Writing this article is a little ironic. In order to maintain authorial transparency, I’ll be honest: I didn’t date much in college.
I had a few almosts and a few could-have-beens, but nothing serious. So me being the authoritative figure on “Dating Rules” is more than a little hilarious.
Still, I’ll defend myself in saying that I was very immersed of the world of dating—the good and the bad. I lived in a dorm filled with college girls! We all had our own stories to share. I witnessed some girls find boyfriends and get engaged, several who are married today. I also witnessed girls have the best college experience without a boyfriend. From the battlefield of college dating I come bearing wisdom.
Here are five important dating rules for college:
1. Always be honest!
Fun fact: Nobody is a mind reader! So while you might be thinking he’s a cool guy to watch Netflix with, he might be thinking you’d look great in a long white gown walking down an aisle covered in flowers. I kid, but this is all to say that it’s important to be honest with one another. If you’re in a relationship and aren’t sure what it is exactly, ask. It’s scary but it’s worth it. There’s nothing worse than realizing your boyfriend of six months didn’t know he had a girlfriend.
2. Slow down.
Depending on where you go to school, dating may or may not be at the forefront of students’ minds. I can only speak from personal experience. There were people who were in “serious” relationships within the first month. It’s a new environment, you might be on your own for the first time, and the idea of a stable relationship might be appealing. You want someone to tell you “I like you” and maybe even “I love you.” I encourage you to hit the pause button. Don’t rush into anything. Take time to be you and learn more about who you are.
That being said, you can’t always fight love. If you meet the man or woman of your dreams, that’s great! My advice is this: prioritize. Remember why you went to college. You’re there to get an education. (Unless you went to college to find a spouse. In that case, congrats!) For those of you who hope to graduate in four years with a degree it’s important to keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t get consumed by a relationship. Keep up with your homework. Say no movie dates if you have to. Date at the library. Dating and school are possible at the same time, just be sure to remember why you are where you are!
4. Stay positive!
And for those of you who don’t find your soul mate at 19, don’t panic. It feels cliché to say stay positive, but I mean it. Life is so much more than your college dating life. Not to diss the people in serious relationships or anything, but maybe you should count your blessings. You can take a semester abroad in Spain without any reservations. You can start the Dog Rescue Club without any concern about your limited free time. It’s a rare time in your life where you can be a little selfish, and I say take advantage. Find the upside of singleness and celebrate it!
5. Don’t put pressure on yourself!
When I went to college I thought it was my only window of opportunity. It seemed like everyone I knew met their spouse or S.O. at college. I was sure it would happen, and when it didn’t, I tried to figure out why. Is it me? Is it them? The reality is everyone has a unique story. I had to open my eyes and see college as much more than a time for dating. I made forever friends and forever memories. I learned what I like and what I don’t like. I discovered more about who I am. Did I find a husband? No. Did I somehow find a way to survive? Yes. Take the pressure off yourself! Open your eyes to the whole college experience; it can change your life if you let it.
So there you have it. Nothing novel or groundbreaking! These are just basic guidelines to follow. College dating can be good and may be bad. It’s hard to navigate, but it’s possible. While you’re feeling your way through the dark I hope these five rules will help guide you. Remember, it’s just four years. George might not like you, he might like your roommate, and that’s OK. The big, wide world (and a new and improved George) is just around the corner!