Making friends in college can be difficult enough, let alone meeting a potential partner. Regardless of what you're looking for — a one-night stand, a friend with benefits, casual dating, or a committed relationship — finding that special someone on campus isn't as easy as Reese Witherspoon makes it out to be in Legally Blonde. When it comes to the best places to meet someone in college, you have to be somewhat strategic. You can't just count on stumbling into a hottie on your way to class and locking eyes over your fallen books, or plan on finding your ultimate soulmate at the first fraternity or sorority party you and your roommates walk into during syllabus week.
To maximize your options, try talking to people from all walks of college life. Flirt with your cute, yet kind of dorky classmate in Psychology 101, but also sit next to the dreamy jock in the dining hall. Go up to as many people as you can during orientation, and then also start a weekly study group that meets in the library or a common area of your residence hall. The more places you frequent, both on and off campus, the more people you'll meet, and your options will increase. Here are 11 ideas of places to meet someone on campus, whether you're looking for love, lust, or just a bit of fun.
Cliques aren't as much of an issue in college as they can be in high school. Chances are, your university dining hall isn't as scary as the cafeteria in Mean Girls. Sure, you can sit with your friends while you eat most meals, but don't be afraid to also go to one alone once in a while. If you're too shy to plop down next to a stranger, sit at a table for two and be open to someone asking to join you.
This one's an obvious choice, but don't stick to hangouts in your dorm. Go to various kinds of parties, and not always with the same group of people. Attend an event at another school, go to a fraternity or sorority mixer, check out the sports teams' houses, and go to a chill game night. By constantly switching up your weekend routine, you'll have the opportunity to experience many different kinds of college parties — and college party people.
If you want to meet new people, consider starting a general study group. You can spread the word in your residence hall, in your classes, or via social media. Meet somewhere public, open it up to anyone on campus, and see who shows up. Honestly, if you meet someone that way, it would make for a sweet story to tell as a couple down the road.
"I'd say the best places to meet someone in college are in spaces and communities that speak to parts of your identity that you value, and/or [align with] your interests," says Julie Zeilinger, author of College 101: A Girl's Guide to Freshman Year. "The people who also join the groups and clubs that allow an outlet for these values are likely to therefore share an interest in the same things you care about. That's a great starting point for any kind of relationship — whether it's friendship or more."
Join a sports team, a club team, or an intramural league. If sports aren't your thing, attend a game as a spectator. Or, go to your college's organization fair or check out a list of all the groups on campus. Try out a bunch, pick a couple to join, and voila! You've suddenly got a whole new social circle.
Keep your door open when you're just hanging out at home, and see who comes by. Strike up a conversation with someone in the laundry room, while you're getting your mail, or even in the elevator. You never know who you might bump into while performing even the most mundane of tasks.
Getting a job on campus can be rewarding in more ways than one. Pick up some extra spending money and get to know people you might not come across in your classes or at parties.
OK, so I know no one is really at their most attractive while working out, but bear with me. If you're into fitness, what better place for you to meet a like-minded person? And if you're not, and are just trying to keep off the Freshman 15, maybe you'll find a personal trainer (with or without added benefits). It's a win-win.
Again, meeting someone while volunteering pretty much guarantees you have a shared passion for helping the community, or at least a common interest in that specific cause.
While the weather is nice, take advantage of your college's outdoor spaces. Even if your school doesn't have a traditional campus and therefore no quad, there's probably still a lawn or even a public park where students go to study, sunbathe, and spend time with friends.
"I have to include dating apps as well. They connect in every age range," says Golden. If all else fails, try swiping on an app or signing up for online dating. You may come across people on campus who you wouldn't otherwise interact with or know how to approach, but who you can easily meet for a coffee date or a quick drink.
Welcome (or welcome back) to college. You're going to love it.
Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!