How to enjoy a sober date night

Are you giving alcohol a break, but worried that socialising won’t be the same without a drink? Here’s how to enjoy a sober date night.

Where one in three people increased their alcohol consumption during lockdown, globally, alcohol consumption fell for a lot of people in 2020. Bars and restaurants had shut their doors, and many of us took to finding new hobbies that didn’t involve drinking.

Because of this change, some of us have decided to drink less from now on, being mindful of our consumption and focusing on health and well-being. This has led to us opting for an adult soft drink or fun nights out (or in) that don’t require alcohol. It’s also increased the popularity of movements like Dry January.

What does this mean for the dating world? Dating when sober may be a new concept for some people – going out to a bar for drinks is certainly the norm for many singles, as they feel like alcohol is a social lubricant. 

But there are several reasons why people may want to retain their new alcohol-free lifestyle and ditch the dating drinks. As well as those focusing on their health, some might not drink for personal reasons, for safety when meeting someone new, or due to pregnancy.

Let’s look at how you can have sober fun in the dating world.

Non-alcoholic drinks don’t need to be boring

There may be obstacles to overcome when it comes to sober dating. The person you are chatting to might suggest you grab a drink, which can leave you feeling unsure of what to do. You can, of course, still take up their offer – just opt for somewhere that doesn’t sell disappointing flat pop from the gun. Research around your area for a bar that sells alcohol-free drinks, mocktails, or adult soft drinks.

A decent bar will sell craft-style sodas with cool packaging, natural ingredients, and unique flavours. There are even flavourful tonic water options that you can enjoy on their own. Gin’s bitter partner has become popular recently and has been recognised as one of Britain’s fastest-growing soft drinks with a range of botanic tastes.

These sorts of drinks are becoming even more popular, so expect options to keep improving and evolving as more people get on board with the NoLo alcohol trend.

Alternative activities

Some dating apps, such as Match, Bumble, and Hinge, allow you to state on your profile what sort of things you like to indulge in, including if you drink alcohol.

As many as 9% of Hinge daters marked their profile as non-drinker in 2020, which makes it easier for those looking for like-minded individuals and can also avoid the intrusive questions that sometimes follow when you inform someone that you don’t drink. When you do find someone who isn’t interested in drinking, this opens up a realm of opportunities for your date.

Your date can be a:

  • Coffee date
  • Walk in nature or on the beach
  • Going for a nice meal
  • City tour
  • Mini golf
  • Dance class
  • Cooking class.

This list could continue indefinitely – think about your hobbies or something that can show off your personality and interests. This is a great opportunity for you to get to know the person truly.

Breaking the ice when sober

If you’re yet to date sober and are nervous about breaking the ice, this is totally expected and normal. First dates often bring feelings of anxiety, but it is important to remember that the person you’re going out with will likely feel the same.

Everyone dating feels under pressure to show their authentic self in the best way possible, but that is what makes it exciting. Single people everywhere are looking to find someone best suited to themselves – and if it doesn’t work out, it wasn’t meant to be. While people who drink will also feel nervous before they start to feel the effects of the alcohol, while sober, you will ease into the date once you’ve chatted for a bit and have warmed up.

If your social skills have been dampened during lockdown and you’re nervous about interacting with someone new, why don’t you warm yourself up with some mate dates so you can build your confidence by being sociable again? See if you can arrange some friendly group activities with people your friends go out with so you can practice introducing yourself to somebody who doesn’t know you. 

For sober individuals, you can wake up from your first date without a hangover or second-guessing what happened the night before. After a bit of experience, they will only become better as you connect with new people after a year of strict lockdowns. There are also some light-hearted Instagram accounts you can follow about sobriety, such as SOBER GIRL SOCIETY.

Photo by Jorge Gardner