When we think of plans for a first date, the activities that come to mind are ‘dinner and a movie’ or ‘grabbing a drink’. Going out for a drink is, in fact, considered to be the default for modern dates, as it offers the perfect mix of intimate and casual settings. Besides this, if you want to quit the date early, there is no pressure of staying around after a round of drinks. However, many individuals, especially millennials and Gen Zers, have started re-evaluating their relationship with alcohol these days.
According to the Sobriety Shift report, moderation has become quite popular among many young consumers. The report further stated that many millennials (21 years and older) are drinking only once a week, and sometimes not at all.
In such a situation, it has become important to explore other forms of dating. This led to the emergence of a new trend of ‘dry dating’. The concept of dry dating is slowly gaining momentum among singles. However, for many, it is a relatively new trend, and the thought of it, at first, makes one feel a bit uneasy. Gulping down some liquid courage before, during, or after a date often helps in releasing some of the anxiety that accompanies first dates. However, going sober (for health or financial reasons) on dates can actually come with many benefits.
But the question remains – how do we navigate the dating landscape while remaining sober?
In this article, we’ll help you with some ideas and tips that will allow you to navigate the world of dry dating. But before we get to that, let’s look at what is meant by dry dating.
What is Dry Dating?
Dry dating, as the name suggests, is the concept of dating while being completely sober. It is a great option for people who choose not to drink. But who exactly are these people that are spearheading the dry dating trend? Bumble conducted a survey recently, in which it was found that one in five people have decided not to drink on dates anymore. The research also showed that almost 62% of the people believe that dating without alcohol will allow them to form deeper connections with others.
The benefits of dry dating are fairly obvious, the biggest one being that it allows you to be yourself. You can have a meaningful conversation and connect with the other person more intimately. It will make you more confident in your dating decisions, as your judgment wouldn’t be clouded by an alcoholic haze. Besides this, you also benefit from enhanced energy levels, mental clarity, and of course, a glowing complexion if you decide to go for a sober date.
What’s better is that it allows one to explore more unique ideas for dates. Instead of going for run-off-the-mill basic dates, you can go for hiking, painting classes, or you can even visit a sober bar that serves non-alcoholic beers and other drinks. The dating landscape has also changed to accommodate this new trend. Many online dating apps are making it easier to connect with other sober people.
How to connect with other sober (curious) people?
For testing out the dry dating scene, you would first need to find like-minded people. Here are some ways to connect with other sober (curious) people –
1. Through dating apps
As we’ve already stated, there are many dating apps that allow people to connect with other sober and sober curious people. Hinge and Bumble have features that show whether drinking is one of the preferences of the other person. The advantage of dating apps is that they make it easier to find people with similar lifestyles.
2. Through classes
It’s always a good idea to explore some new hobbies, and joining a new class can be a great way to rediscover yourself. If you can meet some like-minded individuals in the process then it’s an added bonus. Finding someone in a class allows you to gauge them for a few weeks. Besides, there is no pressure of connecting with them immediately.
3. Ask your family and friends
Your family and friends can help you find some like-minded people too, so it’s not a bad idea to lean on them for finding someone. Let them know that you are interested in dry dating and open to meeting new people. Make sure to specify the kind of person you’re looking for, and what qualities you look for in people. Your family and friends always look out for you and will ensure to connect you with the right people.
4. Speed dating events and matchmakers
It’s not a bad idea to connect with some local matchmakers when you’re looking to try out sober dating. Many times, these matchmakers can get you into exclusive events and other socializing opportunities. The world of speed dating has evolved significantly too. It is no longer limited to men-seeking-women or women-seeking-men. Several speed dating events are designed for queer individuals too, creatives, and nontraditional people too. Events and socializing opportunities like these open up new doors to meeting like-minded individuals.
5. Venture out into the world and look for people yourself
It might sound a little challenging, but by venturing out into the world you can come across some great people and like-minded individuals. The key is to keep your phone away and be more grounded in the situation. Think about walking more, taking public transportation, and giving yourself more opportunities to come across new people. Everyone you encounter in your daily life can be a potential friend or a mate, so it’s not such a bad idea to find someone to date this way.
