10 Dating Commandments For Fall 2018 That’ll Seriously Improve Your Campus Love Life
If you're anything like me, before you headed off to college, you probably spent way too much time fantasizing about all the sexy scenarios you would be getting yourself into. Well, OK, that's a lie, because truth time: When I went to college, I had yet to have my first kiss. I had no idea what I was doing, and it showed. So, whether you’re heading off to college for the first time, or you’re ready to dominate senior year, these 10 dating commandments for fall 2018 will have you living your best life on campus. And honestly, I wish I had these back in the day.
When I was a freshman, I was completely overwhelmed by all the dating possibilities in front of me. I had more privacy than I did in high school, even though I shared a 10-by-10 room with another girl. Sure, I had fun, but I definitely messed up a lot when it came to romance. Basically every college dating faux pas you can think of, I did it.
But maybe, just maybe, if I had had some more guidance, I wouldn't have, oh, I don't know, dressed up in nothing but a pearl necklace and stilettos for some guy while also forgetting my roomie's 3 p.m. class had been canceled. Just, like, a hypothetical.
College is almost like its own little eco-system, and there are definite rules to navigating the dating scene while you're pursuing a higher education. Behold, and consider following the ones below to live your very best campus love life. Get ready to head into fall semester feeling ready to flirt your heart out!
1. Thou Shall Work Up The Courage To Talk To The Cutie In Class
Look, it’s scary. I get it. You're sitting in a class with 100 people (or more), and you can't even remember the professor's name. But then, you see them. The hot guy or girl sitting a few rows in front of you whose smile could clear your skin and repay all your student loans. But what do you do? Take it from me, just talk to them!
Ask them if they got any notes from that third slide that the professor whipped through faster than a Bazzi song. Ask what class they have next, if they know what they're majoring in, and whether or not they're living on campus. Small talk TF out of them, and before you know it, you might make a new friend!
"Success in the small talk domain is a lot like success in other situations, including online chats, job interviews, and social networking," Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., wrote for Psychology Today in 2011. "The basic premise is that you find common ground with the people with whom you communicate by using the right amount of self-disclosure, empathy, and tact."
There are about a million topics to talk about, but if you don't make your move, you could end up regretting it. Find the common ground that Whitbourne suggests above. There's really no better way to test the waters of your college's dating scene. Maybe it'll turn into something, and maybe it won't. Either way, you can say you tried.
2. If Thou Is In A Relationship, Thou Shall Be The Best Wing-Woman For Your Single Friends
A lot of women come to college with a boyfriend or girlfriend. If that’s you, that's awesome. Or maybe you met someone at orientation and have been happily together ever since. Whatever. It doesn’t really matter what your situation is right now. If you’re in a relationship, then it is your womanly duty to help out your single girls. Wing-woman it up, y’all.
If you're at a party, make sure you introduce them to other cute singles. If they see a cutie in class but are too afraid to say something, then you initiate conversation. You have a SO, and your friends are probably looking to you to help them out. Give them advice, or run over to their dorm with popcorn and ice cream if things don’t work out for them and someone else.
The truth is, strong friendships not only feel good, but they have serious health benefits, too. So serious, in fact, that they may even be more important than familial relationships. According to June 2017 research published in the medical journal Personal Relationships, a survey of more than 270,000 adults found that valuing friendships was related to better functioning, "whereas valuing familial relationships exerted a static influence on health and well-being across the lifespan." Basically, good friendships are even better for your long-term health than a good relationship with your family. I know, right?
So, whatever you need to do, be there for your friends and be the best wing-woman you can be. Being single in college is fun, sure, but it’s also a freaking maze to navigate sometimes.
3. Thou Shall Not Sexile Your Roommate
When you live in a dorm, it can be hard to have sex, or even to just hook up with someone in your own bed. It's likely that whoever you’re hooking up with probably also has a roommate, meaning that the two of you have to figure out how to get it on without annoying the people you live with.
Like I said, it's hard, no pun intended. But no matter what, don’t sexile your roommate. As awkward as it is for you to have to talk to them about needing the room to yourself, it’s infinitely more awkward for them to have no warning and walk in on you in a compromising position. So have the conversation.
"Like most things related to sex, dealing with and avoiding the experience of being 'sexiled' begins with communication," wrote J. Bradley Blankenship, Ph.D., for The Kinsey Institute's sexuality information service, Kinsey Confidential, in 2009. "And of course, in new living situations, no one wants to be the one to say 'you can't do that,' especially when it comes to your roommate's sexual life."
Work on what you both can do if that ever comes up, and make sure that you’re both comfortable with what you settle on. "At some point, you and your roommate are going to have to talk about sex, your values, and your room," Blankenship wrote. This is especially true if sexiling is going to be a regular occurrence for either of you, because honestly, it’s not fair to force someone out of their room any time you want to get it on. It also sucks to feel like you can't be intimate with a partner because you have a roommate. So, if you and your roomie can work it out from the beginning, you’ll be much happier in the long run.
4. Thou Shall Never Leave Your Friends In Sketchy Situations
One of the scariest parts of college is navigating the party scene. Maybe you rushed a sorority and are happily going to parties with your sisters every week. Maybe you aren’t into Greek life and are just hopping around house parties and frat parties alike. Either way, there’s a good chance that one day, you’ll witness a sketchy situation. You might even get into one yourself.
