Search icon


15th Apr 2022

Ditching the Dutch courage: Is dry-dating the way forward?

Tara Trevaskis Hoskin

Dry dating is all about ditching the Dutch courage and embracing our sober side, and it’s set to be 2022’s big dating trend.

Just like fashion and food, the trends for dating just keep coming.

We’ve seen many new trends for meeting your perfect partner from oystering, or to ditching romance entirely and finding yourself a platonic life partner. 

Like pretty much everything in the world dating has been affected by Covid, couples have reported a loss of libido due to the pandemic and many singletons are feeling a lot more anxious about getting back out there. 

All things considered, you’d think people would be reaching for the bottle in needs of some liquid courage, however, it seems that for many, this is not the case.

New research from dating app Bumble found that 34% of daters are more likely to go on a ‘dry date’ now than they were before the pandemic hit.

Although this might seem hard to envision in Ireland when our drinking and dating cultures often go hand in hand, research also found that 66% of Irish singletons feel that they form more meaningful connections when they date without alcohol.

Even though a few drinks before may relax the nerves in the long run, it may not help you develop meaningful relationships.

When Her interviewed 3 Irish women about dating post Covid in 2021, it seemed that for some since the pandemic, dating and drinking were no longer so intertwined.

“It pushed me towards more outdoorsy activities,” said one person. “I wouldn’t mind going on a hike, I would think that would be a nice date now, whereas before I don’t think I would’ve thought of that. I would’ve always just leaned towards getting a drink.” 

Dr. Caroline West, dating expert and lecturer in sexuality studies, told the Sunday World that dry-dating is both on the rise and worth giving a chance. 

“I think we are getting used to new ways of meeting people and alcohol doesn’t have to be part of it,” she said. 

“Our social life used to revolve around the pub, but now we are getting a lot better at cafe culture and going for walks and coffee dates. It’s only going to lead to better dating experiences for everyone.”

The idea of meeting a new person without having the tension released with a few drinks can be quite daunting.  However, there are some ways to get over the initial awkwardness and make it a great date. 

Sometimes we use alcohol to make up for confidence that we may be lacking. If that’s the case, try to take some steps before the date that will boost your confidence. 

This could simply be wearing something that makes you feel really good, or even meeting in a place that you are familiar with. 

Ditching the drink can also mean finding a new spot for a first date. Something with an activity involved like bowling or mini-golf can be great as you are both focused on getting to know each other while having something to do – that isn’t drinking.