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Sam Spills: Finding Your Fall Fling

Now that students are back and classes started, there’s a certain curious energy that comes over our campus. These first few weeks can make a huge difference in your entire year and the big question is: Who will you spend it with? Attending a school as large as VCU poses some problems for students as they try to forge new relationships; it can feel like a sea of strangers at times. The trick to meeting someone special is all about your attitude and the opportunities you take.

The beautiful thing about going to a university is the plethora of new experiences and the people you meet from them. Perhaps the easiest way to make connections with your peers is to join a student organization. Different clubs, intramural sports, campus magazines, fraternities and sororities give you the chance to make friends who are interested in some of the things you are. Any organization you join can not only help you build lasting friendships, but also contribute to your dating pool (and your resume!). The added benefit of club-related social activities is getting to meet with other clubs to collaborate, which will only grow your network.  

If student organizations aren’t your thing, don’t worry! Meeting people in class can be tricky, but also rewarding. The key to being noticed, ironically, is a pretty subtle effort at first. There are a few things you can do to ensure your success in meeting the person you’re interested in: walk with confidence, speak clearly in class and sit in plain view. This way, it’s clear that you’re an attentive student, one who may be able to help fellow classmates with questions in and out of class. Once you’ve built that kind of relationship with your class, you’re more likely to have someone talk to you and you’ll have the confidence to talk to them.

When it comes to being approachable, focus most on eye contact. Whether they approach you or you approach them, you need to engage your interest as much as possible. Be conscious of your body language and make sure that you keep an open stance when you talk to them, which will help make them a bit more comfortable. The subject of your conversation can be just about anything that’s relevant to the two of you (i.e. classes, majors, hometowns, favorite music, etc). As the conversation continues, you’re likely to discover mutual friends, a fun coincidence and (hopefully) mutual interests!

Of course, there will be parties. Birthdays, housewarmings and Friday night kick-backs are only a few examples of places where you can meet a potential mate. One of the most important things to consider is what you’re wearing and how you’re wearing it; you want to catch eyes for the right reasons, not because your pants look two sizes too small. Stay on trend (check out Snapshots!) and look for pieces of clothing with a unique pattern or an interesting cut that can stimulate conversation and make you stand out.

While it would be nice to have a chance encounter with a stranger that turns into a lifetime love affair, it is nearly impossible these days. Thankfully, hope is not lost. Thanks to apps like Tinder, OkCupid, PlentyOfFish and Grindr, the social anxiety of putting yourself out there is lessened and you can relax a bit. This type of site can introduce you to people you never would have met otherwise and really help two people get to know each other prior to a date. Each app has its own layout and is meant for different things, depending on what you’re looking for. Tinder and Grindr are very casual and require a bit more work in terms of finding people worth dating, but you can also cultivate new friendships. On the other hand, PlentyOfFish and OkCupid dig a bit deeper into the all too important specifics. I suggest that if you’re looking for something serious, check out the latter two.  Remember to be cautious, especially on your first date. Use your intuition when meeting people in person and always let a friend know what you’re up to. 

Once you’ve got yourself a date, the rest is easy. A casual lunch or coffee date is ideal for your first meeting because both are fairly nonchalant, which will make you and your date a little more relaxed and willing to open up to one another. Eye contact is very important, and so is light physical contact (but use your judgment). During the date, let the conversation flow naturally and be genuine. If you lie or even bend the truth to appeal to the person you’re dating, you risk perpetuating an unfulfilling string of dates.  Keep the conversation light, but try and touch on topics that are important to you, such as family. This will help make a deeper connection and will give you greater understanding of how compatible you and that person will be. However, save topics like marriage, children and settling down for another time.

Clothing and style are very telling of a person’s attributes, so be true to yourself and to your comfort when looking through your wardrobe. You want to pick tones that will compliment your features and garments that fit well. Another way to catch your date’s attention is with perfume (or cologne, for you boys reading); you want to engage every sense of the person whom you are approaching, and scent is only second to vision in this case. 

Dating can be so rewarding in many ways, you just have to be willing to work. The best advice I can give is this: always carry yourself with confidence and grace, but have an approachable demeanor. 


Sam is Her Campus VCU’s relationship expert! Submit your anonymous question in this form and check back to see if he answers your question.



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Samuel Elder was born and Raised in Staunton, Va. He is currently attending VCU and pursuing a bachelor's in business.
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