Recently, I had a conversation with my baby cousin, who is in the process of attaining her undergraduate degree, and it got me thinking… What kind of advice could I give someone just starting the life of semi-adult dating? I decided, A LOT. So to make that happen, I decided to post some tips for all you youngin’s out there from a person who’s now barely old enough “to know better.”
Going out on lots of dates with lots of people is probably the best advice anyone can give a college girl still unsure of what she wants. The best way to find out is to meet new people, date them, and test ’em out. This is by no means a suggestion for you to start sleeping with a lot of people (do what tickles you), but there’s nothing wrong with hanging out with people you are attracted to. That’s what they’re there for, right?
A lot of girls these days feel pressured to move quickly through the physical aspects of maturity. Trust me, you don’t need to rush. I’ve heard far more stories about girls and guys doing this and that with someone and ultimately regretting it than people who say that their first experiences were straight out of a fairy tale. Don’t become one of those statistics. Take your time. By all means do what makes you happy, but don’t run through the bases like you need to score the winning run when your season is just starting. Baseball references aside, when it’s right, you’ll know and if you have any doubt, it’s worth taking a 3 minute bathroom break to think it over.
Opposites Only Attract
I think one of the biggest problems about being young and dating is that people tend to want what they don’t have and they want life to be “exciting.” Unfortunately, this idea plays itself out in younger folk as a drive toward finding people that have different interests, backgrounds, styles, etc. Speaking from experience, while this may sound exciting, it generally doesn’t lead to a long-term relationship. Yes, having too much overlap can be boring, but having none is downright painful. Save yourself the heartache and find someone that loves what you love.
Stick to Your Guns
Just like you, all the boys in your age range were raised to believe they are God’s gift to Earth. This means that they will not believe in their heart of hearts that you could want nothing to do with them. This manifests itself in many ways including hissy fits, tears (in extreme cases), and sometimes, the “no means yes” mentality. So just as you needed to be assertive in attaining your boytoy, you must be assertive in letting these primadonnas know that you are no longer interested.
Space is a Good Thing (Even Lovers Need a Holiday)
Young love burns bright, fast, and with an intensity that rivals the Sun. This passion often translates into people spending every waking hour in close physical proximity or in constant electronic communication. Stop. Everyone needs time alone to appreciate the time they have together. Yes, go out (far away from each other). Yes, fall in love. But don’t make it your life. Chances are you aren’t going to be marrying your high school sweetheart which means when you build your world around them, and you guys break up, it will be devastating. So next time your SO says, “I’m going to hang out with my friends tonight.” Don’t sweat them, just tell them to have a good time and call up your homies.
Breaking Up Doesn’t Need to be Awkward
Dating is one of the ways we explore relationships with others. However, this doesn’t mean that having dated and breaking up with someone needs to color your relationship with them for the rest of your life. As you experience more and more meaningful relationships, you will realize that there are those you vibe with and those you don’t. You will further realize that not all potential significant others are good friends and not all good friends can be good SO’s. Accept this and realize that how you move on from a breakup is on you. You will make it as amicable or as awkward as you want it to be.
Having Potential and Realizing It Are 2 Different Things
When you’re young, all you really think about is L-O-V-E. Meaning, you are willing to overlook your unambitious, unmotivated and downright lazy significant other because they are “fun” or “sweet.” That’s all awesome… Until you leave the little bubble you’ve come to know as school. It is important to understand that while everyone has potential, the vast majority of people refuse to turn that potential into anything meaningful. It is important who you surround yourself with and this statement is doubly true for one you claim you’re in love with. Sometimes, you really need to take a few steps back and think about what the relationship means to you. Just sayin’… Don’t waste your time.