it and I fully support legalization, etc. -- but they probably aren't the right person for me to build my life with either. I would stop being so oversensitive about this -- I know people who have rejected large groups of people as mates for far dumber reasons.
posted by AppleTurnover at 4:08 PM on May 9, 2015

I think some of the commenters here are taking this too personally. The world is such a big place that I don't think there's anything terribly wrong with setting arbitrary limits on who you date, even if those limits only make sense to you. Whether or not it makes you a hypocrite is another matter. But almost everybody is a hypocrite – calling someone a hypocrite is almost always hypocritical. And it's not like you're going around campaigning against alcohol while secretly indulging in wine, this is simply a preference in who you socialize with in a certain context.

I've known a couple people who died from drug overdoses so I know I could never have any kind of intimate relationship with someone who even casually touches heroin, cocaine, pills, etc. It's triggering for me and I just can't deal with it, and if I ever want an intimate relationship with someone I will let them know this about me. If other people want to use these drugs, I can't stop them, that's their choice. But I can set boundaries on how much intimacy I allow with people based on their behavior.

If I were looking to date my personal preference would be to date someone who doesn't smoke (at all), does not use any drugs (pot included), and either never drinks or drinks very rarely (as you describe yourself). So yes, we do exist, though as another poster pointed out it is pretty rare in our culture. So what? Like I said, it's a big world. Even if your dating pool is only 1% of single people, that's still millions of people.
posted by deathpanels at 4:40 PM on May 9, 2015 [4 favorites]

My view is you ALWAYS get to decide who you date, period. If your standards make your dating pool too small, you'll eventually figure that out and either decide you're fine with being single for a while while waiting on 'the one' or you'll relax your standards. It's not like you set up your preferences now and you're never allowed to update in the future based on new information!

I do not think it is weird or hypocritical to have different standards for dating vs. friends. I think almost everyone has some friends who they would never date in a million years, simply because they are compatible as friends but not compatible romantically. (For example, lots of my friends are women and coworkers...this doesn't mean I want to date women or coworkers, or that I am hypocritical for being attracted to men and not wanting to date people at the office.)
posted by rainbowbrite at 4:53 PM on May 9, 2015

I think some of the commenters here are taking this too personally.

Just want to point out that my response is from someone who doesn't drink often, and who avoids getting drunk when she does. I also do not use any other intoxicants.

It's not a response that's motivated by "taking it personally"; it's just an honest assessment of what I see in the OP's question. I do think that the OP is being judgmental, and the reason I think so is that she has made some unwarranted assumptions about people who take intoxicants.

She has the right to be judgmental in who she dates. But whether she has the right to be judgmental isn't the only aspect of the question. Whether she ever changes her standards for who she dates (and she shouldn't unless it's something that naturally happens), I think it's worthwhile for her to examine her attitudes about people who use intoxicants, which may be subconscious (but seem to be peeking out a bit).
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 8:53 PM on May 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

A habit of drinking alone/to support one's creativity (writing, music) is objectively much more problematic than a habit of drinking socially from time to time.

Black and white thinking is also problematic.

Nothing wrong with being judgmental, we all are, but it may be worth some self-reflection to see whether this isn't just a way to justify not getting involved with anyone at all.
posted by headnsouth at 2:57 AM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Not wanting to date partiers or habitual inebriates is perfectly reasonable. But not all people who drink or smoke are those things, you know. One of the lovely things about a nice cocktail is that it helps introverts like me feel a bit more at ease. I don't think you can handily describe people who do or don't smoke or drink or take psychedelics as introverted or extroverted based on that alone. That's what's judgmental- making assumptions about people based on extremely limited and/or faulty information. It absolutely doesn't follow that "For example, people who do drugs are often extroverted and party a lot (I mean who does ecstasy or LSD alone in their room)"- that's a judgment, and it's not even correct. However, saying "I prefer not to date people who party a lot" is not judgmental, it's just how you feel. I'm not into partiers either, I'm an introvert, and I enjoy researching and mixing cocktails and have a whole bar full of booze. You might not want to date someone who does that sort of thing, and that's fine, but ascribing behaviors to someone based on whether or not they enjoy alcohol is nonsensical.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:34 PM on May 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

I'm like you in that I don't really have great success dating hugely extroverted partiers. I have also found that those that mention party drugs in the first dates tend to be those people. I use that, then, as a contributing indicator, not a black-and-white deal breaker. Same thing with people for whom music is their whole whole life - I don't do great doing those people, and certain things that describe those people (a social life that primarily revolves around concerts, for instance) ends up being an indicator for me. I still wouldn't call either deal breakers, because I'm sure there are people who do either with whom I could have a great relationship, but I will notice it when evaluating a date. I don't think this makes me a bad person, but sure, it's judgmental.

However, I wouldn't really pay great attention to someone who did that in the past (especially in college! Aren't many peoples' drug use/drinking habits in college fairly disconnected from those of their adult selves?). My current boyfriend used to smoke but quit well before I met him. It doesn't impact our relationship. How could it?

Like others have said, drinking socially is pretty typical and not always indicative of seeking mind-altering substances. Ruling out someone who goes to a weekly wine-and-Italian conversation group and is otherwise a great match for you may or may not be what you want, but it's a risk.
posted by R a c h e l at 4:27 PM on May 10, 2015

You are absolutely allowed to date whoever wants to date you and not date whoever wants to date you for any reason, full stop. But a problem with your thinking is that it seems that you are making assumptions about people based on their alcohol/drug use that may lead you to rule out potential partners who would otherwise be a good fit for you. Again, to be clear, you are allowed to do that but if you're single in five years and wondering why, that could be a reason.

For example, you said that you don't want to go out with people who use LSD or MDMA because they're the type to go to clubs and that's not your thing. That's like if I said, I don't want to go out with people from Texas because they're all about country music and line dancing and I don't think that sounds like fun. I am 110% within my right to say, sorry, people from Texas, it's a no go, but there are definitely some people from Texas who don't care for country music who I am eliminating from the pool of potential partners. I am the sort to say, well, he said he doesn't like country music or he offered to teach me how to line dance, I'll give it a shot. If you're not that kind of person, that's okay. I have FOMO. If you don't, more power to you.

I will just add that I used to think that I would never drink or party at all. I knew people in high school who drank regularly and didn't like them so I wasn't interested. Then, freshman year of college, I found out that I liked to drink and party sometimes. More importantly, I learned to be okay with others who liked to drink and party. I developed more empathy toward those who like to drink and party while maintaining empathy for people like you who aren't interested in that life. I don't think you have to drink and party to develop empathy for people who do but I do think that empathy generally is a good thing. So maybe you should think about that before determining exactly how many drinks per month is tolerable in a potential partner.
posted by kat518 at 9:25 PM on May 11, 2015

It doesn't make you a bad person if you don't want to be around people who use drugs.
posted by NatalieWood at 2:12 AM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't drink, use drugs, own a television, or subscribe to the political views of most people I know.

Now I am dating someone who shares all of these traits, and it is FREAKING AWESOME. We met online; we could tell by each other's profile that the match looked very, very promising right off the bat.

Don't settle!
posted by Guinevere at 9:32 AM on May 13, 2015

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