How to smash sober dating

An Amplify and tonic framed by two hands in a heart shape.

How many times have you had a few cheeky drinks before heading out on a first date, just to give yourself an extra confidence boost? Then before you know it, you’re waking up the next day with a banging head and realising your date wasn’t that funny or interesting at all. You have absolutely nothing in common and they’ve already texted to see you again. Nightmare! Don’t worry, we’ve all been there…

Well there’s a secret to avoiding most dodgy dates and it’s simple – go sober! We know it sounds super scary at first, but we promise you’ll be absolutely fine. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we’ve got your back with our sober dating top tips:

1. Choose an activity that doesn’t involve alcohol.

Most date invitations start with ‘let’s meet for a drink’ – are we right? Well it’s time to change that! It might sound obvious but don’t plan a date where alcohol is bound to be involved. Take the lead and suggest going for a coffee, visiting a gallery or checking out a local museum. There are loads of things to do rather than meeting at a bar once you start to think about it.

2. Get the timing right.

If you’re not sure whether your date will be expecting to drink then arrange to meet at a time where you could either have a coffee or a drink. Late afternoon usually works. This way your date can drink something alcoholic if they want to and you can order an alcohol-free option that suits you. Dilemma sorted!

3. Keep first dates short.

Dates that revolve around drinking tend to go on and on because there’s always the option to get ‘just one more’. And it always seems like a good option, whether you’re into your date or not, because the alcohol is doing the thinking for you. But without a drink to help you hide from the horror of a date that might not be going to plan, it’s best to keep things short. When you accept the invitation have a reason at the ready as to why you’ll need to get off at a certain time.

4. Try a dating app that displays drinking habits.

If you’re still waiting on an invitation, get the ball rolling by using a dating app like Bumble or Hinge. Both of these apps have to option to tell people about your drinking sitch on your profile. This way you’re being totally upfront about your relationship with alcohol so there’ll be no awkward questions on the first date. And there’s the bonus of knowing how your date feels about drinking too.

5. Have your explanation ready.

If you haven’t had chance to tell your date that you’ll be staying sober during your time together then have your reasons rehearsed just in case the topic comes up. It’s the worst feeling to be caught off guard. Hopefully your date will get it, with no more questions asked. Just keep your explanation short and say it confidently – you’ve got this.

6. Buy your own drinks.

So you might have had a bit of a wobble or just wanted to seem ‘normal’ and ended up agreeing to go for drinks. Don’t sweat, you’ve got this, just get there early and buy your own before your date arrives. Most bars have alcohol-free spirits on offer these days, so you’ll easily be able to disguise the fact that you’re avoiding alcohol. And even if there aren’t any non-alcoholic spirits to choose from you could ask the bartender to put an elderflower tonic in a glass with ice and a garnish et voila!

7. Find your confidence in things other than alcohol.

It’s possible – honest! Now that you’re owning that sober life, there’ll be no reaching for a drink to boost your self-esteem before your date so it’s worth finding something else that you can take confidence in. Whether that’s pulling together a killer outfit, treating yourself to a hairdresser’s appointment or even swotting up on a topic to impress your date with. You do you!

Ok, so we’re going to leave you with the best thing about sober dating. drum rolls With no alcohol to dull your senses you’ll actually be able to tell whether you’ve got a good thing going on! If you’re feeling a bit nervous, that’s always a good sign that there’s a spark, so why try mask that?