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Sex + Relationships

A 20-Year Old’s Guide to Dating

This article is inspired by one of my favorite people, Flora Garcia, who has been with me through so many life phases and has always shown me a different side to things. Thank you for being you.

Be honest- With them, but most importantly, yourself. Figure out what you’re looking for before you go looking. Especially if you’re using a dating app. Nothing good can come from that for either side of the relationship.
Don’t go out looking for a long-term relationship and settle for something less- If you’re hoping it will become more, chances are that it won’t, and you’ll just end up heartbroken in the end. I’d like to say that goes both ways too, don’t get into a relationship with someone thinking they know that you’re not wanting something long term.

Don’t settle- If you’re looking you might as well find something you actually like. Compare dating to shopping in an expensive store; you’re not going to spend all your money on an item you don’t actually like. Not that people are objects to be purchased or owned obviously, that shouldn’t even have to be said.

Don’t waste your time if you aren’t open minded- Now is the easiest time in your life to find someone. We are young and for most of us nothing in our life is permanent yet. Now is the best time to be doing this kind of thing.

Post pictures that actually look like you- Obviously, this is only for online dating and probably seems like something that should just be common sense. But it isn’t for some people. Now, I’m not saying you can’t edit out a zit or smooth out your hair if it looks a little crazy. You don’t need to though; everyone has zits and messy hair sometimes. That’s just what it is. What I am saying is don’t only post filtered pictures of yourself or change anything that is a permanent part of your face/body.

Don’t expect to find love immediately- Some days will be easy and fun; some will be hard, and you’ll feel discouraged. That’s just how it is, I’m being honest.

Ask your friends for advice- Seriously, do it. Most people in their 20’s have had at least one relationship and can either give you do’s or don’ts.

Join a club/group- There is no easier way to make a connection with someone than having something in common. If you’re in college, this option is a lot easier than if not, but regardless there are options everywhere. Find something you’re actually interested in and join. Having a shared interest with someone can give you a great opening to conversation.

Be careful with who you go out with- This is an important one, I cannot stress this enough. This is for everyone, but especially for people using dating apps. NEVER ride in a car with someone you just met. I don’t care if they are your best friend’s brother/sister/cousin. If you’re just meeting, you need to go on your own. Meet in a public place, I don’t care if you live in a small town. If they’re worth it, they will drive to a public place to meet you.

Don’t pretend to be someone you are not- The truth will always come out and it’s not worth it. Find someone who loves you for who you are.

Don’t date someone you wouldn’t want to introduce to your friends and loved ones- I’m not saying don’t date someone your uptight family member/members you don’t even get along with wouldn’t like. I’m talking about the people who know you best and are closest to you.

Everyone has bad dates- You gotta keep trying.

Find someone who loves you in the way you need to be loved- I know I’ve said this before, but I cannot stress it enough. It is so important to feel loved in all the ways you need and the older I get the more I understand that. I recommend everyone read “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. It is a great resource for figuring out things about yourself that you didn’t realize even mattered that much.

You don’t have to have someone to be happy- I used to think that if I didn’t have a significant other that I was just going through a rough patch and I could be happy again once I was dating. That’s not how it has to be. That’s not how it should be. I know this article is about dating tips, but I have to tell the truth. As much as I adore my boyfriend and spending time with him, I also love being alone. My journey to love myself is an ongoing battle and I work for it every day, but it’s not something you have to do alone either. If you have a significant other, they can help you, my boyfriend has taught me more about loving myself than I could’ve learned without him. Loving myself has given me the ability to appreciate my boyfriend and our relationship even more. There is something more important than being loved by someone else and it’s loving yourself.

A 20 year old transfer student and campus trendsetter at UNT who is passionate about equality. I love shoes and talking about things that hopefully help others.
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