Oftentimes when offered a drink we find ourselves in that uncomfortable quandary. Is it nice to accept? Or is it polite to refuse?

A number of worries could pervade our brains at that instant and an incredible amount of mathematical calculus and probability theory is sub-consciously brought into play. Does acceptance mean incurring an obligation to return the favour? Will refusal be viewed negatively by the original offeror?

Here is the theory that is meant to placate those restless minds once and for all...

When offered a drink always accept because:
  • either the offeror genuinely meant to offer a drink and therefore you are reciprocating his or her kindness by accepting. (i.e. you accept for his or her pleasure and not to fulfill your innate need to drink)
  • or the offeror just offered out of convention and does not really wish you to accept. In which case, might as well accept the drink and pay the _________ (insert gender-appropriate denigratory term here) back.

WARNING: This theory does not apply when the person offering a drink is a shady character or complete stranger. In this case it is advisable to refuse the drink. See spiked drinks.

Credit goes to anthropod for pointing out the inevitable exception to the rule.

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