Hopefully that never happens, but if you see your friend pushing off someone who just won’t quit, or everyone is leaving but you can’t find your friend and are afraid she’s had too much fun to get home on her own, then don’t leave her. According to 2016 data by The White House Task Force To Protect Students From Sexual Assault's Campus Climate Survey Validation Study, one in five women and one in 14 men experience sexual assault in college. Always make sure your friends are OK, and get them out of unsafe situations if you need to. It’s scary, but it’s so important.
5. Thou Shall Remember Your Personal Boundaries
Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean that you have to go on a sex rampage as soon as you’re away from home. If you’re not comfortable sleeping around, then don’t. If you don’t even want to date, then don’t. You shouldn’t push yourself to do something beyond your comfort level just because you think you have to, and setting boundaries for yourself and in your relationships is a great way to make sure you remain safe, comfortable, and happy.
"Nobody's perfect, and no relationship is perfect either," wrote Denise Fournier, Ph.D., in a 2018 article for Psychology Today. "But most of us do strive to have intimate relationships that are as healthy and harmonious as possible. It's important to remember that harmony at the relationship level starts with clarity at the individual level."
Basically, it's important to identify your boundaries and be able to communicate them to a potential love interest, should you happen to find someone you want to enter into a relationship with.
Remember when I said I hadn’t had my first kiss when I went to college? Yeah, well, because of that, I pressured myself to do that and more with a guy I didn’t really even like. I only did it because I thought I had to, and if that’s your thought process as well, then just hold off.
6. Thou Shall Watch Your Drink
If you’re at a party, then this is kind of an obvious rule, but still, it’s worth mentioning. At a party, a bar, or even a chill dorm hang, you should always keep your eye on your drink.
In a 2017 study published by the American Psychological Association's journal Psychology of Violence, 6,000 students at three universities were surveyed about their experiences with drink spiking (which, by definition, is when someone slips an unknown substance into your drink when you're not looking). The study found that 7.8 percent of the students reported 539 incidents where they themselves had been drugged. That's a lot. Even worse, 1.4 percent say they had drugged someone else, or that they knew someone who drugged another person.
Unfortunately, not everyone has good intentions in college, and you want to make sure that both you and your friends are protected and alert, even when you’re trying to have a good time.
7. Thou Shall Keep Swiping
If you’re new to dating and college is your first experience with it, then you should definitely practice as much as you can. That isn’t to say that you should go out on a bunch of speed dates, but hey, if that’s your style then go for it!
The easiest and most effective way to date is to get that Tinder profile cranking, girl. Swipe right, swipe left, and just go for it.
"Some college campuses are enormous, and two singles might never meet without a dating app connecting them. Plus, it can be awkward and stressful to introduce oneself to a stranger," Meredith Golden, dating app ghostwriter and dating expert at SpoonMeetSpoon, tells Elite Daily. "Dating apps, thankfully, remove this awkwardness and act as a social lubricant."
Use dating apps to work on your opening lines, practice inviting someone to meet IRL, and just get used to meeting new people! As Golden said, college campuses are huge! You never know who you might meet!
8. If Thou’s Friend Gets Dumped, Thou Shall Bring Wine
If you’re single, in a relationship, dating someone new, or anything else, you’ve still got to be there for your friends. So, if one of your friends gets dumped, or something happens where she needs your support, then never forget the eighth commandment of college dating: Bring wine.
Do what you gotta do, and make sure your friend feels comforted, loved, and supported. You don't even have to resort to wine if you don't want to. Some quality time over manicures and dining hall french fries will have the same effect. Being dumped for the first time in college sucks. You’re away from home, you’re in a new environment, and it’s just confusing. Be there for her, and she’ll be there for you.
9. If Thou Are Confused, Thou Shall Not Give Up
Whether or not dating in college marks your first time dating, it’s going to get confusing. Maybe you aren’t sure if you’re more into guys or girls, or maybe you don’t even know what you want out of a relationship, or if you want one at all. The important thing to remember is that you can’t give up.
"College is an unparalleled time to test your limits, connect with people unlike any you may have ever met before, and learn more about what you like and need," Julie Zeilinger, author of College 101: A Girl's Guide To Freshman Year, tells Elite Daily. "This is true in all realms of the college experience, but especially when it comes to dating. If you grew up in a family or community that maintained rigid expectations for your identity — especially in terms of your sexuality — college is likely the first time you've been able to date relatively free from those pressures and standards."
Dating in college is fun, exhilarating, and yes, confusing. But don’t get too frustrated, and try not to take yourself out of the game. There’s a lot to learn. Obviously you can take a break from dating, but don't give up! This is a learning time, in more ways than one. Take advantage of that.
10. Thou Shall Have Fun
Above all else, young grasshopper, always remember the 10th commandment, and just have fun. College is one of the best times in your life, and you should be doing what you want to do. Sleep around, don’t sleep around. Experiment, don’t experiment. Do whatever feels right, for you.
"Ultimately, college women are all just trying to make their own decisions and claim sexual empowerment within a context of stereotyped, male-defined female sexuality and a culture of double standards," Zeilinger says, adding that really, the best thing you can do is whatever makes you happy.
"It might take some experimentation and a variety of partners, some bad choices and hopefully many good ones, but you'll figure out what works best for you."
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