Date Ideas That Don’t Involve Alcohol
Before you set out for dry dating, it’s good practice to research some date ideas that are not centered on alcohol. Luckily, for you, we’ve compiled a list of some great date ideas that can help you get started –
1. Comedy Show Night
Many people have problems steering the conversation in the right direction and find that it gets stoic very easily. They end up talking about work, self-care, laundry, and such. What they need is an activity that sets them off on the right path. Going for a comedy show can be a great idea for a date night activity. It will allow you and your date to have a good laugh, and will also break the ice if you’re meeting for the first time. Besides this, the rush of endorphins after the show will set you off on the right path to plan the rest of the evening.
2. Sober dance party
Who says going out for dancing is not possible without alcohol? There are many sober clubs and bars cropping up these days that allow people to have the same experience without the booze. These bars often serve small bites and non-alcoholic beverages like the one you’ll find on Better Rhodes. Dancing can be a great way to connect with someone new, and it will allow you to gauge the chemistry too.
3. Enjoy a decadent dessert with someone
The reason why many people prefer going out for drinks is because there is no pressure of staying after the drinks if you don’t feel like you’re clicking together. For sober (curious) people too, the options for these kinds of dates are not limited. One date idea that can offer a similar advantage is going out for a dessert. It could be a casual date at a fro-yo or an ice cream parlor, or you can even consider going to a popular restaurant just to sample their desserts. Getting to know someone over a dessert can be a great idea to start off in the world of dry dating.
4. Consider an outdoor date to get your endorphins pumping
When you’ve decided to venture out into the world of dry dating, it can open up a world of inventive date ideas. Hiking is probably something most of us enjoy, but the plans are often set aside when there is drinking involved. If you’re thinking of sober dating, this can be the perfect opportunity to go for a hike with someone. Hiking can give you a different kind of high and get your adrenaline pumping. It can be a romantic and magical experience to take in the views of a scenic location. However, if you’re planning for an advanced hike, make sure that you plan it past the third date. You can still venture out in the great outdoors even if you’re not interested in a hike. Think of going to the botanical gardens, picnicking in a park, or an outdoor film screening.
5. Amusement park date
Amusement park dates are always a fun idea, and they’re especially great for breaking the ice. They present a lot in terms of activities, and what’s better is that all of them allow you to enjoy yourself while being sober. You can go on rollercoaster rides, enjoy delicious food and also get cheesy photos taken with your date.
6. Explore the local farmer’s market
Going to a farmer’s market can be a great option for a first date. You can grab some coffee with your date, and then explore the farmer’s market and even buy produce for yourself in the process. If your date goes well, you can plan some other ideas to follow up with the farmer’s market visit. A great idea for a follow-up date after a visit to the farmer’s market is going home to cook a meal together with the produce you got from the market.
7. Go for fun sports like ping-pong and mini-golf
You do not need to have a sports gene to enjoy fun sports like mini-golf, bowling, rollerblading, and ping pong. All these activities can be great for planning a date. You can even go to an arcade to show off your skills and engage in some competition with your date.
How to Navigate Dry Dating?
Now that you know some great date ideas and also the knowledge of finding new people, the next part is actually hashing out a plan that doesn’t involve drinking. If you’re just starting out in the world of dry dating, the thought can seem a little daunting. Here are some tips for navigating the landscape of dry dating –
1. Take control of the situation
Before you start out with dry dating, you first need to discuss this over with the person you’re planning to go on a date with. It’s important to take control of the situation and choose some date ideas that don’t revolve around drinking alcohol. We’ve already provided some great date ideas in the previous section.
2. Calm your nerves in other ways
Many of us prefer to down some alcohol before a date to calm our nerves. However, there are many other ways to feel at ease before a date. Try stretches, journaling, breathing exercising, or micro-meditation. You can also chat with a friend before going out to settle your nerves.
3. Do some research about the place you’re going to
If it is your date who has chosen the location, always make sure to research the place before you set out. This will allow you to explore some sober-friendly options in the place, whether it is a restaurant or a bar. However, if you don’t feel comfortable with their suggestion, you can always counter with your own date idea.
4. Communicate your choices
Talking about a personal subject to someone you just met doesn’t really feel organic, however, it is important to communicate your choices to the other person. If there is any discomfort or pressure from the other person, it can be considered a giant red flag. The upside of communicating your choices from the get-go is that it allows you to see if the connection you form with the person will actually go anywhere or not in the future.
Dry dating or sober dating doesn’t have to be limited to going for a coffee with someone. With the great ideas and tips in this article, you can explore the world of sober dating in a myriad of different ways. If you are interested in knowing more about the sober (curious) lifestyle, head on to Better Rhodes.