A Guide to Drinking Responsibly on Dates: All You Need to Know

Thomas Edwards
Guide to drinking on a date
We’re all pretty familiar with general etiquette when it comes to going out on dates, but how about when it comes to the topic of drinking on dates? For some, this can be a bit of a gray area.

First, let’s get this out of the way –– drinking is NOT a necessity in order to have a great date! In fact, I don’t drink anymore! While this is a personal choice and yours to make, it doesn’t have to affect how you approach the date. If you’re curious about your date’s drinking preference, you can weave it into your conversation while you’re making plans, for example, “I know this great restaurant/bar that has great food and even better drinks! What’s your go-to drink?”

When I was drinking, I never considered someone abstaining from alcohol to be a deal breaker. For me, drinking went hand-in-hand with socializing but ultimately, the socializing was more important. Conversely, I have friends who would consider this a deal breaker. Whatever choice you or your date has made regarding drinking, be sure it’s something you support and align with.

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How Much Is Too Much?

Now, you’re out on your date and you’re trying to decide what’s the right amount. Well, that requires a bit of introspection. 

No one knows you like you know you. This definitely applies when it comes to your alcohol tolerance. Only you know whether that shot of tequila will loosen you up, or have you streaking down the street before the night is over. Consider how certain drinks might affect you or even alcohol in general:

  • Does wine make you sleepy? 
  • Will you be projecting low energy to your date leading them to think you may not be interested? 
  • Will that shot of vodka have you professing your feelings for your date who you only just met?
  • How much is too much?

For my clients who drink, I typically recommend they order a drink that is either lower in alcohol content, like a beer, or something that requires sipping and can’t be as easily chugged, like an Old Fashioned.

And if we’re being responsible, a maximum of 2 drinks is ideal. 

What About Pre-gaming?

Do you like to pre-game before your dates? Well, that can be dangerous territory. 

We all get those pre-date nerves. I’m talking about that foot tapping, pacing in the living room, and “I can’t decide what to wear after trying on 3 different outfits” feeling. Rest assured, your date is feeling it too. 

Pre-date jitters is such a universal experience that there is research out there pointing to the fact that a little less than half of “first daters” have at least one drink before they meet up with their date. 

Sometimes we think that knocking back a quick shot will ease all the angst. But sometimes, we don’t consider the fact that it’s going to take time for the shot to kick in, so we take another because we’re still feeling the nerves. Next thing you know, you’re showing up to your date feeling a bit tipsy or worse, the ground is moving underneath you (trust me, I’ve been there). 

With my clients, I talk about all the things that happen in the first few minutes of your date. These are things you want to be primed and ready to pick up on that can strongly dictate the course of your first date. If you’re tipsy you may be less-than prepared to pick up on these cues. 

So what went from trying to shake off the pre-date jitters could now be the thing that gets in the way of you building chemistry and attraction with your date altogether.

Also, considering the fact you will likely have MORE to drink during the date, it could potentially compound the problem. So I would advise you to avoid pregaming before your date. Use that nervous/excited energy to your advantage — you’ll likely be more talkative and hyper-tuned to what signals your date is giving you. Plus, trust me, they are feeling the nerves too. 

In fact, because both of you are feeling the nerves, calling it out during the date will make both of you feel better –– you may even share an ice-breaking laugh.

Remember the 2-Drink Rule

Research shows the average amount of drinks consumed on a date is around 2 per person. Remember that 2-drink max I mentioned earlier? This is due in part because of timing (average first date lasts about 2 hours). If things are going well, your date should be full of conversation. So much so that the drinking should be taking a backseat. Pay attention to the pace your date is drinking at, since it could be a positive signal if they’re taking their time. Even try matching their pace of drinking, as long as it’s a responsible pace. 

And if they’re drinking fast? It’s likely because they’re nervous, so don’t worry about matching their pace and focus more on creating a comfortable space where they can relax.

Last thing — If all goes well on your date and the drinks keep flowing, go with it (to your level of comfort), but tread lightly. Do your best to keep your wits about you when you’re first dating someone, so don’t let the jovial shot-taking mess that up. First dates, and dating in general, can be fickle, so if things are going well, ensure they stay that way! There’s something attractive about someone who knows how to control themselves while still having a good time. 

Do What’s Right for You

If you feel things may be escalating too quickly (in a negative way), there’s nothing wrong with ending the date and saving the fun for the next time you two get together, which will happen since you two are enjoying each other enough to want to keep things going!

Remember, drinking isn’t going to turn you into an entirely different person if you have trouble connecting on a first date, but it can have an adverse effect if not done responsibly. This is one of the many tools to ensure you meet, attract, and get into a long-term relationship with a quality partner!

Now you know how to drink responsibly on a first date, it’s time to find a date! Check out our list of the best dating apps and start dating, today.

Thomas Edwards
Thomas Edwards founded The Professional Wingman to help singles find long-term relationships by developing their social skills through experiential coaching. With his first-ever publicly available course, Dynamic Dating, Thomas teaches you how to create a lifestyle conducive to meeting, attracting, and getting into a relationship with women both online and offline, while staying true to who you are.