'My love life's been disastrous. Until my colleague mentioned this visionary dating rule.'

“Let’s get a drink”.

The four little words that symbolise success for anyone attempting to break free from back-and-forth messaging on a dating app.

…The four little words that can also be lethal to your dating life.

There’s no doubt about it – suggesting “a drink” is the easiest approach to asking someone out for the first time. Especially if you’ve never actually met the person IRL.

It’s the perfect low-key catch-up if the thought of sitting through a whole dinner gives you the palm sweats. It’s also a sure-fire way to settle any nerves, and doesn’t require committing your entire night to one person if things… don’t go as well as anticipated.

You see “a drink” doesn’t specify how many drinks, so you have an easy out. Foolproof, right?

Well, if you’re anything like me: wrong.

In fact (and it pains me to admit this) after “a drink” (read: four), I pretty much feel as though I’ve met my future husband. I could be sitting in front of a mannequin and be convinced it’s the most interesting person I’ve ever met.

We both have siblings? Soulmates.

We both had Golden Retrievers growing up? He is the one.

It’s a trap I’ve fallen into on so many occasions, and a trap I’m sure others out there have, too.

Time and time again – after I’ve told all my friends about an amazing new guy I’ve met, it hits me in the cold light of a sober Saturday afternoon.



We actually have nothing in common at all.

…I probably shouldn’t have told my mum about you.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with drinking on dates – everybody does it.

In fact, a recent American study by found that 85 per cent of people surveyed drank on the first date, and I bet I’d be safe in assuming Australian data would be similar – if not higher, given our strong drinking culture.

But if you’re prone to falling hard and falling quickly, and alcohol makes you um, friendlier than usual, it can be like putting beer goggles on your heart.

Well, recently, a colleague pointed out a very simple solution that blew my mind.

Are you ready?

Here it is:

Don’t drink on a first date.

Yes – the answer to ensuring your judgement is free from cloudiness on a date could be as easy as eliminating alcohol.

How have I never thought of this before?

There are people, nay, VISIONARIES, out there who follow ‘dating rules’ within their single circles – one of whom is my very wise colleague and her friends.


“[My friend’s] rule was that you need to go on two to three sober dates, because once she was dating this guy and she went on like three dates with him but then caught up with him for coffee and realised she HATED him,” she said.

It’s nice to know I’m not the only one.

Sober dating might sound… hard, but this wise friend could actually be onto something. According to the aforementioned American study, having no more than two drinks on the first date can actually increase your chances of scoring a second.

Of the 1,002 people surveyed, 28 per cent – the highest percentage – landed a second date if they stuck to a two drink minimum. And while having three drinks led to a slightly better chance than having no alcohol at all, anything over four drinks had the lowest rate of success.


My colleague has a slight twist on the rule that is definitely worth consideration:

“I try [the sober two-three date] rule as much as possible. If I think I’m going to really be into the person I won’t drink for at least the first half of the date so I can see if I actually like him, or it’s wine that I like,” she said.

I work with a genius.

So what do people… do… instead of going out for drinks on a first date?

Well, coffee’s always a safe option, a gig/event/comedy show could be fun, the movies (classic), an activity like bowling or laser tag, a walk, checking out a market, brunch, the beach, brunch AT the beach.


See – who needs wine?

(Me. I do. But I’m going to give this sober dating thing a try, I promise).

Do you follow Lady Startup? Want your LSU dreams to come to fruition or just give us some feedback? Take our short survey now: