Can you imagine dating without Dutch courage? / istock

Can ditching the booze make you a better date? 

As the nights draw in and garden parties and festivals become a distant memory, you may be considering cutting down on your drinking. But it can be easier said than done – especially for those on the dating scene.  

But meeting someone you fancy is entirely possible, and in many ways better, if you skip the booze, says Eden Blackman, a dating expert and founder of 'Would Like to Meet', who is backing cancer charity Macmillan’s Go Sober for October campaign.

And he would know. After he realised it was taking longer and longer to recover after a night out, he challenged himself and succeeded in not drinking for 10 years. That’s a decade of sober dating. 

Here's what Blackman learned by dating without drink. 

You’ll actually remember what your date said 

It sounds obvious, but being able to recall what your date has said scores major points. “When I stopped drinking I was remembering more, I wasn’t asking embarrassing questions about where they live and if they have brothers and sisters,” says Blackman. And that's crucial to winning a second or third date. 

Embarrassing texts become less likely

"We’ve all sent that drunken text," says Blackman. "If it isn't something you'd say in person then don’t say it via text," he warns. If you think you missed the chance to say something when you met, just save it for next time.

Your date will feel appreciated 

Drinking can make you distracted says Blackman. “When I stopped drinking I was a lot more on point, a lot more conscious and a lot more attentive to what my date was saying. If you’re constantly looking behind your date, they’ll be wondering if you are more interested in them or Sky Sports." Blackman's dates noticed that he was more interested and attentive towards them. 

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Eden Blackman was sober between 2002 and 2012, and survived the dating scene 

Drinking doesn’t make you interesting 

“The first couple of dates were a bit daunting,” admits Blackman, but he soon realised alcohol was just a social crutch. "You don’t need to have a drink. You realise you’re a good person and you can find confidence without it. It’s rewarding and you find out exactly what kind of person you are."

You find out what your date is really like

If your date is put off by the fact you’re not drinking then alarm bells should ring. “Never apologise or say 'sorry I’m not drinking' because it suggests you feel bad." Stopping drinking - whether or not it's to raise money - is something to be proud of. The sort of person you will want to date will be interested in finding out more, and your sober-stint will be a conversation starter.

Find out more about Macmillan Cancer Support's Go Sober for October campaign.

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