How to date without Dutch courage
A tipple or two can help keep the nerves at bay on a first date. But what if you’re embarking on a detox, or taking an alcohol-free challenge like Ocsober or Dry July?
Dating experts say there’s no need to turn off Tinder, as there are plenty of ways to date without Dutch courage.
Removing the beer goggles may even help you see more clearly when searching for Mr or Ms Right.
“I definitely think people have become too reliant on drinking alcohol to calm their nerves on a date, especially when you are dating someone you barely know – the stranger from the app,” says professional matchmaker Debbie Rivers, of Dare 2 Date.
“But don’t let the lack of alcohol stop you from meeting people. Remember, being sober and getting healthy will actually make you feel more alive.
“Dating sober allows you to be aware of how you are acting and what you want.”
- Going sober: The health benefits of giving up alcohol
Ditch the bar for the beach
Think outside the box and get creative when planning a date.
Debbie suggests avoiding the temptation to drink by choosing activities like bowling, beach walks, surfing, coffee catch-ups or wandering around a gallery.
“Check out interesting events that might be happening in your town like markets, festivals and live music,” she says.
“Start exploring, your dates can become way more interesting. There is also the added bonus that you will get to know each other better.”
A heart-pumping active date, like salsa dancing or indoor rock climbing, can even boost attraction by default.
“There is something called the misattribution of arousal where the brain mistakes the increased heart rate as the same feeling that you get when you get excited,” she says.
“As a result, you are both more likely to be attracted to each other!”
- Appy in love: The new rules of modern dating
What if it’s a snooze-fest?
Singletons often mistakenly think a glass of bubbles or four injects more sparkle into their personality.
But Debbie says drunk people often repeat themselves and unknowingly come across as boring.
“When you are sober you will be better able to read body language and the cues the other person is giving you,” she says.
“This will build a connection.”
Dating sober allows you to objectively discover if you enjoy their company, improves conversation, and helps cut the wheat from the chaff.
“How many times have you gone on a date while drinking and thought someone was more interesting than they were?” Debbie says.
“Alcohol dulls your senses and memory. When you’re sober you will actually end up having even better conversations and the best part is you will remember the conversation – and them!”
- Inspiration: 5 date ideas that aren’t dinner and a movie
No morning-after regrets
You may wake up alone after a booze-free date, but it’s not always a bad thing.
“The good news is when you are not drinking you will have higher standards and be less likely to regret your choices,” Debbie says.
“It is too easy to let down your guard and have sex with someone. People rarely regret sober sex, you will choose when you have sex and for the right reasons.”
Don’t fight the nerves
The rush of butterflies we feel when going on a first date are a sign of both fear and excitement.
“Reframe it to a more positive way of thinking,” Ms Rivers says.
“Alcohol can give you a false sense of security whereas when you are sober you are much more in tune to your instincts.”
Exercise, meditation and yoga can help make us feel calmer when walking into a date.
- Unlucky in love: Are you sabotaging your relationships?
Written by Elissa Doherty