What do Gen Z-led sober curiosity and the ‘damp’ lifestyle movement mean for work socials?

After an indulgent festive season, some people who opted for a detoxifying Dry January will have counted the weeks, days, hours and possibly minutes until Feb. 1 and its promise of uncorking some wine or sipping a frothy ale again.

Yes, after 31 sober days — and nights — their skin is smoother, their eyes are more sparkly and their bank accounts also look healthier. But the promise of a pint, a goblet of red or another favored tipple will likely be irresistible. Or will it?

Increasingly, people — especially Gen Zers — are looking at giving up booze entirely with a glass-half-full attitude. A decade on from when the first official Dry January was observed as an Alcohol Change UK campaign, today’s “damp” lifestyle movement and “sober curiosity” are reshaping societal norms.

Social media platforms, especially TikTok, have had a hand in driving the popularity of these trends. Indeed, the #Sobertok hashtag — where sober TikTokers share their stories and experiences — has over 1 billion views.

What, though, does this mean for work socials and client meetings, where, traditionally, booze has been a social lubricant? 

The full version of this article was first published on Digiday’s future-of-work platform, WorkLife, in February 2023 – to read the complete piece, please click HERE.

Published by

Oliver Pickup

Multi-award-winning writer, content editor, ghostwriter, and TV and radio commentator (and occasional illustrator), specialising in technology, blockchain, startups, business, sport and culture. Founder of Pickup Media Limited. Interviewer of death row prisoners, legendary athletes, influential leaders, tech trendsetters, and cultural pioneers. By-lined in every English newspaper. Contributor to dozens of multinational publications.

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