Did you know that Gen Z is one of the most sober and sober-curious generations in recent history? It’s no surprise that #soberdating hashtag — or dry dating —has over 4.7M views on TikTok. There are even dating apps for sober dating now – and some of the more mainstream apps have adopted features that allow users to share their preference to date sober.
Here’s what you need to know about this rising dating trend, which is sometimes also referred to as “dry dating.”
Why Sober Dating Is On the Rise
There are a few factors behind the increasing popularity of sober dating. First, the impact of the pandemic — daters got used to ditching the pub in favor of outdoor coffee walks. Most people discovered the benefits of forming connections alcohol-free in the process.
A 2022 survey by dating app Bumble, revealed that over a third of users said they’re more likely to go on a sober date now than they were before the pandemic. Also, 62 percent of people said they think they’d form a more genuine connection on an alcohol-free date.
Additionally, attitudes about drinking are shifting. People are more aware of the dangers of overindulging and the negative effects of alcohol. Binge-drinking like it’s 2005 is just not cool anymore. Again, just ask Gen Z, who is shaping trends like #sobertok, which are contributing to the larger cultural landscape behind sober dating.
“Gen Zers are growing up in a unique social landscape weighed down by financial and societal worries and they’re more risk-averse. They have a nuanced understanding of how drinking impacts their health and that of people around them. Consequently, a youth culture that has de-normalized drinking is flourishing – and the change is being felt,” according to BBC Worklife. As a result, different ways to socialize are becoming more popular.
Finally, people are striving to lead more conscious lifestyles in general. When you’re dry dating, you’re naturally more present. You get to discover whether you share an actual connection with someone without the effects of a few glasses of wine.
Tips to Try Sober Dating
If you’re into the idea of dating sober, you can be upfront about it on your dating profile or try a specialized app. While transparency is important, you don’t owe anyone lengthy explanations about your reasons for going alcohol-free on a first date. You also don’t need to make the whole date about abstaining from alcohol. The idea is to treat the date as an opportunity to be your whole, authentic self – without alcoholic beverages. Get creative with activities, from going bowling to checking out a board game café, heading outdoors or strolling through a flea market. The possibilities are endless.
It’s also important to be aware of your boundaries and preferences. Do you care if your date has the occasional drink or has a drink while you stick to a mocktail? Or are you looking to meet people on the exact same wavelength?
“If a person’s social life is alcohol-centric, that’s not something that I can keep up with,” Garrett Bemiller, a senior account representative for a public relations company in New York who doesn’t drink alcohol, told the Washington Post.“Then there’s a middle ground, where the other person does have a glass here and there but is comfortable doing things not based around alcohol.
Whatever you do, the fundamental principles of having a positive experience while dating, such as respect and communication, are still key – and so is having fun.