November 15th, 2006 03:57 EST
Dos and Don'ts of College Dating
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. " " Pride & Prejudice Right.
The times have certainly changed since Mr. Darcy romanced Lizzie Bennett (or was it the other way around?) Yet, for students in the thick of the college dating scene, the hassles of courtship are still the same. Each fall, college campuses across the nation are flooded with students looking for a love connection. Some want long-term relationships, some are looking for a rebound, and plenty of others are seeking no-strings flings. How does one wade through these treacherous waters, and manage to avoid the Scylla of wounded pride and the Charybdis of a broken heart?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. After all, the art of romance has never been known for its simplicity. You can, however, avoid disaster by keeping an eye out for telltale signs that a potential relationship is a train-wreck waiting to happen. Not only this, but being certain of what you truly want in a significant other is essential to maintaining one`s sanity in this dating game. So, for those who feel that they may need some tips and tricks, the following are some Dos and Don`ts of the college dating scene.
One of the most important Dos for those interested in any kind of hook-up is to make yourself available. Zoning-out in your dorm room while listening to the new Death Cab for Cutie and dreaming of an emo soul mate won`t actually make that soul mate magically materialize. You need to get out into the world, because it`s the only way that you will find what you are looking for. The key to meeting that special someone is "just as in real estate "location, location, location! For instance, if you`re looking for someone who is passionate about music, then checking out a local rock show or a jazz lounge might be a good bet.
Now, if you find yourself touting your wares to no avail, or if you`re of the bashful variety, never discount your classes as great ways to meet people. Last semester, I found myself attracted to a guy in my computer class. Despite some harmless flirtation slipped in-between assignments, nothing gave me the definitive feeling of Yes, he likes me. " Still, on the very last day of class, I managed to work-up the courage to talk to him. My heart was in my chest, because like plaid and orange, bravery is just not my thing. Nevertheless, one two-hour conversation later, numbers were exchanged and I had a date for the next evening. The lesson to be learned from this? If you take a liking to one of your classmates, Do take a chance and talk to them. Sure, it`s a risk, but it could be one worth taking. And starting off with casual, friendly conversation is obviously better than professing undying love right off the bat.
You see, a major Don`t of college dating is coming on too strong. If there is one thing that I have learned since beginning my adventures in romance, it is that what one person may perceive as flirtation is another person`s perception of friendliness. If someone seems like they are flirting with you, there is always the chance that they`re simply friendly in nature. Given this, it is best to tread these particular dating waters carefully. Take this skin-crawling experience from Stephanie Zambriczki`s freshman year at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.
I had a guy who lived in the dorm room next to mine. He was kind of quirky, weird, but friendly. He had somewhat of a crush on me for a time and decided [to] drop/add a few of his classes to fit mine, all of mine. "
Desperation is never in style. A clearly freaked out Zambriczki`s advice for the overzealous is to relax, take things slow, and understand that college is a time for fun. Not, she adds, restraining orders. "
Another Don`t is a shaky first approach. Jack Newquist`s time at the Illinois Institute of Technology taught him the importance of having a well-timed, well-prepared advance. Remember, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Newquist`s advice is to limit your actual approach to 3 seconds, as any longer makes you look like a scary creep. " Not only this, but avoid turning into a one-man Spanish Inquisition. Firing-off question after question is a bad idea for any social interaction, and Newquist suggests sharing statements about yourself instead, keeping the conversation as interesting as possible.
Of course, the biggest dating Do "for college and every other dating scene "is to be yourself. This goes hand-in-hand with the biggest dating Don`t "altering who you are to impress your intended romantic target. It`s flat-out lame to change who you are to attract someone else. Eventually, the charade will falter and an uncomfortable situation will result. In fact, the best course of action in every situation in life is to stay true to your own personality and instincts.
Finally, for those tired of searching for their kindred in classes, bars and clubs, there is another option. Thanks to internet technology, every college student can now have their very own Chuck Woolery in the form of online dating services targeted specifically at the campus set. Sites such as Campus Kiss (www.campusaccess.com) and College Personals (personals.student.com) offer the opportunity to browse the personal ads of other college students just as fed-up as you are. Internet dating is a hot topic, and whether or not it is a Do or a Don`t is truly a matter of personal opinion. Needless to say, those interested in creating and/or answering such personal ads should always exercise caution and common sense when establishing contact. Little is as it seems on the internet, and some extra precaution is definitely warranted when dealing with this dating medium.
So, there you have it, a bit of advice for surviving the college dating scene. The best plan of attack is to relax, take a few chances, dust yourself off when you crash and burn, and keep moving forward. All you have to do is flash a smile, bat your eyelashes, borrow a little confidence from Ron Burgundy, and you`ll be just fine.