How to Dry Date and What It Means for Your First Date
As a mindful dating coach, I am a big fan of the new trend toward hip sobriety (https://www.facebook.com/hipsobriety/) and dry dating. Dry dating is defined as dating without alcohol. Even without a formal name for this trend toward drinking less, I have often encouraged my clients to stay sober on their first few dates. Not only is dating without alcohol a more mindful way to date, but it’s also more efficient and effective. Alcohol changes our brain chemicals and lowers our inhibitions and judgment, so we cannot accurately evaluate how much we like a person. Alcohol allows us to override our boundaries and create a sense of intimacy that doesn’t necessarily exist when sober. This can make us dependent on alcohol for a sense of connection.
Instead, I like to help people learn the skills and tools to build that connection and sense of intimacy so they can experience connection without alcohol. This has numerous benefits, including finding partners that better fit you emotionally, psychologically, and materially, a greater sense of intimacy and trust, and better health. It has been demonstrated that even tiny amounts of alcohol cause the hippocampus to atrophy and reduce blood supply to the brain! It makes sense that people are consuming less or giving up alcohol as these facts circulate.
As we leave the social isolation phase of the pandemic, more and more people are aware of how important health is and how easy it is to threaten our good health. This emphasis on health has only increased the trend towards dry dating. In this post, I” ll answer some of the most common questions about dry dating and share some tips and resources. Please post other tips and resources in the comments below.
How to date without drinking?
The initial switch to dry dates can be tricky. Many of my clients report defaulting to bars and drinking activities like mimosa brunches, parties, etc., for their dates. One of the best transition tips I have to experiment with dry dating is to start with a walking or hiking date. A museum or a park can work as well. In San Franciso, finding an area of Golden Gate park to walk through and explore, like the tea garden, the De Young, the California Academy of Sciences, the Botanical Gardens, or the Conservatory of Flowers, can be a great way to do something healthy and exploratory together that does not involve drinking. Walking together or doing an activity together stimulates conversation healthily and is more accessible than sitting across from someone face-to-face and coming up with conversation topics. Studies show that side-by-side sitting is easier.
- Be yourself from the beginning
- Mental clarity
- Stable energy
- No hangover
- Natural vulnerability
- Better identification of red flags
- Less oversharing.
What are some no-alcohol date ideas?
As cuffing season and the holidays approach, we move our dates inside, and alcohol becomes a more accessible option to turn towards; it’s great to map out some no-alcohol date ideas. Here are a few to get started, and please add ideas to the comments below!
- Walking dates
- Daytime Farmer’s Market Dates - do your grocery shopping together or plan to cook together and do the grocery shopping before and after
- Go to yoga or meditation classes together.
- Take a walk through the botanical gardens.
- Have a picnic in a park
- Play tennis, pickle ball, or another sport together
- Do the 36 questions together over a park picnic.
- Do something adventurous together - ziplining, Stand-Up Paddling, surfing, etc.
- Take a cooking class together.
- Go to an art gallery together.
- Volunteer together (beach clean-up, anyone?)
- Garden together
Is there a dating site for non-drinkers?
The following are some apps for non-drinkers. The last two, Meet Mindful and Hinge, are not technically sober sites, but as a conscious dating app, Meet Mindful has a higher concentration of sobriety. The hinge allows you to specify your drinking habits and see those of others.
- Clean And Sober Love
- Single And Sober
- 12 Step Match
- Love In Recovery
- Nudge - an honorary inclusion. This text opt-in is specific to San Francisco and offers date and general planning ideas that usually do not include alcohol.
Online Support Group:
Refuge Recovery (Buddhist influence): https://www.aa.org/find-aa
Quit Like A Woman: https://www.amazon.com/Quit-Like-Woman-Radical-Obsessed/dp/1984825054
This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol: https://www.amazon.com/This-Naked-Mind-Discover-Happiness/dp/0525537236/ref=pd_lpo_2?pd_rd_i=0525537236&psc=1
Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovering from Addiction: https://www.refugerecovery.org/store/refuge-recovery-book
Work with one of our Certified Dating Coach or online Relationship Counselors to further support your dating mindfully, consciously, and without alcohol! Read our bios in the About (link to About page) section.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q1. What does Dry Dating mean?
A. Dry dating is essentially sober dating. The term refers to spending time with your dates alcohol-free. Dry dating makes it more likely that you will be yourself on the date rather than compensating with alcohol. It also makes it more likely that you will have better discernment and make better choices about who to date. Added bonus is that you'll feel healthier and have less hangover remorse the next day.
Q2. What do you do on a first date if you don't drink?
A. It's great to do an activity together iif you are on a dry date. Activities can range from a simple walk to a specific class, show, or museum exhibit. If you're both into adventures, an activity that gets your adrenaline going could be a great date idea, i.e. sailing, ziplining, or river rafting. Be creative!
Q3. Why do you not drink on the first date?
A. When you are drunk, you are not developing confidence and connection in a slow and iterative way. You may overlook faults, or inaccurately assess compatibility. If you are just starting to experiment with dry dating, not every date needs to be sober, but at least two of your first five dates with a person should be so you know that you like the person.