How To Start Dating In College
There isn’t any cookie-cutter way to start dating in college, let alone anywhere. Much it depends on the timing, coincidence, and where you happen to be in life. Technically, a guideline for how to start dating should apply to any circumstance, but let’s talk college.
In college, you’re thrown out into the world and leaving your home of familiarity to be thrust into another bubble of youth, energy and ideas. You’ll be exposed to a lot of new people and personalities. It’s natural to look for partners in college; in fact many couples who end up married do meet in college. A Facebook Data Sciences study found that about 28% of married graduates attended the same colleges as their spouse. Also, 63% of women hope to meet their spouse in college. College is a great place to search for potential partners. With so much going on around you, where is a good place to look?
Here are some potential places and methods for meeting people in college:
1. Classes: Pay attention to the people in your classes! They are likely to have similar interests as you (enrolled in the same subject) and you have the opportunity of crossing paths with them again and again. Ask classmates for homework reminders and form study groups. It’s an easy way to get a tightly-knit group of friends and meet people. Especially if you go to a larger public school that changes class schedules often, your chances of meeting individuals compatible with you are very high.
2. Join a club or an extracurricular activity. On top of having a life outside of school, clubs are a great way to find a niche on campus where everyone has a similar interest and you’ll cross paths with them over and over at club activities. It’s very important to stay involved in activities outside of just classes. Pick up a new hobby or continue an old one; there’s a club for everyone on campus.
3. Go to campus hangout spots–the library, a commuter lounge, the cafeteria. You’ll pass by lots of familiar faces who frequent those destinations as often as you do. If one of them catches your eye, it won’t be so strange to approach them if you’re always seeing each other everywhere.
4. Make new friends and ask your old friends to introduce you to their friends. One of the most common ways people meet their significant others is through a friend. At college you’ll meet lots of new people and make lots of new friends. Your dorm is a good place to begin, where you’ll be meeting tons of new people.
5. Get a job: another common way people meet their significant other is through their workplace connections. Being coworkers is a great way to build up rapport and start a solid relationship.
6. Go to parties. Parties might not be everyone’s scene, but if they work for you, it’s a great environment to meet people and hold casual conversations. It’s not as awkward as walking up to someone in class or at the dining hall, and if you get rejected, it’s not as embarrassing and no one has to know about it.
7. Online dating–with the myriad of dating apps out there, you can talk to people from the comfort of your bed while on your phone. Since college campuses are a boiling pot of young people, your apps can give you access to all the people near you. Apps can help with the dating process by taking out some of the awkwardness that comes from making a first conversation and help match you with individuals with similar interests.
Once you’ve found someone who has caught your interest, think of ways to continually engage that person. Try not to be creepy about it, and you don’t have to be too forthright, either. Take your time to get to know the person before doing anything drastic. Arrange a group outing and make sure that person goes. Group settings are a low-key way to get to know someone, while having fun in a group. It takes the pressure off the social situation and also allows you to get some more information. If you’re taking the same class, ask for his or her help on homework or study for quizzes together. Get together for a short lunch or grab a snack together. If everything goes smoothly, then you can think about making a move.
Don’t be afraid to run into walls, and don’t be afraid to ask out a lot of people. Definitely don’t be afraid of rejection. A failed relationship is not a death sentence. College is a time of exploration, of self discovery, and figuring out what you like and what doesn’t work.
It’s also important to think about what dating means to you. What exactly constitutes dating? In this modern era, all the social scripts of long ago have flown out the window to be replaced with a murky limbo of what it means to be “official”. Between “hooking up” and “friends” and “friends with benefits”, how do you navigate the scene that is college dating?
Keep an eye out for what type of relationship you want; have a specific goal in mind. Not everyone dates exclusively, but there are definitely people who want long-term relationships as well. Some people only want hookups, so pay attention to the actions of the other.
Here are some signs that someone is interested and wants more than just a hookup: How to start dating in college
1. They ask you about yourself. They are eager to share about themselves, and just as eager to learn about you.
2. They text you within normal hours. Or they call, which is even better.
3. They don’t talk or post only about partying and sex. You can tell a lot about the person from their profiles and their social medias.
Finally, here are some general rules of caution about dating in college:
1. Try to avoid dating people who you dorm with. That can get disgusting real fast. And you’ll see them everywhere if things do take a turn for the worse, and it can be hard to move on.
2. Don’t expect anything lavish. Gifts, dates. College students are generally poor. Generally.
3. Practice safe sex and always use protection! One out of every four college students has an STD. Also, good communication is key. Make sure to know each other’s boundaries, and respect each other..
4. Meet a lot of people and don’t limit yourself. Don’t get into a relationship right away. Also, don’t disconnect from the world if you do start dating someone. It’s important to have a balance between other relationships and your significant other.
5. Time management is important. There’s a lot to get involved with in college, and your world and its horizons broaden considerably. Make sure you’re actually ready to dedicate the time and commitment a relationship takes.
6. Don’t seek self approval from others, it comes from within. Don’t ever use relationships to fill any void. Also, don’t ever spend time dating someone you feel uncomfortable with. If things ever feel bad, end it. Don’t ever let any relationship hold you back.
7. Everyone’s learning about themselves and the world in college, and people make mistakes; you can’t be afraid of investing in someone who is rough around the edges. Learn from your own mistakes, and expect others to do the same.
Ultimately, don’t stress too much about it. It’s hard to say for sure when these things will happen; you can’t plan for it. Stay cool–it’s easy to get obsessed with it but take a step back and enjoy college! Take things slow and let relationships happen naturally.
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