Dry Dating: Is Dating Sober the Key to a More Authentic Connection?

by Brianna Allison

dating sober

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Brianna Allison. Find her on Instagram at @ballison7. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at thezillennialzine@gmail.com.

You’re getting ready for a date with someone you’ve only been talking to for a couple of weeks. Obviously, you’re a little nervous and just want things to go well. As soon as you get to dinner, the first thing on your mind is getting a glass of wine or a cocktail to ease your anxiety.

One might be fine; you might get some “liquid courage” that brings you out of your shell and gives you some confidence. But one might turn into two, two into three, and so on. You’re starting to feel a little drunk, and know you’re probably saying things that might make your sober self cringe.

Unfortunately, most of us have been there, which is why a trend called dry dating is on the rise. Dry dating is exactly what it sounds like — dating completely sober. Although it may seem intimidating at first, the benefits of dating sober seem to make it worth it.

Why is dry dating trending?

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Dry dating has been a growing trend in 2022. After the COVID-19 pandemic, people are reevaluating and prioritizing their health and wellness, specifically their relationship with alcohol. A survey done by Bumble has revealed the change in drinking habits among Americans. The results showed that “25% of people in the U.S. confirm that they’re drinking a lot less than before the pandemic. This shift has affected dating, with 34% of folks using the Bumble app saying that they’re more likely to go on a ‘dry date’ now than pre-COVID.”

So, dry dating is the new thing to do. But what else does it bring to the table?

It allows for authentic conversation and connection

Dating sober allows you to be fully self-aware and have a clear mind. Doing so gives you the opportunity to be the most authentic version of yourself. You’re able to have meaningful conversations that can lead to a real connection with your date. Drinking can sometimes prohibit authenticity because you’re relying on alcohol to help enhance your personality and calm your nerves.

People aren’t feeling as much pressure

Taking alcohol out of the picture limits the amount of pressure that you might feel. There is less pressure to act a certain way or perform sexually after the date. Staying sober while dating allows you to make clear and thoughtful decisions on your own terms.

There is less chance of feeling regret

As I mentioned earlier, it can be easy to drink too much. Which of course can lead you to say or do things that you regret. With your judgment being impaired, you can let things go too far. So if you’re dry dating, you do not have to worry about what you might do next or what you wish you could take back in the morning.

It helps those who are recovering

For those who are recovering from addiction, dry dating helps them on their journey to sobriety. Being sober can be difficult enough, imagine trying to practice sobriety while your date keeps ordering drinks right in front of you. Accordingly, many people who have been sober have shown their support of dry dating.

How to date sober

Although dating without alcohol may seem daunting, don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t know how to start dry dating? You’re not alone. Here are some tips to help you with your dry dating journey.

Brainstorm date ideas that don’t revolve around drinking

“Let’s go get a drink” has become so normalized as the primary way of starting a connection with someone that it can be hard to think of dates other than heading to a bar or pub. But it can be fun to get creative with your date ideas. You could go to a sporting event, an amusement park, a hike or a cooking class. And if you do end up going to a pub or a restaurant, make sure you make yourself familiar with the menu. A lot of restaurants have started having a wider selection of non-alcoholic drink options. So having an idea of what you’re going to order will help you feel confident in your sobriety.

Find a new way to calm your nerves

It’s important to find a way to deal with your anxiety prior to going on a date that isn’t drinking. Focus on the activities that help you to feel tranquil. Before a date, you could journal to check in with how you’re feeling and recognize what may be causing your anxiety. Or you can talk to your friends and family to ask for advice and give you a little confidence boost. Before or even on the date if you’re still feeling uneasy, you can meditate or perform a breathing exercise to help clear your mind, slow your heart and help you to be present. Trying these activities will enhance your focus, confidence and connection.

Be transparent with your date

If you decide to give dry dating a try, make sure that you share this with your date. Whether it’s before you make plans or when you meet for the first time, they should know. Being open and honest with them can help you determine the type of person they are and if they’re the type of person that you’d want to be with. Make sure you pay attention to their reaction when you share your desire to stay sober while dating. If they are okay with it, understanding and supportive then it may work out! If they’re annoyed, rude or questionable about it, then maybe they’re not the right person for you.

If you’re using a dating app to find connections, you can even put that you’re sober in your profile. Allowing potential dates to know about your sobriety before swiping means that it’s one less thing that you have to worry about on the date. Bumble even has a Sober Badge that you can add to your profile that showcases your lifestyle choice so that your matches are aware.

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Now, dry dating doesn’t have to mean it’s all or nothing! You can go out Saturday night with a
new date and stay sober but still go to Sunday brunch with your friends and order bottomless
mimosas. You don’t have to completely give up alcohol in all aspects of your life if you make the
commitment to dry dating!

If you’re thinking about trying dry dating, I say definitely go for it! What can go wrong? Absolutely nothing because you’re being the most authentic version of yourself. Dating sober has the opportunity to give you some of the best conversations and strongest connections. 

Have you tried dry dating before? Let us know below your thoughts about dating sober!

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