How to avoid drinking when every single date revolves around nothing but alcohol
Get ready for real emotions!!
A lot of things are supposed to happen in your 20s. Like, you’re supposed to begin making real strides in your career. And dating is supposed to turn from super-casual to semi-casual. You’re supposed to learn to stop leaving wet towels on your bed all day, and start reaping the benefits of these things as well. A boyfriend? Or semi-boyfriend? But it gets really boring when every single date you go on is over cocktails.
Usually, you end up getting one more than you want because it's rude to leave after 45 minutes, and then you're stuck there, trying to act normal when all you want to go is go home, eat drunk food and nap. Plus, there's nothing worse than a guy who's had one too many the first time you meet. But there are options! Here's how to avoid drinking when every single date revolves around dive bars:
Consider updating your dating profile(s)
Hanging with friends in your 20s revolves around drinking, but dating really revolves around drinking. How else are you supposed to actually want to hook up with a guy who hasn't managed to ask you a single question over the course of an hour and a half (and two glasses of wine (three for him))? You aren't. Seriously, I don't have an answer for this. But what you can do instead, is find someone who knows how to have fun and talk without three shots of liquid courage pulsing through his veins.
Hinge gives you the option to state whether or not you drink, but when it comes to Tinder, find a goofy way to incorporate it into your bio, like, "You'll know I'm funny because I can make you laugh without the booze," or "Please no drink dates, I've had enough of those to last a lifetime.."
Have a list of other date locations on hand
You know how the guy always says some dumb shit like "Whatever works for you," leaving you to do all the planning and legwork? And when they do suggest something, it is almost always, without fail, a bar.
It's fair — we're all pretty convinced alcohol makes the who thing a little less awkward, and you know what? That's probably true. But once you do it once it becomes so routine, and suddenly you've only ever hung out when drunk. Instead, have a list of recs for places to go and things to do: museums are great, long walks can teach you a lot about a person, dinner is pretty safe, and same with concerts and live events.
Decide what you are going to tell them
So this guy is really, really cute and you agree to a bar date just because you're just trying to lock this shit down. You're going to want to be ready, so you don't have to stumble through some awkward explanation on a first date about how you don't really want to drink, or whatever the reason. If you're comfortable telling them, do! But if you aren't, here are a few easy outs: I don't feel great so I just want to be careful, I have something right after this, I have to wake up suuuuper early.
Stand by your guns
Like I said, there is no one more convincing than someone who is drinking. They want you to be having as good of a time as them, and they can be pretty persuasive. But, if you really aren't interested in joining in, explain to them more sternly why you aren't interested (they are tipsy and won't remember tomorrow), or tell them you have to leave soon, and call yourself an uber. You do not owe anyone an explanation.
Get yourself a seltzer water or soda
If you are at a bar, get yourself something else to hold onto. Not necessarily because you need your date to think you have a drink, but because hands are weird!! And nobody has any idea what to do with them when we aren't holding a phone or a glass! You're used to clutching onto something while avoiding eye contact with new people and that's totally fine. Plus it would be weird to just watch them drink.
If you start dating this person, consider telling them
At some point, if this is a lifestyle change and not just a momentary cleanse, you should tell the person you're seeing if you've been seeing them for enough time. You still don't need to give a reason, but it's a lot easier going out together when they know this information about you.
Drinking can be fun, and it can be a great way to let loose and get to know someone, but it can also be an inhibitor, both in your mind (drunk texts don't send themselves), and in your life. Instead of thinking of quitting as something you have to do, think of it as a lifestyle choice: You're choosing to get to know the people you're dating.