Dating tips for dummies

Graphic by Emily Burgess

by Kelly Kerrigan, Senior Staff Writer

Rom-coms have made us believe that dating is easy and fate will draw us together with our one true love. According to the movies, we’ll drop our wallet one day and our soulmate will be there to scoop it up with a Leonardo Dicaprio-esque smirk on their face. I’m not declaring that fate isn’t true or soulmates aren’t real, but dating in real life is not as easy as Nicholas Sparks crafted in his books.

Dating is hard. Dating in college is harder. Between busy schedules and preparing for the “real world,” it is difficult to stay on top of our love lives. 

Thankfully for you, I’ve done a lot of research and have compiled some of the best advice available for those who feel lost in the vast world of dating.

Environment is Everything 

Picking where to go on a first date can be tough. Restaurants are tricky because sometimes they’re too loud or distracting, and there is nothing worse than wondering if the Caesar salad you ate is wedged in between your front teeth while you talk to your date about your childhood. 

Netflix and Chilling, as enticing as it may seem, is not first-date material. Sitting on your date’s couch watching “Parasite” as their roommates walk in their shower towels cooking Asian food from Trader Joes is not romantic. 

Instead, try to pick somewhere that evokes conversation and provides an activity. Living near the beach is a perk San Diegans share, making a lovely first date choice with endless things to do. 

Do not force it. No matter how lonely you think you are. 

Some people fear being alone so much, so they jump to the first person they can find. Sure, being lonely can be a rough feeling to overcome, but rushing to date someone who may not be a match, in the end, can result in a lot bigger problems than being lonely. 

Instead, evaluate your options. Is this someone you want your roommates to meet? Do you value the same things? Do you enjoy spending your free time in the same way? If you cannot confidently say “yes” to any of these questions, then the relationship can result in one person changing too much to fit the life of the other. 

Do not rely on your phone too much to make it happen

In the modern world of dating, romance is not dead, but relying on your phone too much can send it to the grave. It is easy and tempting to stalk whoever you are going on a date with thoroughly on the internet. But don’t. 

Knowing too much can spark a lack of interest in the conversations that occur on date night because none of the information you hear is new.

Also don’t rely on social media too much as a form of communication. As much as using Snapchat or Instagram direct messages can help keep the conversation casual, if you really like this person and have their phone number, shoot them a text, ask them to hang out, channel life away from our phone screens. 

Communicating too much through screens can impose a new kind of stress on how to act when you actually have to talk to each other in person. The show “Catfish” exists for a reason. 

“The one” sometimes takes time to find

“You’ll know when you know” is what we’ve been told for centuries when talking about finding love. And although this advice may be true, how can you know when you didn’t try to get to know? 

It is easy to cross a prospective person off your list after a first date gone wrong or when the stars didn’t align the first time you met, but most people deserve a chance. If any part of you might still find a sense of interest in that person, dip your toes in the water and maybe, just maybe, you will uncover what you are looking for, or not. On that note …

If they aren’t reciprocating maybe they just aren’t feeling it 

Unrequited love, a story best known through Shakespeare’s very own “Romeo and Juliet.” Since then, narratives have been rewritten and reworked again and again with a story where one is finally recognized by their crush and they live happily ever after. 

Yeah, it happens, but don’t use that as a foundation for your beliefs. There’s a reason the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” is such a hit, even though that ended in the usual rom-com narrative with him actually being into her but didn’t know until the very end. The truth is sometimes they just aren’t feeling it. 

Although finding this out may hurt at first, take a step back, reflect and recognize that you deserve to be with someone who finds you as special as you do them. 

And finally, the most important piece of advice we all need to hear, no matter how many times we do. First said by the living legend, Ru Paul … 

“If you can’t love yourself how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” 

It seems to be a common theme of advice when talking about dating. As humans sometimes we need some reassurance, sometimes we aren’t emotionally stable enough to start dating, sometimes we have a poor image of who we are and that is okay. Most people feel this way. 

I once read a quote that said to view yourself the same way your best friends do, and since then I’ve found this to be one of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever read. Before jumping into a relationship, make sure you’re able to give yourself as much love as you give your significant other. You and them can then build your relationship around one another instead of building a filler for your insecurities. 

Be vulnerable and be true to you. 

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