Drunk on the first date? Swipe left.

Showing up already drunk to a first date probably isn’t the smoothest move. When we pregame beforehand, we sabotage our only shot at making a good first impression, possibly hijacking the chance to meet the one.

Dating these days is complicated. Tinder, Facebook, and other forms of “meeting” people via technology has made the whole process of dating a bit of a mess. No one wants to be “ghosted,” or “breadcrumbed,” or any other term for being ditched or given the cold shoulder that didn’t exist two or three years ago.


Getting a good buzz before the date starts only further blurs the line. If you’re intrigued enough to entertain a first date, give the person the opportunity to meet the real you in real life. Show up sober. Too many drinks before a first date could leave your date no choice but to answer a fake phone call from their mom or suddenly remember they left the stove on. I’ve done it before.

Why It’s a Bad Idea

You’ve probably been on a disappointing date before. Maybe the person was rude, or you’re incompatible, or the conversation never really starts to flow. Or, you show up to the date and the other person is so wasted that you can’t even begin to tell if you would enjoy their company sober.

Picture this: You’re on a first date with a guy you met on Tinder. The guy is really attractive, and you’re meeting at a nice bar with live music downtown. Things are off to a good start online, but you’re still a little nervous. He’s got a decent job and seems to have similar interests, and you don’t want to screw things up before it even gets started.

You get to the bar and send him a message, letting him know you’re there. The bar is crowded, but you want to stand out, and you want him to notice and remember you. You’re hot, right? You sure are.

You hear someone scream your name unnecessarily loud. And there he is. The dude comes up to you and gives you the weirdest, most aggressive bear hug. He’s super enthusiastic and impatiently tries to start feeding you drinks.

Clearly distracted by the priority of keeping his buzz going, he literally stumbles over to his friends who are sitting next to the stage. They’re insulting the band, making rude gestures, and other people are now as visibly annoyed as I’m quickly getting. That was the moment when I started planning my exit strategy. My Uber app was open before I could finish my first beer.

No second date.


Save the Drinks for The Actual Date

The bar is a great spot for a first date, especially if there’s good people watching or live entertainment. But first dates can also be awkward. I always find myself asking “What if…?” before a date. What if they don’t look like their photo? What if their voice is irritating? What if they’re not a cat person?  

First dates will still be uncomfortable no matter how many drinks you have beforehand, but pregaming a first date is a recipe for disaster. If you get drunk before the date even begins, the chances are pretty good you could lose your chance at a second date (see above). Spell check can’t help you when you’re face to face with someone at a bar and so sloshed you can’t even remember your own name. If you get to that point, you should probably reschedule.

First date jitters? Try this instead.

If you think you’ll be drinking on a first date, limit yourself to one or two drinks. If you’re nervous, get your mind right before you head out for the date with these tips:

Pop on some tunes. Make a killer playlist to listen to while you’re getting ready. Standing in front of the bathroom mirror with Run the Jewels blasting can really give you the energy you need to be confident and cool on the date.

Phone a friend. One of my favorite things to do is pump up my friends before a date. Reach out to one of your friends and have them give you a pep talk before the date. Let them know where you’re going and give them any code words you need to send them in case the date goes sour.

Watch TV.  Chill out and unwind with an episode or two of your favorite comedy series. Steal some one-liners to quote during the date if things get awkward. Fast-forward to the end of Catfish because you’re smarter than them, and that would never happen to you. Right? Right!

Eject in 3… 2.... Plan your escape route. My favorite excuse to get out of a date is “I’m sorry, but I have to leave to get home to feed my __________” [fill in the blank with a pet you’ve always wanted]. Or, just text that code word to your friends, and be ready to answer their call. Hopefully you won’t have to use it, but they’re a lot of fun to create.

Do you have any first date lifehacks or a last date horror story that could save someone else? Comment below or share your story.


about the author

Megan Okonsky is a writer and yoga teacher from Philadelphia, PA. She’s currently backpacking and working in Australia after eight months traveling through Southeast Asia and New Zealand. You can read more about her journey on her blog, Beat, Broke, Backpacking.

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