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Dry Dating: 69 Must-Knows to Try a Dry Date, Pros, Cons & the Best Date Ideas

dry dating

What do you think of when you think of going on a date? For most people, it’s your stereotypical dinner and a movie. But there are a lot of other options out there that you can explore, such as dry dating.

No one wants to be bored on a date, so it’s important to mix things up from time to time and get creative. So, you might want to try dry dating because it can be a lot of fun and very fulfilling.

What is dry dating?

Many people are nervous when they go out on dates – especially on a first date. And if the date is in the evening, usually, there is alcohol involved. It could just be that they are meeting for a quick get-to-know-you cocktail, or it could be dinner with a bottle of wine.

Some people are even so nervous that they “pre-game” before the date. In other words, they might have a drink or two before they even head out to the date because it calms their nerves.

With dry dating, none of this happens. Dry dating is dating or going on dates when there is no alcohol involved at all.

While this might sound strange to people who like to have their cocktails, it’s becoming a more popular trend. [Read: Blind date – what it is, how it works, and 26 must-know blind dating secrets]

Misconceptions about dry dating

If you are the typical person who likes to go out, have a few drinks, and have some fun, dry dating might not sound too appealing to you.

But there are some misconceptions about it. Here are some of them so you can see the reality of what it really means.

1. Dry dating is boring

You might be a “partier” or someone who just thinks that happy hour or going clubbing is a lot of fun. If you are, you might think that dry dating is a boring idea. But it doesn’t have to be. You can have fun and get to know someone just as easily when you’re sober.

2. It’s for recovering alcoholics only

For people who like to drink, hearing that someone doesn’t drink alcohol makes them think that they are perhaps a recovering alcoholic. [Read: Drunk texts – why we do it and 18 tricks to avoid drunk texting someone]

But there are many people who simply don’t like drinking or at least don’t do it very often. 

3. Dry dating means you’re anti-alcohol

A person can like to drink, but maybe they don’t do it much or don’t think about it. That doesn’t mean they’re against drinking like their religion doesn’t allow it or something. It just means that you can enjoy someone’s company without a drink in your hand.

4. You can’t be spontaneous

Spontaneity has nothing to do with alcohol. Instead, it’s more about someone’s personality and personal preference. [Read: 18 Ways to become more spontaneous in life]

Some people are naturally spontaneous, and others prefer to do more planning. So, dry dating has nothing to do with being spontaneous or not.

5. Only introverts do dry dating

We tend to think that extroverts are party animals and go out and binge drink on a wild weekend. But extroverts can be sober and enjoy social occasions without alcohol too. 

Introverts are the only ones who like dry dating. In fact, drinking alcohol isn’t an introvert or extrovert activity – both kinds of personalities do it. [Read: Introvert vs. extrovert – why it’s fluid and what splits them apart]

6. You can’t truly relax

For some people, drinking alcohol calms their nerves. It is considered a depressant substance, so it can help. But that doesn’t mean that you need alcohol to relax. There are plenty of other ways to be calm when you go on a date that doesn’t involve alcohol.

7. Dry daters judge those who drink

Just because someone prefers not to drink alcohol on a date doesn’t mean that they’re critical or judgmental people.

It’s just a personal preference for some people. So, even if their date decides to have a drink, that doesn’t mean that they’re automatically thinking they’re an alcoholic.

8. You must be a health freak

As we all know, drinking alcohol isn’t necessarily good for your health. [Read: 26 Secrets to get motivated to work out and exercise your way to a better life]

So, if someone wants to abstain from drinking, that doesn’t mean that they’re a health freak. There are a lot of reasons someone might prefer not to drink on a date or otherwise at all.

9. It’s a religious or moral choice

While not drinking alcohol can stem from a religious or moral choice, it doesn’t mean that’s true. It could be for many different reasons.

For example, maybe someone just doesn’t like the taste of alcohol, or they are too easily affected by it in a negative way.

10. There’s less romance without wine

Two people can have as much romance as they want, with or without alcohol. [Read: Romantic dinner date ideas – 17 fun dates you both will never forget]

In fact, romance without alcohol is better because then you know what you’re doing and can make better decisions. Romance and alcohol have nothing to do with one another.

11. It’s hard to find others who prefer dry dating

Sometimes, it feels as if our entire world is centered around alcohol. You go out to restaurants and they ask you if you’d like a drink. There are clubs and other venues that constantly have alcohol available.

