Dating — or, at least, hooking up — in college is pretty easy. For four years, you're basically living in a bubble of like-minded people, and new opportunities for a relationship are just a party or a lecture hall away. Want to hook up with the hottie down the hall? A fun chat in the laundry room might just lead to an invitation to their dorm room. But eventually, you graduate from college, and hooking up with the hottie down the hall of your apartment building isn't quite as effortless. If you need some tips for dating after college, don't worry — you're not the only one.
After graduating from undergrad, I moved to a new city for grad school, and the prospect of dating someone outside my college bubble (where everyone felt eligible and safe simply because they attended the same school as me) was terrifying. Without clubs and study rooms and an established network of friends, how was I supposed to find someone to date? Elite Daily previously spoke to life coach Nina Rubin and online dating coach Damona Hoffman and — if you're in the same spot I was five years ago — here's what they said about approaching the dating scene post-college.
Nearly all of my single friends are on dating apps, but few of them do little more than idly scroll through matches every night before getting overwhelmed and giving up. If you really want a relationship, it takes time and commitment, so before you get lost in the seemingly endless stream of matches on dating apps, figure out what you want and go after it.
"One of my taglines on my website is Date Like It's Your Job," said Hoffman. "You can date by chance and hope you connect with your dream partner, or you can date strategically and find someone who is an ideal match for you." Rather than wasting your time by swiping aimlessly, or you can take your match selection process seriously and set up dates that are worth your time.
Finding the right person often involves taking risks, and that means doing things that push you out of your comfort zone. Whether it's an invitation from a new friend to attend a party, or a request from a cutie at the bar for your number, don't be afraid to say yes to prospects that scare you.
"I think love can happen anytime and we need to be open to all possibilities," Rubin said. "Don’t say no to love just because you’re new to a city or don’t know many people." In fact, don't say no to anything (unless it's straight-up a bad idea). Every new experience is a potential opportunity, after all.
In college — especially if you attended a particularly homogenous school like I did — you may have had a specific type of partner in mind. Post-college, you should challenge yourself to broaden your stipulations for prospective dates — you may just find yourself attracted to someone you would have never considered before.
"I find that it's far less daunting to consider that you're not looking for a needle in a haystack," Hoffman explained. "It's more like you're looking for a cute outfit on the clothing rack." Sure, it may take a little more time to find the right fit, but spending the time to find the right fit is worth it in the end (and you may end up with something you never expected).
When it comes to dating, you don't necessarily have to do all the legwork yourself. Take advantage of your new coworkers or fellow grad school students to branch into their network of friends. If new acquaintances invite you to happy hours or parties, accept, even if you won't know anyone there — you might just hit it off with someone.
"Ask friends (who have mutual friends) in your new city to introduce you to people and include you in fun activities," Rubin suggested. You never know if your new friends have cute single people in their life, and the only way to find out is to ask.
I won't lie to you — dating post-college can be challenging. But if you're willing to put in the work and willing to put yourself out there, it can pay off big-time.
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