‘I go sober on dates and you should too – it prevents drunk fumbles and regret’

Anyone who says they enjoy meeting new people is probably lying.

The process of getting to know someone takes time and energy and can often involve stepping out of your comfort zone and enduring a lot of small talk before you get there.

It’s why we all hate it when couples decide to “mix things up” with their seating plan at weddings.

It’s also why a lot of people rely on alcohol on dates.

It’s common practice to use the booze to help you get through a date you’re worried about, excited by or even just bored on.

You may be a pre-gamer, taking a few swigs of the hard stuff before you meet up, a “shall we do shots?” proposer, who likes to think they’re more fun because of their “wild” suggestion, or a night-capper, and we all know what happens at when you go back for “one more” at theirs.

Author and dating guru Lauren Windle has been sober since 2014

The fact is that whether a date is going well or badly, a few drinks can help keep things moving along – but should it?

In a nutshell – I’m saying no.

Sober dating is the way forward and if you haven’t already thrown your phone/laptop across the room, I’ll tell you why.

Dating is about establishing a connection, yes you want it to be fun and exciting, but ultimately what’s the point if you leave a date with no idea if you actually got on well?

Firstly, enough alcohol can trick into believing you had a good time with anyone.

If you’re on a date that you’re initially bored by, then you get drunk, you will always be able to convince yourself that they loosened up and got fun. They didn’t. You just got loose.

Lauren Windle
Lauren says dating without alcohol allows you to get a better sense of the other person

Second, you want to put your best foot forward. If you like the person, you’re far more likely to come across well if you show them your real, un-lubricated, personality.

People think they’re boring sober – but they’re not – no one needs alcohol to be fun, just remind yourself of how interesting and funny you are.

Think of the way your friends and family, and others who often see you sober, view you.

Third, you want to remember the date, the conversation and the things they told you.

If you’re working towards a potential relationship and deeper connection, you’ll never get there if you blacked out half-way through the evening.

Lauren Windle book
Lauren’s book, Notes on Love: Being Single and Dating in a Marriage Obsessed Church, is out now

I realise that here – I’m talking about getting drunk-drunk, tanked, sloshed, three sheets to the wind – but you can also do without the cheeky glass here and there.

Even one or two could be enough to cloud your judgement and leave you uncertain as to whether they were fun, or you were merry.

Now let’s address the elephant in the room – you are less likely to have sex on a first date if you’re sober.

And quite frankly, I’m saying that’s good.

I know, the fun police strikes again, but actually many a regrettable sexual encounter has come from being a few bottles deep on a date.

Sex is best when you’re sharp and engaged and there for the other person. You will always perform better sober.

You will also always know you definitely want to be having sex if you take that choice without any alcohol in your system.

And importantly, you’re in a better position to know the other person wants it too.

When you’re sober you can read their body language and be certain that they’re excited to be with you. Consent can’t be given by a drunk person who isn’t in a position to fully assess what they want.

Ultimately, if you’re scared that you’re not fun without alcohol and you can’t keep momentum going without it, you’re wrong.

All that great chat, flirty banter and those signature bedroom moves are accessible to you without the tipple.

And you’ll get to bask in the glory of them the next day, completely hangover free.

Notes on Love: Being Single and Dating in a Marriage Obsessed Church by Lauren Windle is out now.

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