Dry Dating Is On the Rise, Here’s Why You Should Try It

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At 25, the mere notion of hanging out with a total stranger all evening, deprived of any alcohol whatsoever, seemed entirely unfathomable – and laughable. But it seems the joke was on me because, thanks to an escalation in my problematic drunken behaviour, I was forced to re-evaluate my relationship with alcohol not long after. At 26, I found myself both sober and single.

Although pre-sobriety me couldn’t have imagined anything worse than sober dating, I’m now a pretty big fan and I’m not the only one. According to a new survey by Tinder on dating trends, more singles than ever are raising a glass to sober dates. The swipe-based dating app recently revealed that 25 percent of surveyed young singles on the platform said they drink less on dates compared with last year and, when describing their drinking habits, 72 percent of members stated that they don’t drink or only drink occasionally on their profiles. Hilariously, the data also analysed emoji-use and it’s bad news for the beer and wine emojis which both decreased (40 percent and 25 percent respectively) on profiles.

It’s not overly surprising to me. It’s been nearly five years since I last imbibed and there has been a significant shift in reactions from potential suitors when I tell them I don’t drink. The once predictable “how boring” started to turn into a surprising “oh cool, I’m trying to cut down, too” and the number of lads who have volunteered to join me in not drinking for the evening has only increased. I’ve even met someone – who also doesn’t drink!

“Alcohol-free dates have become a way for singles to be more authentic and challenge traditional dating norms”

Tinder commented on the survey results saying, “Alcohol-free dates have become a way for singles to be more authentic on dates and challenge traditional dating norms”, which totally rings true for me. Without alcohol, not only was I able to be myself but I actually grew in confidence. Whereas before, my courage came purely in liquid form, removing alcohol from the equation allowed me to grow an innate confidence of my own. One that actually stuck with me.

Not drinking on dates also allowed me to asses if I actually had a connection with someone or if just fancied them because I’d inhaled vast quantities of gin. Plus, it also helped me to see any red flags (or beige flags) early that I might not have spotted with a booze brain. Most importantly, not drinking on dates meant that if someone wanted a second date, I knew they actually liked me, for me. I’ll cheers to that.

5 Tips for Sober Dating

  • Meet a friend beforehand

If you find yourself nervously spiralling before dates, arrange to meet a friend beforehand. Not only does it get you primed and prepped for conversation but we all know that they’ll hype you up no end, giving you an instant pre-date boost.

  • Think of some failsafe convo topics

This might seem like dating 101 but without a little lubrication, you might start to panic if
the conversation isn’t flowing so, having a few topics in mind can really help. If all else fails, come up with a few “would you rather?” questions. Feet for hands or hands for feet?

  • Tell them you’re not drinking before you get to the date

Whilst this is obviously a personal preference, I find sober dating much smoother-sailing when I let the other person know I won’t be drinking beforehand. It really is unlikely they will cancel but on the off-chance they are a complete butthead, at least they’ll reveal that early on, rather than being weird about it on the date. It also means you won’t be stressing immediately before you arrive about how they’re going to react when you tell them because, this way, they already know.

  • Suggest an activity

If you’re worried about things being awkward sans booze, suggest an activity date. From mini golf to Flight Club, there’s loads of interactive date ideas out there. Not only is it an opportunity to get creative but it’s instantly easier to make conversation about the activity
you’re both taking part in, taking some of the pressure off.

  • Research a place with good options

Not drinking doesn’t mean you need to be confined to a pint of warm Diet Coke, there are plenty of bars that serve amazing alcohol-free beers, cocktails, and spirits. Research some great places beforehand or, if your date is doing the organising, just politely explain you’d really love somewhere with good non-alcoholic options.

Millie Gooch is the founder of Sober Girl Society and non-alcoholic online store, Sippers

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