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I started off this semester by saying I would stop casually dating and would actively look for a relationship. What I didn’t think about was for me to find a relationship, I’d need to date around to define what I like, what I don’t, what my priorities are, and the qualities that I look for in a partner. 


So, this semester, instead of getting into a relationship, I went on many dates and met new people. More importantly, I learned many new things about dating that will help me in the future when I actually get into a relationship.


Here are a few things that I learned about dating this semester.


Some People Will Think It’s Okay To Play With Your Trust


The truth is, not everyone has the best intentions all the time. Some people have no problems with telling you lies, even though what they say might hurt you. Others might say anything just to get you to do what they want – having no problem pretending to care about you just to achieve their end goal.


My best tip would be to not trust people so readily; actually get to know them before telling things that are too personal or that shows your vulnerability. Have them earn your trust not only with their words, but also with their actions. 


Unless They Ask You to Date You, Assume You Are Not the Only Person They Are Talking to


One thing that I noticed is very prevalent in college is hookup culture. That means intimacy and/or sex without necessarily getting into a committed relationship or even getting feelings involved at all. The popularity of hookup culture often outweighs the admiration of commitment. 


The bad part, however, is many times they won’t be clear about it and will act as if you are in a relationship – only that you are not – and they are doing the same thing with multiple other people. 


My suggestion would be to always be clear about your intentions up-front and ask for theirs. It’s better to have this awkward conversation right in the beginning than get heartbroken later – and remember: unless they say they want to date you, assume they may be talking to other people. 


It’s Okay To Go Out on Multiple Dates


It is okay to go out with multiple people! Go out with more than one person and actually analyse how your dates went. What was something that one person did that you thought was attractive? What was another thing that left you annoyed? Are the good aspects of them enough for you to work through the bad ones? 


Those are just a few of the questions that you should ask yourself after going out on dates with them. After a while, you become quicker to identify the green and red flags. There is nothing wrong with evaluating your options and actually setting up standards. 


Sometimes You Are Better off as Friends


It happened not once, but twice this semester that I went out with someone on dates only to realize I wasn’t attracted to them romantically. However, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a bad date. 


It is okay to become friends with the people that you go out with and realize that you are not attracted to romantically. In fact, they probably felt the same thing that you did. So, if you had a nice connection, there is nothing wrong with keeping in contact and becoming friends. That just means one more person that you have in your life to have fun with. 


Don’t Close Yourself to New Opportunities 


Don’t stop yourself from going on dates because you’ve had bad experiences in the past. Each person is different, and you should not hold yourself back because of someone else’s mistakes. Just because you didn’t have a good time with one person, it doesn’t mean that all your experiences will be negative.


Give someone new a chance and you might be surprised. Some of my best dates, with great memories, were actually unplanned. In fact, they were with people I didn’t even expect to go out with in the first place. 


Take a chance and try something new.
Renata is from Amazonas, Brazil, and studies international politics and broadcast journalism at Penn State. Her hobbies include reading and writing, editing pictures, and dancing for fun. She likes to learn new languages, currently speaks four, and is trying to learn a fifth. Fun fact: she wrote a book, but let’s not talk about that.
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