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8 Things Not to Do During Cuffing Season

I shivered in the kitchen at work while complaining about maybe the thousandth bad date of my life to my best friend only a few weeks ago. She laughed at me, maybe not realizing how lucky she is to be a solid relationship with someone as talented and charming as she is. She smiled brightly at me and said, “Maybe you should stick with it, it’s cuffing season and you might get a nice Christmas gift for all this trouble!” I broke it off with the poor guy that night. I just couldn’t go out again when I’d rather be by myself instead. 

With the weather getting colder, and so many opportunities for cute couple activities (mainly cuddling) presented with early sunsets and three of the main holidays of the year approaching, it may look impossible to stay single. Even my friends who share my skepticism about relationships and monogamy find themselves catching feelings around this time of the year. Sometimes, I even give it the old college try.

Sadly for me, and maybe fortunately for the rest of the world, I have made some truly astounding dating mistakes in the past five years. I’ve learned a lot though, and some of the best lessons are learned from watching others. In this spirit I have compiled a definitive list of things not to do or to beware of during this cuffing season, for the sake of your dignity and laughter.

1.     Never ever pretend to like something to get someone to like you more. If it doesn’t blow up in your face, you will at least regret it. Currently, the biggest regret of my  life is that I went along with a certain cutie’s belief that Magna Carta…Holy Grail was a fantastic album. It’s embarrassing and I sincerely doubt that disagreeing with him would have ended the fling. All I did was make myself uncomfortable!

2.     Watch out for any shady behavior. No, this is not a license to go through somebody’s messages, but you should start to wonder why someone only wants to hang out late at night on weekdays. Maybe they work in food service so they’re forced into a night owl type schedule, but they could also be hiding you from someone else. It’s happened to me, and it was a crushing blow to my ego that I had been so clueless the whole time. While other people’s behavior is not a reflection on you, it’s always good to look out for yourself in these situations.

3.     Do not take tinder seriously. Everyone I know has at least one ridiculous tinder story. Mine begins with a perfectly nice guy, who now probably hates me for my work schedule. He was really nice, the kind of nice that makes you want to take a step backwards like “hey, I just met you and this is crazy…you cannot possibly like me this much.” We’re talking asking permission for hugs and opening car doors. He was clearly looking for more than a hook up or a person to hit the bars with him. At the time, all I had time for was a drinking pal much to his disappointment and my embarrassment.

4.     In realtion to what’s mentioned in #3, it is a bad idea to be on tinder in your date’s car! I have done this exactly twice in my life and it’s probably one of the meanest things I could have done to either of them. By all means, be ready to move on and replace people that just are not doing it for you, but they do not need to know applications are opening back up while they’re still on site. I imagine that the two guys I did this to tell people that I am the devil. I probabaly deserve it for what I did, but the tinder thing never works out anyway.

5.     Never ever be afraid to say no. This doesn’t mean just sex, you can say no to emotional things you’re not comfortable with or going to movies you don’t want to see. No one wins when you don’t set good boundaries. Last spring I started talking to a friend from high school and things got really complicated. It was almost completely my fault for not being honest about not being ready to commit to another person and for failing to communicate when I was mad.

6.     Remember the importance of your friendships. Your friends shouldn’t be left out of all the cold weather activities that usually end up being dates. Pumpkin picking, cookie baking, looking at Christmas lights are all super fun things to do with your girls. Friendships are so precious and important and they’re absolutely not worth losing for a relationship in the early stages.

7.     Don’t be the person who bases all their interactions with a significant other on complaining about their family or friends, and then only complains about their significant other to their friends and family. This is the most irritating habit that we all fall victim to sometimes. For a long time, my best friend didn’t realize why I absolutely hated her boyfriend before I ever met him – it was because every time we talked about him, she was either crying or yelling! However, I’m guilty of this as well, I have a  friend who always wonders why I hang out with guys because when I speak to them I tell them how ridiculous they’re being.

8.     Cutting off significant others who are negative can be essential to success and happiness. I have spent a lot of time with people who are not happy for me when I accomplish things or set goals; Once, I went out with a guy who refused to be happy for me no matter what I did. When I booked a plane ticket to Ireland to explore the country, he made it about him figuring out how to travel. When I was selected for another alternative break he said, “It’s about time you got a win,” which almost got me thrown out of the bar because it took every ounce of self control I had not to punch him! I realized that night that I was being held back because his negativity was making me somebody I didn’t want to be. 

The important thing is learning from your mistakes. I’ve certainly learned a lot in years of dating. Remember, everybody just wants to feel good, so to avoid what not to do always do what’s best for you while not hurting others in the process.

Kayleigh Harper is a senior at Towson University studying Law & American Civilization where she mostly stresses about her GPA and eats chicken nuggets in Paws. She is an active sister of the Beta Nu chapter of Alpha Epsilon Phi, where she holds two chair positions: philanthropy and community service. When she isn't aggressively tweeting about current events, she can be found volunteering, travelling or going to alternative concerts. After graduation, she is torn between pursuing a career in campaign work or moving to the Pacific Northwest and opening a dainty bakery. 
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