But that doesn’t mean that everyone has to partake. There are plenty of people out there who prefer dry dating. [Read: Teetotaler dating – how to date when you’re sober and don’t drink]

12. Conversations will be awkward

If someone’s nerves are getting the best of them on a date, then the conversation might turn awkward. But that can happen with or without alcohol. Most people can have a great discussion sober, and it might even be better that way than when they’re tipsy.

13. Dry dating limits your dating locations

Sure, most venues offer alcohol as an option. But there are a lot of places you can go to and things you can do without alcohol.

You just have to be a little more creative, but that’s a good thing. That makes your dates more unique and memorable.

14. Dry dating means you’re not adventurous

Again, adventure and alcohol have nothing to do with one another. [Read: 41 Cute couple things all guys and girls in love must try at least once]

Skydiving is adventurous, but it is doubtful that anyone is doing it drunk *although perhaps some people do*. There are many adventurous things you can do while you’re sober.

15. Dry dating means you have a problem with alcohol

Just as not drinking doesn’t mean that you’re a recovering alcoholic, it also doesn’t mean that you are a problem drinker either.

Some people simply don’t like alcohol or want to limit it on a date or when they’re getting to know someone.

How to navigate a dry date and avoid ordering any drinks

If you’re interested in trying dry dating, then you will have to know a few things in order to navigate it and make the best of it. Here are some tips.

1. Communicate your choice

If you met someone on a dating app, then before you meet them, it’s wise to tell them that you don’t intend to drink on the date. [Read: The best communication techniques to get them to finally open up to you]

That way, they can decide whether or not dry dating is for them or not. It’s better to let them know sooner or later so that you can both assess whether or not you are a good match for each other.

2. Suggest dry-friendly venues

There are plenty of things you can do in places that don’t offer alcohol as an option.

You can do things outside or at public venues where they don’t offer alcohol, such as an ice cream parlor or a coffee shop. It’s important for the date to have an idea ahead of time that it will be a dry date.

3. Practice refusal

If your date is trying to persuade you to have “just one drink,” then you will have to practice saying no. [Read: How to say no – 15 ways to reason politely, stop pleasing, and feel kickass]

It won’t be easy, because it is probably more comfortable just to give in, so you don’t have to keep saying no. But draw your boundaries and stick with them. Don’t let anyone make you do anything you don’t want to do.

4. Use humor

Dry dating doesn’t have to be all serious. And if you’re uncomfortable letting your date know that you won’t be drinking alcohol when you’re with them, you can inject a little humor into the situation.

Make a joke about it, and try to make your date feel more comfortable about it.

5. Share your reasons

Sure, you could just simply inform them by saying, “I won’t be drinking on our date.” But that leaves a lot of questions in your date’s mind as to why you aren’t drinking. [Read: 19 Reasons why we’re afraid to open up to people and steps to overcome it]

So just be upfront and honest. Whether you don’t like the taste, or your parent was an alcoholic, just share your reasons with your date so they don’t have to wonder.

6. Order first

Lead the way by not drinking. If the server comes up to take your drink order, make sure you speak first by ordering your water or iced tea. That way, your date might follow suit because either they don’t want to be uncomfortable or they don’t want you to be uncomfortable. 

7. Be confident

The more confident you appear in your decision, the more your date will be able to accept your decision. [Read: 55 Secrets and self-love habits to build confidence and realize your worth]

If you appear wishy-washy, then they might try to talk you into ordering a drink. And then you might cave and actually do it. So, stand strong in your decision.

8. Be yourself

If you are the type of person who rarely or never drinks, that’s fine. Just be yourself, and don’t worry about whether or not your date is judging you for not drinking.

Even if you do drink but prefer not to do it on a date, remember that you will be able to be more of your authentic self without alcohol. 

9. Keep date ideas creative

While you could go to a coffee shop or to the beach together, that’s not very exciting. There are plenty of places that don’t offer alcohol, but not all of them are very fun. [Read: 23 Fun, romantic summer date ideas to warm your date’s heart and make it melt]

So, get creative and think outside the box with the date ideas. That way, your date will be having so much fun that they won’t even notice that the two of you aren’t drinking.

10. Reassure your date

If your date likes to drink, they might be uncomfortable going on a dry date with you. But you should reassure them that you won’t judge them if they want to have a drink or two.

Make it normal that you don’t drink, and then they won’t feel as weird drinking in front of you.

