Let's meet for a drink! If you are on the dating scene, online or otherwise, chances are that someone has that said to you before. But if you aren't a drinker, then the whole going to a bar for a beer to get to know someone thing doesn't really work. While you can order club soda while they throw back a whiskey sour or two, it can be a lot more fun to do something else together for your initial meeting. First dates that don't involve drinking don't have to be uncommon, whether you don't drink a drop, or simply want to navigate the dating world sans a buzz. And what better time to do them than during the day?
Not to mention, doing a date while the sun is out, without alcohol, can make things a little more straightforward and easy-going, even if it means the social lubrication of a drink is gone. It might make you feel safer than a date later on in the evening, or take a little of the pressure off, too. Just trust, having a fun first day-date doesn't have to involve alcohol. Below, check out some date suggestions for first dates that skip the booze.
1. Make The Date Seasonal
Dig into the reason for whatever season you're in! It's autumn, for example. Think of all the fall-themed possibilities, psychotherapist, Christine Scott-Hudson MA MFT ATR, creator of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle.
"Fall dates that don’t involve drinking are easy and fun. Go to the pumpkin patch together and choose a pumpkin," Scott-Hudson says. Bake some autumn treats and then go on a picnic in the country.
And hey, if it's winter, try iceskating, summer, try an outdoor stroll with fresh lemonade.
"The important part is to spend time together and have some fun," Scott-Hudson says.
2. Make It About Dessert
Literally focus on something sweet for that first date, because dessert is always a great idea.
"Go to a neighborhood bakery or a coffee house, eat ice cream at the local small business, or go out just for dessert at a fancy restaurant," Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW a therapist and social worker, tells Bustle.
While a drink always seems like a sort of "special" or relaxing thing to do when first meeting someone, deciding on a sweet treat can be a really fun and innocent activity. It's also less of a time commitment than having a full meal. Think of the sugary possibilities!
3. Vintage Shopping
"Whether vintage clothing or an antique mall in your city, grab a coffee to stroll around the shops together," LGTBQ relationship expert, Tammy Shaklee of H4M Matchmaking, tells Bustle. "Most cities provide a map for you to see all of the locally owned vintage shops."
Shaklee says it’s particularly fun to determine what one thing you would each purchase if you had only $50, or heck, even $10, to spend.
"It leads to some fun dialogue and laughter when getting to know someone new," Shaklee says.
4. Go To The Farmer's Market
There's always something to look at and try when you're at a farmer's market, my friends.
"A Saturday morning meeting at your local Farmers Market provides for walking and talking, as well as nibbles of local fruits, vegetables or homemade baked goods," Shaklee says. Maybe purchasing a fresh flower bundle or local honey will add some sparkle.
Either way, discussing your favorite fresh foods and recipes makes for great casual first date conversation, Shaklee says. Not to mention, sharing some coffee and cider donuts while you people watch never hurt anyone.
5. Live Music Outdoors
Go see a local jazz band playing the town square, or head down to the park where they're having a blue grass festival. Nothing like music to bring people together!
"Whether at a small beer garden, an Octoberfest or street festival stage, you don’t have to drink to enjoy local and talented musicians," Shaklee says.
If you feel uncomfortable in a concert setting sans a beverage to keep your hands busy, just clutch onto a Topo Chico or an Arnold Palmer instead.
"Supporting your local artists on a first date leads to great conversations about your current favorite music, your favorite concert memories, and even listing who you still hope to see in your next concert ticket purchase," Shaklee says. "Compatibility is more than sharing the same hobbies, it can also be about passions and interests."
6. Choose A Common Interest
Both like to read? Meet at a used bookstore and look around together. Fans of art? A museum can provide a nice stroll and a whole lot to talk about both during and after you see it. Big on the outdoors? Well, a nice stroll on a (populated, because safety) trail is a nice way to be in the calming, beautiful outdoors while you get a hold on your chemistry.
Anything that can distract you from feeling the nerves and provide ample conversation is a great idea!
7. Go To A Public Pool
Sure, it's a little unorthodox, but it's a great idea for a summer activity or an afternoon in a warmer climate. If you two are both down for a little adventure, why not go to a pool for a swim? Sometimes putting yourself into funny or unusual situations can shake out those nerves and get you acting like a couple of kids. Pretend you're at summer camp — you were always meeting new people at summer camp!
Make it even more fun by racing, splashing around, and getting some popsicles afterwards.
8. Go To The Zoo
Now, not everyone likes zoos, it's true. But if you want to get a couple of disposable cameras, put on some cargo shorts, and get some churros, seeing the animals together might be a very nostalgic and enjoyable afternoon for you and your date. Nothing like a few giraffes and snakes to provide the backdrop to potential new love!
An outdoor park or a botanical garden is another similar idea, any place that is curated for having a nice time with other people.
While you might feel a little awkward dating without a drink, in reality, it just gets you to see each other's true colors faster. Get creative and have fun.