23rd Feb 2022
For those of us who’ve modelled our dating life on Carrie Bradshaw’s or one of those gentlemen from that show that involved bespoke suits, it can be hard to imagine getting to the heart-eye emoji stage with a new love interest without a cosmopolitan or neat scotch in hand. While giggle juice may be renowned for loosening the limbs and the conversation, don’t forget loose lips also sink ships; you might find that sober dating can be a lot more fun and empowering than you anticipated.
Benefits of sober dating
You remember every detail. Sober dating means you don’t miss a thing. Your date’s dapper velour blazer? Their green eyes flecked with gold. Their witty repartee about funny breeds of dogs? You’ll retain it all. While a valentine's day cocktail or two can soften the awkwardness of a first date, alcohol can slow down your nerve activity, resulting in short term memory loss and the potential for embarrassment, asking the same questions on the second date as you did on the first.
You’ll lose the Hangxiety. If you’ve enjoyed a night out with a new date over a few booze-filled drinks in the past, you’re probably well-aware of the usual physical symptoms of a hangover. You might be less aware, though, of the psychological symptoms. Hangxiety is that horrible feeling of dread often experienced the morning after a night of drinking, and is often defined by anxiety, fear and regret experienced as the sedative effects of alcohol begin to wear off. Fortunately, sober dating means you can avoid the hangxiety and wake up in fine fettle the following day.
Your storytelling is at its best. Even the smallest slip of the tongue or misplaced detail can trip up the greatest of raconteurs. Sober dating means that you can tell your most fabulous anecdotes without fear of ruining the punchlines.
You can rest easy and be raring to go again. Sometimes, a first date can seamlessly parlay into a second the following day; when this happens, sober dating means you’ll arise in fine fettle to pursue whatever tickles your fancy in the morning.
Getaways are easy. When sober dating, you don’t need to rely on Ubers, trains, buses, tuk-tuks, ski lifts or public transport jet skis (depending on where your date has taken you). Valentine’s day mocktails and alcohol-free aperitifs mean you can drive your own car and leave at your own convenience at any point.
Connections come easy. If things work out between you and the person you’re dating, chances are you’ll be seeing them sober day in and day out, so it makes sense to get to know them in this same state. Spending time with someone in a sober state fosters better connections as your emotions aren’t masked, and you can be your own, genuine (and delightful) self.
Ideas for your sober date
Sober dating means the world is your oyster (just swap the side of champagne with a non-alcoholic prosecco), opening you up to all sorts of weird and wonderful options.
Shake your booty (and a cocktail). A great way to get to know someone is to make something together. And a fantastic catalyst for hearing about a new love interest’s recent jaunt to Havana or their affinity for the orange hues of a good sunset is, believe it or not, cocktail making. Cobble together an alcohol-free Cuba Libre or feel the tensions simmer as you stir a spritz and toast with your new beau over your now messy kitchen.
Go rock climbing. Do you know what bonds you with a newly acquainted admirer more than a beverage? Fear of losing your life. Nothing is more accessible and daunting than indoor rock climbing. With all the hallmarks of a boozy date, from sweaty hands to tight clothes to helping your other half down off something high, rock climbing is the perfect place to be confused about whether it's the adrenaline or the conversation making you flush with colour.
Stargaze. There's something incredibly romantic about the night sky, and finding a perfect spot away from city lights to look at the stars offers a dramatic alternative to sticky bar floors and too many drinks. Learn some constellations and dazzle your date with them, or invent new ones and make each other laugh.
Have a picnic. Never underestimate the power of a well-stocked picnic. Find the ideal location with a stunning view and soft enough grass to spread out a luxurious picnic with artisanal cheeses, seasonal fruit, charcuterie, olives and fresh sourdough. Dazzle your date by packing real glasses and mixing a non-alcoholic spritz on the spot for the perfect getting-to-know-you toast.
Learn to dance. Learning a new skill with someone you’re getting to know may seem daunting; however, learning something new with a partner has been shown to facilitate bonding. Not only will your attempts at mastering a salsa step or swing dancing flip cover up any awkward pauses in conversation, but dancing also lets you get physically close to your love interest and helps you discover if there’s a spark between the two of you.
Sober Dating apps we love
In a world where mindful drinking is becoming increasingly popular, and the rising awareness of the true extent of alcohol on the mind and body grows, some forward-thinking companies have recognised the importance of catering to non-drinkers while dating. Sober dating apps (like the ones below) are rapidly becoming one of the easiest ways to find a like-minded date while you navigate modern romance in a sober-conscious world.
Bumble. While not exclusively used for sober dating, Bumble offers you a “badge” to add to your profile which denotes your preference to date with less hooch and more chutzpah!
Hinge. Like Bumble, Hinge isn’t limited to sober dating but allows you to broach the topic of your alcohol consumption with future dates by listing how regularly you enjoy a tipple.
Clean and Sober Love (CASL). Similar to Tinder, but a dedicated space for those who are sober, CASL lets you swipe through a range of photos of potential suitors and match based on a mutual interest in one another.
Meet Mindful. Not specifically for those on the sober-side, but more targeted at the mindful in all facets of their lives, Meet Mindful is for those interested in living a healthy life and allows you to match based on shared interests and deal breakers.