* Other dating apps are available.*
I wanted to write a post on dating whilst sober, but then I realised I’ve said no to every date I’ve been asked on in the past 3 months, so my material would be as dry as my liquor cabinet.
I am, however, well acquainted with the world of Tinder. Admittedly I use the app more like a game than a legitimate means of finding love, swiping mindlessly left and right without stopping to think about any possible future with the person at the other end of the thumb.
The fact that alcohol seems to be such a prevalent interest amongst its users doesn’t implore me to take the app more seriously. Every other bio seems to read ‘loves gin’ or the altogether more pointed, ‘let’s get drunk together’.
Despite my reluctance to fully engage with it, I recently started chatting to someone on Tinder. We had met a few years previously through mutual friends so I knew he wasn’t a catfish and, even better, he seemed to have grown up a bit from those teenage clubbing days.
We spoke for a couple of weeks before I received the inevitable ‘do you want to go for a drink?’ text. This sent my head spinning with possible scenarios (the fact that it had been sent at 2am on a Friday night didn’t help). Do I tell him I’m sober now and prepare to be ghosted? Do I wait until the night and rehearse answers for the inevitable questioning when I order a diet coke? Do I use a well thought out excuse for why I’m not on the booze that night and come clean later if things are going well?
None of the above seemed like good options. Feeling totally overwhelmed and underprepared, I politely declined and back to my hole of lonely anxiety.
In an effort to be ready for the next time, I’m taking to the internet to try and strategize.
I briefly considered putting in some witty, laid back articulation that I was sober in my bio to prepare any potential suitor. However, when I thought about why I really wanted to do that, it was because I didn’t want to ‘deceive’ the other person, to disappoint anyone or waste their time.
The obvious answer is that I should just be upfront because the right person wouldn’t care. However, in all honesty, it might have been a turn off for me a couple of months ago too. I completely understand why a 21-year-old might think that sobriety isn’t a desirable characteristic in a girlfriend.
At this age, if you’re sober, you’re either considered boring, dull, a killjoy, or you had such a serious problem that you needed to give up an essential part of life.
So, for the meantime, I’m going to see whether I want to tell each potential Tinder partner about my sobriety on a case by case basis. It’s not a conversation I owe to anyone, and I’m not being deceptive by leaving it out of my bio.
Until we change the dialogue on drinking among young people, sobriety won’t be seen as a normal thing, and so there will be no easy way to deal with this situation.
I hope this post has provided some minute sense of clarity on how to navigate dating apps whilst sober. My friend Izzy (aka Forget Fine) wrote a brilliant piece on dating with depression that provided great inspiration for this post, so please check it out if that sounds like something relevant to you.
As always, get in touch if you have any thoughts, advice or want to get married and save me from the hassle of dating apps.