11. Avoid alcohol-centered events

It might sound like a great idea to go to a concert to see your favorite band, but there are a lot of people drinking at places like that. [Read: Meaning of dating – how it works, types, 42 signs and ways to date someone right]

So, try to avoid going to events or places where there is alcohol available. That way, neither of you will be tempted to grab a drink and you can just enjoy each other’s company sober.

12. Stay patient

If dry dating is new to you, then you might feel uncomfortable and awkward doing it at first. But like anything in life, you will eventually get used to it. 

So, just be patient because it will take time for it to become your new normal. Also, be patient with your date if they need to get used to it too. [Read: How to be patient in a new relationship and avoid risking new love]

The best things to do on a dry date

If you’re used to going on dates that involve drinking cocktails, then you might not even know where to start when planning a dry date. So, here are some great ideas for you.

1. Nature hikes or walks

It’s always great to get out into nature – it’s good for the soul! So, if you live in a rural area, then why not try taking a hike or just a walk? 

While this is a great idea, make sure you know the person well, because you don’t want to put yourself in danger by being alone in the woods with a stranger! [Read: The best foolproof tips for dating a nature lover]

2. Museum or art gallery visits

If you live in or near a big or decent-sized city, then it probably has a lot of museums, art galleries, or maybe even a planetarium that you can visit.

Not only is it fun to walk around and see all they have to offer, but it’s also education too. Plus, it can spark some interesting conversations.

3. Attending a cooking class together

While not everyone is a natural chef, a cooking class can be fun for anyone regardless of how good their cooking skills are.

So, find a class the two of you can take together. You might even want to make it a contest to see who can make the best dish you can.

4. Visiting a local farmer’s market

Farmer’s markets are always fun to go to. Many of them take place in the mornings, so if you both are morning people, this can be a great option. [Read: 29 Fun apps like Tinder and alternatives to get more matches and dates]

You can also look at all the delicious food and maybe even bring it back to one of your places and cook a meal together.

5. Going to a comedy show or theater performance

Who doesn’t like to laugh? Pretty much everyone! So, a comedy club is a great idea.

This might be a tricky one, however, because they will probably have alcohol available, so you need to stay strong. You could also find a live performance of a musical or play that interests you.

6. Volunteering together for a cause you both care about

It always feels good to help other people. So, talk about what causes you are both passionate about and volunteer. [Read: 5 Ways volunteer work can help heal depression]

It could be at a homeless shelter for people or even an animal shelter for abandoned dogs. Get creative and do some research about how you can give back to others and the community.

7. Taking a dance or yoga class together

If you are both active-type people, then you could take a yoga or dance class. Yoga is good for the mind, body, and soul. And dancing together as a partnership is always fun.

You can try salsa, jazz, or ballroom dancing. Just make sure you don’t step on each other’s feet!

8. Going for a picnic in a park

This is always a romantic idea for a couple to do. Pack up a basket full of goodies and find a beautiful park or spot with a great view. [Read: The 45 best and worst romantic picnic ideas]

Go shopping together to get your favorite food and drink ahead of time – just don’t bring the wine…it is a dry date, after all.

9. Attending a sporting event or game

Most people enjoy going to a live sporting event or game, even if they aren’t big sports fans. The vibe of the crowds and the excitement of the competition can be a great way to add some fun to your date. Choose a sport that you are both interested in so that it will keep your interest.

10. Exploring a new city or neighborhood together

If you are in a rural area, you could go for a long “Sunday drive” and take in all the beauty your area offers. [Read: 8 Fun ways you can start over in a brand new city]

If you’re in a big city, you can just drive or walk around a new neighborhood that you haven’t explored yet. Find new shops and cool places to eat.

11. Going to a book reading or poetry slam

If you both are the literary/bookworm type, then this is a great option. Find a poetry or book reading in your area. Afterward, you can analyze it and talk about what you liked and didn’t like about it and/or how you would have changed it. It makes for great conversation too.

12. Taking a day trip to a nearby town

If you like to take trips, then look around on a map and see what small towns are in your area and take a drive out to look around. [Read: 59 Fun things to do on a road trip to create awesome memories together]

There are always some new and different things you can do and find in a town that you’re not familiar with.

13. Trying out an escape room or mystery dinner theater

If the two of you are intellectual types, then why not try out an escape room? It’s always a great mental challenge to try to find your way out. Plus, you get to work as a team. Alternatively, you could try out a mystery dinner theater if you’re not into a mental challenge like an escape room.

