It has been a couple of months since Dry January came to an end, so when you kindly refuse a drink on a first date, the first thing you’ll probably get asked is “Why?”. However, sober daters should not be nervous about turning down alcoholic beverages, as ‘dry dating’ is a concept that is growing in popularity these days.
Dating app Bumble recently revealed to BBC Worklife that 34 per cent of users said they were more likely to go on a sober date than prior to the pandemic.
Nearly two-thirds of these claimed they would do so to “form a more genuine connection” with their date, and over half (54 per cent) stated they wanted a more “mindful and intentional” dating experience.
The pandemic certainly forced lots of people to look more closely at their health, wellbeing, lifestyle and habits, with many turning their back on booze or at least reducing how much they drank. Therefore, there are likely to be more people consciously drinking less on dates than previously.
While many singletons might have thought they needed some ‘Dutch courage’ from alcohol to get past their nervousness and boost their confidence, lots have come to realise they are their best versions of themselves without a drink.
Tawny Lara, 36, dispelled the myth that people need booze for a better sex life, saying: “We think we need liquid courage to have fun sex or be adventurous in bed, but it’s really hindering our ability to feel our feelings and … physical touch.”
Stepping into the world of ‘dry dating’ can be difficult at the beginning, particularly if you are used to meeting someone for the first time in a pub or bar.
Dating coach Russ Ross at The Social Collective in Sydney, Australia, noted that lockdown restrictions during the pandemic already started changing the face of traditional dates, as singles could only meet up with people on walks.
One of the many benefits of dating sober, he stated, was the fact that it has “shifted our outlook from a culture of disposable dates and regrettably drunk ‘hook-ups’ to one of potential connection”.
Dru Jaeger, co-founder of Club Soda and author of How To Be A Mindful Drinker, wrote an article in The Guardian about his experience sober dating.
He explained he had to change the location of his first dates to take himself out of the social drinking scene and engage in activities that he now enjoyed.
“I was camouflaging this huge change in my behaviour and life by trying to keep up with their drinking pace with non-alcoholic beers. But I was not enjoying myself at all,” Dru wrote.
He instead went on dog walks, explored food festivals and farmers’ markets, went to new restaurants, and watched sports tournaments with his dates, saying: “I took some time off [dating] to own the fact I am a non-drinker and that I don’t want dates that primarily revolve around cocktails.”
These days, dating apps make it easier to showcase yourself as a sober dater, with the likes of Bumble allowing you to put a badge on your profile to say you don’t drink, helping you to avoid an awkward conversation on an already potentially awkward date.
Take a look at our range of alcohol-free beer here.