What I learned from dating sober for a month
I tried sober dating for a month and was pleasantly surprised at what happened.
I dilute the awkwardness of first dates with alcohol. It’s just how I’ve learned to make what can sometimes be an uncomfortable situation, a little bit easier. As a regular online dater, I’ve tried it all. Wine, spirits, even a beer. I’m not alone. Most of my dates have been equally keen to meet at a bar and clink glasses. We all know that alcohol can be a social crutch, a way to feel more attractive, sound more interesting and be more engaged – if only in our minds. But what happens when there is no alcohol to fall back on? For the last month I’ve gone alcohol-free to see what difference it makes to my life. I’ve loved the hangover free mornings, the larger bank balance but surprisingly most of all, I’ve loved sober dating.
On my first sober date, my date offered to buy me a drink. ‘A wine perhaps?’ When I explained I was going alcohol free he seemed a little perplexed. He then offered again. I politely declined and opted for a soft drink. The next few moments were a little daunting as I sipped my lemonade. I wondered if I would still be able to flirt, be interesting and confident.
Then, somewhere between chatting about our love of Italy and prawn dumplings, it dawned on me. The contents of my glass have nothing to do with who I am, what I say, what my interests are and what I’m all about. None. Whatsoever. It may seem like an obvious observation but realising it made something amazing happen. I had a sudden surge of confidence. It was so freeing and enlightening that ironically, I chatted, laughed and engaged like a giddy, tipsy teenager. Instead of obsessing over what I was saying and how I was being perceived, I was completely focused on the conversation. It also ended up being one of the best first dates I’ve ever had.
Meeting new people can be daunting, especially romantic prospects. We can use all manner of devices to enhance, exaggerate and sometimes even disguise who we really are, but actually baring yourself, just as you are is the most intoxicating experience of all.
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