14. Visiting a local fair or festival

Weather permitting, it’s always fun to check out new fairs and festivals in your town. [Read: Perfect date – 36 secrets to be a good date, plan an ideal one, and impress them]

Many cities have a wide variety of festivals, such as a strawberry or potato festival – and everything else in between. You can also try to find a carnival and ride rides and play some games.

15. Going for a cycling trip or a boat ride

If the two of you like to get a little exercise together, then going for a long bike ride can not only be fun, but you can stay in shape too.

You could also go kayaking or canoeing if you like water. And even if you’re not as much into physical activities, then you can go for a motorized boat ride and let the captain chauffer you around.

Benefits of dry dating

Even though dry dating might not sound like a lot of fun to some people, there are some benefits. So, you might want to give it a try. [Read: 51 Warning signs of a bad first date and BIG red flags in the first few dates]

1. More meaningful conversations

While alcohol is sometimes considered a “truth serum,” it’s not the best way to have a conversation. When people are sober, they can engage in conversations that are deeper and you can learn a lot more about each other that way.

2. Better decision-making

As we all know, alcohol impairs judgment which is why you shouldn’t drink and drive. [Read: Why am I so indecisive? 25 whys and ways to be an instant decision maker]

And you’ve probably heard of the term “beer goggles” which implies that the more a person drinks, the more attractive other people become to them, even if they didn’t find them attractive when they were sober.

So, you can make a lot better decisions about a person when you’re sober.

3. Improved physical health

Alcohol is toxic to the body, at least in extreme amounts. So, if you abstain from drinking it, you will be healthier overall. [Read: 12 Benefits of exercise on your mind, body, and libido]

And when you’re trying to find a partner, it’s good to look and feel your best when you are looking for love.

4. More energy

The more you drink, the more lethargic you get. Sure, some people can get all energetic and become the life of the party, but it’s only short-lived.

Alcohol is a depressant, which means that it depresses your body and slows it down. Without it, you’ll have more energy.

5. Saving money

Let’s face it – alcohol is expensive, especially if you’re buying it at a bar or restaurant. So, if you’re on a budget and trying to date, then you will save a lot of money with dry dating. [Read: 60 Best free date ideas to have a romantic time without spending any money]

You don’t even have to tell your date that you’re concerned about the expense. They don’t need to know!

6. Remembering every detail

When you drink too much, sometimes you don’t remember everything while you were drinking the next day. It can be extreme, like having a “blackout.” Or it can be subtle. And of course, you want to remember everything you and your date said, right?

7. Enhanced emotional wellbeing

Sure, a lot of people think that drinking alcohol will make them more calm and able to deal with life. [Read: Emotionally stable – how to find your zone of perfect calmness]

But that’s not necessarily true. It can work in the moment, but after the alcohol wears off, you’ll go right back to feeling how you felt before you started drinking.

8. Fewer regrets

Drunk people can do some stupid things. That’s why so many people are killed by drunk drivers each year.

Drunk people usually don’t have many inhibitions, so they do things that they wouldn’t do when they are sober. So, dry dating will help you have fewer regrets.

9. Greater authenticity

As you probably have noticed, when people drink too much, they can become a different person. They might be more outgoing and funny, or they could turn into a nasty, abusive person. [Read: 33 Secrets to be your true self and 15 signs you need to unfake your life]

Either way, when you’re sober, you are the person who you really are. And the person you’re on a date with wants to know the real you. And you want to know your date’s real personality too.

10. More creative dates

When you just go to a restaurant or a bar for a date, yes, you can talk. But it’s not all that creative. Everyone goes on those kinds of dates. 

But if you do a dry date, you have to think of something a little different. It will be more memorable that way instead of doing something everyone else does. [Read: Where to go on a first date – 85 fun, romantic and best first date ideas]

11. Improved sleep

While drunk people can pass out quite easily, if you drink but don’t get too drunk, you probably won’t sleep as well.

Alcohol can inhibit quality sleep, and it can also break up your sleep so you keep waking up in the middle of the night.

12. Fewer calories consumed

Alcohol doesn’t just make people tipsy, buzzed, or drunk, it can also add a lot of unwanted fat to your body too. Most alcoholic drinks are pretty high in calories. So, if you’re looking to lose weight – or at least not gain any – then dry dating is your best bet.

13. No drunk driving risks

Even though everyone knows that they shouldn’t drink and drive, most people do. [Read: 10 Sober reasons why drunken sex is never a good idea]

And while most of them think they are perfectly fine to be on the road, not many of them are. If you get a ticket for drunk driving, it can negatively affect your whole life.

