Dating In College Can Be Hard, Here's What Experts Recommend To Make It A Little Easier

by Christy Piña
Originally Published: 

You've probably heard that college is the greatest four years of your life, and in some ways, that can be true. But there's no denying that entering an entirely new dating scene when you're already experiencing so many other things for the first time — like being away from home or balancing some seriously heavy coursework — can be tricky. That's why dating advice for your college years, specifically, can be incredibly helpful. While you may be feeling nervous about dating in college, fret not! It can be really, really fun.

I'll be honest: It'll probably take some time for you to adjust to dating in college. It can feel like a whole new ballgame at first, and there may be times when you just feel so over it — just like with dating in general. But college is so unique. You're surrounded by people your age, who may often share your priorities, and perhaps a similar schedule. Don't be afraid to take advantage! And while hooking up may be a big part of dating in college for some people, not everyone is down for a casual fling, so don't worry if that's not what you're after. There are probably other students around you who feel the same way. I asked four experts for their best dating advice during the "greatest four years of your life," and here's what they had to say.

Take Advantage Of Your Surroundings
Danil Nevsky/Stocksy
Keep your nose out of your phone! College is a time to get to know people face-to-face, in class or just out and about. I'd stay off the dating apps and take advantage of the one time in your life when almost everyone is single and living in close proximity.

Erika Ettin, dating coach and founder of A Little Nudge

Be Open To All The Possibilities
W2 Photography/Stocksy
Immerse yourself in as many social experiences as you can. I’ve always said the "real" education you experience is what happens outside of the classroom. The more you interact in these experiences, the quicker you’ll develop your social skills which, you’ll quickly find out, is needed post-college.
It’s important to keep yourself open to all possibilities and use context to your advantage. Being on a college campus, you have so much more in common with your classmates than you even know. You can use anything as a reason to interact with someone, as long as you’re willing to try. And if you really want to make it simpler, find those opportunities where you tend to see each other often, like, the cafeteria, gym, library, labs, etc.

Thomas Edwards, founder of The Professional Wingman

You Don't Have To Hook Up With People Just Because You're In College
Isaiah & Taylor Photography/Stocksy
Dating doesn’t have to be hooking up! You can choose to have a relationship or choose not to! Many people go through college without ever settling into one relationship, and that’s just fine!
Get to know people in your classes, groups, and friends of friends. Also, walk around campus ready to smile and with your eyes looking outward rather than down at your phone.
You don’t have to hook up, if you don’t want to! You have free will and if you like someone, it’s OK to ask them out! You can create a personal dating culture that suits you.

Nina Rubin, life coach

While You Don't Have To Hook Up, Some Folks May Want To Keep It Casual — That's OK, Too
Leah Flores/Stocksy
Don't expect that people are always looking for relationships, even though they talk a good game.

Stef Safran, matchmaker and dating expert

Remember That Dating Is All About Trial And Error; Find What Works For You
College is a time for learning, not just about the subjects important for your career path, but also about yourself, and the kind of relationship you can thrive in.
Dating is largely about compatibility and goodness of fit. Let’s say you are putting together a puzzle of a photographic landscape: Each piece on its on would be beautiful, colorful, and radiant, and sometimes, you pick up two pieces thinking they will go together. It’s not until you try it that you realize they don’t fit. Sometimes, you even try a few times because it really looks like they belong together! Dating is often trial and error. What looks like it will work sometimes doesn’t. Try not to [be] hard on yourself or [get] too discouraged! The most helpful lesson I’ve learned about relationships is, you can’t force them, and if two people just don’t fit together, don’t let that diminish your self-confidence. Each person is beautiful and worthy separately.

Dr. Amy Vigliotti, head of SelfWorks, a group private therapy practice

If you're worried about entering the whole new world that is dating in college, try not to be. Most people around you are in the same boat — you're all learning things about yourselves, about each other, and about life, in general. Try to take it one step at a time and enjoy the ride. They don't call college the "greatest four years of your life" for nothing.

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