Whether you have been navigating the dating scene for a while or just starting to put yourself out there, the experience can be overwhelming. Getting to know someone new can be intimidating, especially if you are more introverted. Many people have their first dates at restaurants or bars, hoping that drinking alcohol will lower their inhibitions and make these initial conversations less awkward. However, if you have been sober for some time or you are newly sober (or sober-curious), you may assume that attempting to date while sober will make things more complicated. This is not the case! Yes, you may need to put in a bit more planning and effort, but you'll likely be surprised to find how easy and enjoyable the sober dating experience can be. Here are just a few pointers to set yourself up for success in the new year.

Owning and Communicating Your Sobriety

First, it's important to let people know about your sobriety. Some people weave this information into their dating profiles to show that this aspect of their life is important to them. You can even explore sober dating groups or online communities to find other sober-minded individuals. When you spark an interest in someone, let them know that you are alcohol-free and make sure they are respectful and supportive of your sober lifestyle. If you are relatively new to the sober scene, it's totally fine to admit that you are nervous about dating while alcohol-free. Your date may be able to relate to your feelings and offer words of encouragement. It's easy to get caught up in visions and expectations of marriage and long-term relationships on a first date, so remind yourself that going slow is perfectly okay! It takes time to build trust and get to know someone else. Just start small and go from there.

Adding a Splash of Creativity to Planning Dates

For many people, meeting someone at a bar for drinks is the "go-to" first date move. While it can be fun to sip on a mocktail at a cool bar, why not think outside the box a bit? Living a sober lifestyle allows you to reflect on your other interests and hobbies that do not revolve around what's in your glass. Why plan a date where you go on a hike, peruse a bookstore, take a pottery class, or visit a local art gallery? When you branch out from the default "drinks-at-the-bar" date, the possibilities are endless. Plus, you'll be able to get to know each other while enjoying nature or creating art, which can be much more meaningful without the distractions (and hangovers!) of alcohol.

Getting to Know Your True and Authentic Selves

One of the most significant benefits of sober dating is the ability to fully immerse yourself in the present moment. Instead of getting lost in the haze of intoxication, you can have meaningful conversations with your romantic partner (that you will actually remember the next day!). Your sobriety allows you to live vulnerably and authentically, and these qualities provide the solid foundation for a strong and secure relationship. As we move forward into the New Year, now is the perfect time to navigate the dating scene with an open heart and clear mind.

January 16, 2023