14. More time and attention for your date

The more you drink, the more you might want to do other things like go dancing or talk to other people in a crowded bar. Either of these would take attention away from talking with your date and getting to know them better.

15. Avoidance of potential alcohol addiction

Alcohol addiction doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it can happen slowly, and a person might not even be aware of the fact that they are a problem drinker. [Read: 10 Bad habits that will make your partner want to leave you]

So, if you dry date, then you won’t run the risk of becoming addicted to alcohol.

Disadvantages of dry dating

While there are a lot of advantages to dry dating, there are some disadvantages for some people too.

1. Pressure from society

Yes, there are some religions and cultures that don’t allow drinking alcohol. But for most people in the world, the society they live in not only accepts drinking but practically encourages it. [Read: 41 Signs and steps to stop caring what other people think and start living your life]

It’s considered “normal” for people to have cocktails when they socialize. Therefore, some people might think it’s “weird” not to do that.

2. Limited dating venues

There aren’t a whole lot of places where people go for dates that don’t serve alcohol. Even places like movie theaters serve it now too.

So, you’re going to have to get creative in order to go somewhere that one or both of you aren’t tempted to order a glass of wine or beer.

3. Peer pressure

As we just said, a lot of people think dry dating is a little strange. [Read: 23 Secrets to set personal boundaries and guide others to respect them]

So, some of your friends or family members might question your decision to have dates without drinking some cocktails. Because of that, they might discourage you from dry dating.

4. Initial awkwardness

If one or both of you are used to drinking alcohol when you’re on a date, then it will be a strange new thing to do. Because of that, you might feel awkward at first when you look at the table and see your water or iced tea instead of a glass of wine.

5. Perceived as boring

Many people associate having fun and socializing with alcohol. In fact, some people have a hard time doing anything social without having a few drinks. [Read: Boring boyfriend – 34 reasons, signs, and secrets to make love fun and exciting]

As a result, a lot of people perceive dry dating as boring. That doesn’t mean it is, but a lot of people could see it that way.

6. Reduced menu options

Whenever you eliminate options in any area of life, it can be uncomfortable. And that includes food and drink options.

So, instead of having a wide range of options of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages to choose from, you are much more limited with your choices. [Read: Foodie dates – 15 trendy dinner ideas for new couples]

7. Potential misinterpretation

If you’re not sure if your date would like to do dry dating with you, then it can be awkward. 

You might be worried that they think you’re a recovering alcoholic or that you’re deeply religious if you’re not. So, there is room for misinterpretation unless you are honest and upfront about your reasons for being dry.

8. Potential dealbreaker

If you go out on a date with someone who really likes to drink alcohol and you don’t drink, then it could be a dealbreaker for them. [Read: 25 Deep questions to ask a girl to see if you’re compatible together]

For many people, drinking is practically a lifestyle for them, so they might feel like they are too uncomfortable around you if you don’t drink.

9. Increased responsibility

Sadly, when people drink, they can say and do things that they wouldn’t when they’re sober. [Read: How to be an adult – 27 mature ways to grow up and behave like it]

And while it isn’t the right thing to do, they can “blame” their words and actions on the fact that they drank too much. But when you’re sober, you have no one to blame, and you have to take more responsibility *which can be a good thing too*.

10. Less spontaneity

When you are tipsy, buzzed, or drunk, people tend to be a little more wild than you are when you’re sober.

And part of that comes with spontaneity. Not that you can’t be spontaneous when you’re sober, it’s just less likely than when you’re drinking alcohol. [Read: Spontaneous sex – 19 impulsive ways to do it, why have it, and things to avoid]

11. Increased self-consciousness

When people drink, they can become less anxious. And many people are nervous on a first, second, or even third date.

So, if you are dry dating, you might be more anxious and self-conscious. You won’t have the option of leaning on alcohol as a crutch.

12. Difficulties in expressing feelings

As we have mentioned, alcohol reduces people’s inhibitions. And one of those inhibitions that it can lower is expressing your feelings and thoughts.

So, you might not be as honest about things as you would be if you are drinking. Your date might perceive you as more closed-off.

[Read: 45 Special and sweet date ideas every couple should have on their checklist]

Whether or not you were already interested in dry dating, it might be something you want to try. As you can see, there are many advantages to it, and it can be a lot of fun. So why not get to planning your first one today?

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...