As far back as we can remember (and that’s literally just as far back as our Instagram memories allow us to), the concept of a date has always featured a drink or two (or seven or eight). However, a wave of sober dating is taking the world by storm. “Let’s grab a drink?” isn’t the go-to date idea anymore.
For some of us, it’s difficult to imagine controlling our nerves through the entire date without knocking back a few drinks (they call it liquid courage for a reason). But for some, especially the teetotallers, dates without drinking might just become the new norm. Hence, it begs the question. What’s better: downing a few glasses of wine or making sure you keep your back straight and your words un-slurred? Let’s take a look at the polls and what people think.
Getting Drunk On Dates Vs Dates Without Drinking
If you’re sitting there thinking, “Is a sober date even a real date? Do people even do that?”, it may shock you to find out that 62% of Bumble users are more likely to indulge in “dry dating” now than in pre-COVID times. One in three people in the UK are more likely to go on a dry date now, and Bumble also found that more than half its users are now more mindful of how they approach first dates.
Talking about what they’d prefer, Reddit user Sweet_Oliver said, “Staying sober. Why? I’d be aware of everything, won’t have a hangover in the morning, have a clear mind, can process all information correctly, and live in the present moment. Also won’t make an ass of myself or do anything embarrassing. What does getting drunk on dates get you? What’s the benefit of it? Can’t even drive home afterward or enjoy sex because of being drunk.”
Reddit user Karenzo81 said, “I like getting tipsy enough to feel more gregarious and to take the nerves off, but not drunk because then it’s harder to judge a situation. Sober is fine too.” On the other hand, another Reddit user points out, “Depends on the type of date, preferably the one where you get drunk is better. You get to know the other person better without worrying if they are judging you.”
According to a recent survey of 2,000 people by PlentyOfFish, a dating website, 83% of people said they’d be open to going on a dry date. With new sober date ideas hitting our Google searches every single day, dates without drinking might be here to stay. Let’s consider a few points while we set out to answer what’s better: ordering a bottle of wine on dates or saving more room for dessert.
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1. Date ideas: Grabbing a drink vs a multitude of options
Things are going well with your recent dating app match and you try to set up a date. “Let’s grab a drink this Friday?” you ask. You’re hit with an “I don’t drink, and I prefer sober dates anyway. Want to meet somewhere else?”
Are all your plans now going to go down the drain? Is this an attempt at rejecting the date? Nope! Instead, what has just happened is that you’ve opened yourself up to a million new date ideas, leaving the bar far, far behind.
Be a tourist in your city, go out sightseeing or just grab a quick coffee if you still want to be boring. The point is, when you don’t plan all your activities around drinking, you realize there’s a lot more you can do on dates than just sit around and think about when you both will stop talking so you can take the next bite of your food.
2. The difference in conversation
While it’s all fun and games to discuss what type of bread you think you are when you’re both a few drinks down, the first date conversation topics might just be a bit more authentic when you’re sober.
Reddit user Tobecarefull shares their view, “[Being sober] would allow you to get to know each other, observe what’s going on, and actually listen to what is said. Of course, you can take several drinks and ease up a bit, but I’m not sure if you would enjoy the date if your crush would get totally wasted and vice versa. Especially if it’s the first date. Alcohol helps to chill a bit, but it might get you in trouble very easily if you’re not careful enough.”
That’s not to say that having a humorous argument about whether stick-shift or automatic cars are better while drunk on a date isn’t fun, though. When it comes to the types of conversations you’ll have, being sober and being drunk both bring things to the table.
3. The difference in connection
When you’re drunk, a Pinot Grigio becomes a Peanut Gregorio and you’re ordering the next items judging by what items on the menu are the most fun to say. However, on dates without drinking, you might end up getting to know more about a person, what their likes and dislikes are and where you two connect.
Of course, which kind of night you’re after completely depends on you. As we mentioned, sober date ideas might bring about a different sort of emotional connection than, say, a pub crawl would.
Related Reading: 13 Major Disadvantages Of Online Dating
4. The vastly different “extreme” scenarios
Reddit user Sarah says, “Getting drunk can get so messy and dealing with someone potentially falling asleep, belligerent, crying, etc, basically anything on the really abnormal end is a big turnoff.” If you get too drunk on dates, you best believe there isn’t going to be a second one.
You won’t be able to drive home, you won’t be able to tell if your date liked you or not, you won’t even be able to tell where you spent so much money when you wake up the next day and check your balance. Plus, hearing about what you did while drunk isn’t the most fun thing, especially when it’s coming from someone you met for the first time.
When you’re sober dating, the worst thing that can happen is both of you sitting in awkward silence, until someone’s phone eventually rings and they pretend it’s an SOS call. You get to decide which scenario is worse.
5. Being able to judge the situation and the date
As we mentioned, the type of connection you form with a person when you meet them over a drink or a sober activity is very different. The difference is, when you’re confident in the fact that the date is going well without any liquid courage in you, you’ll be so in a much more authentic sense.
You’ll have more information and your perception will be on point. You’ll know what you like and what you don’t like about them, and you’ll better be able to read their body language. And, “I don’t really know what they’re like, we had a good time though” is not what you’ll be telling your friends after the first date.
With that being said, sometimes you do get to know a person a lot better when they’re their unhinged self, letting loose and not worried about showing you who they really are. For some people, a glass or two of beer might help them do just that.
At the end of the day, the decision lies with you. Sober dating and getting drunk both have their own pros and cons, but perhaps what you should be focused on more is calming those first date nerves and making a good impression. If you do decide to get drunk, just make sure you don’t get to a point where you’ll have to brush your teeth with your sunglasses on the next morning to curb the migraine you have, and you’re good to go.