The 6 People Everyone Dates in Their Mid 20s Because TBH, It’s A Confusing Time

Dating in your 20s is a minefield, y’all. Some people are seeking to cuff someone up and settle down, some are just trying to get laid, and others — well, they just don’t know what they want. Amidst all the unpredictability, one thing’s for sure: There are certain types of people everyone dates in their mid 20s. It dawns on you while gabbing with friends over a bottle of wine as you realize that barista your bestie it talking about sounds eerily familiar. Or perhaps while watching Girls, you can’t help but think that Adam reminds you of a guy you had a fling with a few summers back. Or you overhear a girl at the bar complaining about her stoner BF who's driving her up the wall and you think: "you too?"

Undoubtedly, your 20s are a confusing, albeit exciting, time. You’re starting to figure out what you want to do with your life. You’re finally making enough money to pay for your cell phone bill, fancy cheese from the farmer’s market, and some Thirsty Thursday after-work beers with co-workers. You’ve got youth on your side, and in a way, it truly does feel like the world is your oyster. When it comes to dating, there will surely be a few pitfalls along your journey. Fret not: Many of us have found ourselves in relationships (or non-relationships) with these characters. If you've crossed to the latter half of your 20s, the following people will probably begin to sound familiar.

The “Good Guy/Girl" (Who Isn't)

Here’s the thing. If someone calls themselves a “good guy” or a “good girl,” chances are, they probably aren’t. Why? Well, it’s the equivalent of the unhappy couple who feels the need to post Instagram after Instagram proving how happy they are. If you have to describe yourself that way, you be overcompensating for a deep-seated insecurity. This person may seem pretty nice at first. They plan some cute dates, they communicate regularly (who knew humans actually still call other humans on the phone? As in, dial a number and speak?) and they’ve got some old-school chivalry moves up their sleeve.

Still, something tells you that deep down, they’re not quite as nice as they pretend to be. Maybe it’s how they keep casually peppering into your conversations that they’re a feminist, but then say things that suggest the contrary. Maybe it’s how whenever they compliment you, it still seems to come off like an insult (“negging” is so real). Either way, you eventually realize — hopefully, sooner rather than later — that you’ve got a wolf in sheep’s clothing on your hands.

The Adult-Child

The funny thing about your 20s is that maturity levels range so vastly. While some people move out of their house at 18 to go to college and are living in their own apartments by the age of 20, others may be living at home until they’re 28. While some have to support themselves through school by working part or full-time, others have the luxury of using their parents’ credit cards.

As such, the odds are that at some point you’ll find yourselves dating the adult-child — as in, a child in an adult’s body. They may look like they’re 25, but they certainly don’t act like it (the fact that their mom is still doing their laundry may be a hint). Note: just because they live at home doesn't mean they're an adult-child. Independence and maturity can show in so many other ways. You’ll realize they never really grew up when they throw a tantrum because they don’t get their way, or resort to name-calling during an argument.

The One Who’s Great On Paper

It’s the strangest thing. You can’t seem to find anything wrong with this one, and yet it still doesn’t quite feel right. They're attractive, reliable, and they have an impressive job. They call when they say they’re going to call. The conversation on your dates is engaging. Your parents would swoon at the fact that they graduated from an elite university.

Regardless, there’s something missing for you. But since you can’t put your finger on what it is, you see it through. You date them for months because you think, “well, they seem to check the boxes.” Eventually, you’ll come to realize that just because someone is great on paper doesn’t make them great in real life. They just don’t have the “it factor” you’re looking for — that je ne sais quois. They’re a pair of stain-resistant khakis when you’re looking for waxed black cigarette jeans. Oh, well.

The F*ckboy/F*ckgirl

Maybe we all have a little bit of masochism in us, after all. At some point, many of us somehow end up with a f*ckboy or f*ckgirl — which honestly, is so much worse than a player. While a player doesn’t pretend to be anything but a commitment-resistant, smooth-talking SOB, this shady character actually kind of pretends to want a relationship with you.

Those flirty late night texts they shoot over on a Thursday night? They’re probably mass sending those out to a dozen contacts in their phone. They talk a big game about the elaborate, romantic things they want to do with you, but never seem to follow through. Instead of scheduling a real date, you get a lot of “we should hang soon” with no actual commitment to a plan. Basically, they say whatever you want to hear to keep you coming back for more, but when you actually try to DTR, they sneakily avoid the conversation entirely (they “don’t believe in labels,” after all).

The Ex

What’s that they say about the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results? Apparently, sometimes we need to make a mistake several times to learn from it. Maybe you send a text a couple drinks deep when you’re feeling lonely. Perhaps you run into them at a mutual friend’s housewarming party. Either way, you can’t seem to see clearly through the haze of nostalgia. You decide to give them another shot because for some reason, you only remember all the good times — the incredible late night conversations, the spontaneous road trips, and the mind blowing make outs — instead of the stuff that caused you to split.

While sometimes, this may actually work out (perhaps poor timing was the culprit of your failed relationship last time around, or you’ve both simply matured in your time apart). Let’s be real: that’s the exception to the rule. The majority of the time, the sequel to your ex saga ends and you’re left wondering, “WTF was I thinking?”

The "Might Be The One" One

If you’re lucky, you may find a diamond in the rough during your 20s. You could meet them through work, a mutual friend, on a dating app, or IRL at an event. Regardless, something about this one feels… different. Your heart skips a beat when you see a text from them. You feel unusually comfortable around them. You want to introduce them to everyone in your circle, including — gasp — the parents.

The best part about this one? There’s no anxiety about seeming eager to see them again or overthinking every message you send. You get the sense that they’re on the same page, so you don’t have to play any games. Maybe this is “the one,” you think. Maybe this was the light at the end of the dark tunnel that was dating in your 20s after all. Even if it doesn’t work out, this person will help you to realize what’s possible. They will shake your standards, show you what you deserve, and ultimately, help you get closer to finding “the one.”

No one said dating in your 20s would be easy. What better way to figure out what want than to realize what you don't want? These experiences may be confusing, frustrating, or even downright painful — but all of them will help you to hone in on what you're ultimately looking for. At the very least, they make great stories to exchange over Sunday brunch. Trust me, you'll look back on every one of these lessons learned, and laugh.

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