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Sober curious? Modern dating and the rise of ‘dry’ dating


By Sarah Finnan
10th Jan 2023

IMDB

Sober curious? Modern dating and the rise of ‘dry’ dating

Drinking culture is so ingrained in us as a people that, more often than not, our first inclination when organising a date is to message, “Pints?” But, with many people hoping to approach alcohol in a more mindful way this year, Dry Dating (dating sans alcohol) has surged in popularity too. 

Keen to investigate the matter further, Bumble, the women-first social networking and dating app, surveyed a sample of Irish daters to find out how they felt about the trend… and according to their research, more and more singletons are choosing sober dates – largely influenced by Dry January, the cost of living crisis and changing mindsets towards drinking. 

In fact, two thirds (66%) of Irish daters believe they form stronger, more genuine connections on dates that don’t involve alcohol, while one in three people (30%) said that they would be more likely to go on a sober date, than before. 

But, where to go if the pub was your foolproof date spot? Dr Caroline West, Bumble’s dating and relationship expert, advises picking somewhere that isn’t centred around alcohol. “A winter walk in the park is a great option or a cosy cafe during mid-morning.” Where once fine dining and fancy cocktails were the dating trend du jour, now it’s all about casual dates with more than half of those surveyed saying they’d prefer to do something low-key instead – think grabbing a coffee, going for a walk, or even braving a sea swim. 

“Alternatively, you could try something that involves each other’s favourite activities,” Dr West notes. “Getting to know one another through our interests and passions helps to develop a stronger bond without any alcohol being involved.” In Ireland, some of the top interest badges on Bumble include: dogs, gigs, cooking and comedy, with 1 in 4 (27%) planning dates around our new hobbies. The Bumble app also has a drinking badge amongst its inventory, allowing users to make their attitudes to alcohol clear from the offset.

Could the pandemic be to thank for this newfound openness to sobriety? Perhaps.The rise in outdoor coffee walk dates was a byproduct of multiple lockdowns and stringent Covid restrictions, but the desire to get to know people in a more relaxed way has lived on. And now with money woes added to the mix, cheap and cheerful is very much in vogue. 

Interested in what other trends the experts expect to emerge this year? You can find out what’s in store for the dating world in 2023 right here

*Research was conducted by Bumble using internal data, with a sample of more than 8,500 Bumble users across the world.