Alcohol has almost always been present on dates. Its ability to lower a person’s inhibitions allows them to get rid of that anxiety and nerves and be more comfortable with opening up to the other person.
But with the recent pandemic, there has been a drastic change in the drinking habits of most people, especially in the dating scene. A survey conducted among online dating site users showed that 62% of its users now prefer going on dates without alcohol, that is “Dry Dating”.
Not to mention, the Gallup poll that was done in 2021 that showed 60% of US adults drink alcoholic beverages, which is a huge difference from the 65% in 2019.
The University of Sheffield also published a study in 2021, revealing a significant decrease in alcohol consumption between March and June 2020 compared to the previous year.
What is Dry Dating?
Grabbing a drink has always been the default first date. It’s a fun and casual way of getting to know the other person better, with alcohol helping you feel more relaxed and freer.
Dry dating, on the other hand, is when you go on dates that are completely devoid of alcohol. The pandemic has forced a lot of people to reassess their health and their lifestyle. In turn, people have become more conscious of their alcohol consumption.
This desire for a more sober lifestyle has bled into the offline dating scene resulting in the rising trend of dry dating. The many restrictions set during the quarantine might have also contributed to the popularity of dry dating.
With restaurants and bars closed for operations, a lot of couples have instead gone on socially distanced walks or other outdoor activities of the like.
This trend is also mostly contributed by the Gen Z. A report by Berenberg Research shows that people in their early 20s now drink a lot less compared to millennials when they were the same age.
How Do you Dry Date?
It’s definitely a reasonable concern to worry about the date being awkward without any alcohol to loosen the atmosphere. Planning every aspect of the date in advance can help. It gives you control over the circumstances of the date which might make you feel a bit less nervous during the actual date.
Meeting over coffee or dining at a non-alcoholic restaurant are great alternatives for an alcohol-free date. Psychology professor Abby Goldstein also suggests thinking of important questions you want to ask the other person, in preparation for the date.
This way you can also have appropriate responses ready to smooth away any awkwardness and dead air, creating a decent conversation starter.
It’s important to inform your date in advance that you don’t plan on drinking any alcohol during your outing. This saves you any potentially annoying conversations on the topic once you meet in person and lets you know in advance how the other person feels about an alcohol-free date.\
Advantages of Dry Dating
It can be difficult to choose not to drink on a date, especially on your first one considering most dates start out with an invitation to dink. But staying sober the entire date has a lot more benefits than choosing not to.
One such benefit is that if you stay sober, you’d be able to know the other person without having your judgement be clouded by the alcohol. This also lets you determine a lot better if you have genuine chemistry with the other person or not.
You get to enjoy your dates without your sense being clouded. Having this mental clarity allows you to properly appreciate the experience a lot better than when under the influence of alcohol.
A lot of people have also found that not consuming any alcohol during a date lessens the risk of them crossing their own internal boundaries or doing anything embarrassing.
Opting for alcohol-free dates also provides an opportunity to be more creative with your dates instead of staying cooped up inside a bar. Cooking classes, amusement park rides, hiking; the list of alcohol-free date ideas are endless.
Opting not to consume any alcohol on your dates doesn’t mean you’re restricted to only coffee dates or brunch. You can also choose to go to sober bars where you and your date can enjoy mixing non-alcoholic cocktails with each other.
Not to mention, alcohol-free dates mean having to spend less on drinks, saving you a lot of money in the process.
It may seem daunting to completely remove alcohol from the dating equation, especially if you’ve become so used to it. But the more you do it, the more natural and easier it is for you to simply turn down alcohol during dates.