To Drink or Not To Drink

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Recently a friend of mine prepared to go on his first date with someone he'd met online. It was actually the first date he'd set up with anyone he'd met online, and he was nervous. He's one of those “He's great once you know him, but he's pretty shy at first” types of people.

“Maybe I should drink while I'm out,” he said. “I know I get more sociable when I'm kind of tipsy.”

He may have been telling the truth, but ultimately he decided not to drink more than a glass of wine at dinner on this date. He made the right decision, for several reasons.

It may be really tempting, on a first date, to have a few drinks to “loosen up” - even more tempting if alcohol is a feature of the date location, like a bar. However, there's a few things wrong with this plan. For one thing, alcohol shouldn't really be used in a medicinal sense – if you feel you absolutely need to have alcohol to loosen up or have a good time, you might want to evaluate why that's the case.

For another, you're not going out with your buddies, people with whom you feel safe and who watch out for each other. A first date is essentially a social engagement with a stranger. It's safest to be on top of your game.

Finally, even if you don't have a problem with alcohol and don't even normally drink, it can send the wrong impression. Flip the tables and imagine you're on a date with someone that's drinking like a fish. Sure, they might be nervous... or this might be a normal Friday night for them. Since it's the first date, you'll be forced to make a judgment call. Do you want to send the wrong message to your date?

It's hard enough to get out of your own head on a first date. We're forced to evaluate the one we're with, and make a good impression ourselves, hopefully all while having fun. Don't let alcohol cloud the issue.