There are some habits we get into that are not easy to break. When it comes to dating, however, forming immature habits can hurt your chances at a great relationship. We talked to Adam LoDolce, dating coach, speaker, author and founder of SexyConfidence.com, about immature dating behaviors common among college women—and how to act instead.
1. Playing hard to get
We’ve all heard that playing hard to get is a guaranteed way to make someone chase us. It’s all about wanting what you can’t have, right? Wrong. Try being confident instead. “Be open about your intentions,” says LoDolce. “I wouldn’t advocate straight up saying ‘I like you,’ but compliments are a very powerful way to show interest. ‘You’re one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met’ with a smile is more than enough.” This is the mature move, and it will yield much more positive results. If you are looking for a relationship, LoDolce suggests letting the person know your intentions. Try saying, “I’m not really the type of girl that does the whole ‘hook up’ thing. I’ve always been more of the relationship type,” says LoDolce. Being subtle is one thing, but there’s no need to make yourself unapproachable!
2. Relying on him to make the first move
Similarly to playing hard to get, waiting around for a guy to make the first move is commonly accepted dating conduct. But this is 2015, and feminism is in full swing. “Women should start conversations with guys anywhere and anytime they want,” says LoDolce. “Be easy to approach, hard to attain. Start the conversation and let him go from there.” Don’t wait for him to text you, call you or ask you to hang out. He might not even know you are interested. Pick up the phone yourself. “I find it flattering when girls make the first move,” says Ben, a sophomore at the University of British Columbia. “It takes a lot of the pressure away from what we are ‘supposed to do’ as males.” So make that move! He’ll be glad you reached out.
3. Trying to make your crush jealous
LoDolce cites this behavior as something he sees frequently among college women. Going out at night and purposefully flirting with other people in front of him or her is not the right way to get attention. It reflects badly on you, plus it has major consequences. “Men [and women] will reciprocate,” says LoDolce. “Treat people how you would want to be treated.” If you wouldn’t want someone you like doing this to you, why would you do it to him or her?
4. Making your date wait
If he or she sends you a text, there’s no need to wait a certain amount of time before responding. Rather than making the other person miss you, it may cause him or her to get annoyed or think you don’t care about the conversation. The same goes for showing up late to set plans or making your date sit outside your dorm while you finish getting ready. “Be aware of your actions and before you do anything, just ask yourself: ‘is this how I would want to be treated?’ If yes, do it [and] if no, don’t,” says LoDolce. It’s as simple as that.
Related: Guys’ Take On: Your Texting Habits
5. Pushing off the DTR talk
So, you’ve been on more than a few dates and you text each other 24/7. You want to take your relationship to the next level, but you’re worried he or she doesn’t feel the same. Sound familiar? According to LoDolce, we tend to form these habits due to a “lack of experience and understanding that these types of behaviors only lead to unhealthy relationships.” Waiting for him or her to define the relationship is not only immature, but it might make your crush think you don’t care. Contrary to popular belief, people aren’t mind readers. He or she doesn’t necessarily know that you’re waiting for the topic to be brought up. Start the conversation yourself; whatever happens, you’ll be glad you did.
6. Always expecting him to pay
Another common immature dating habit is expecting the guy to pay every time. There’s no need to get upset if he doesn’t buy you dinner. Is it really the end of the world? “Just realize in college that both of you are probably broke,” says LoDolce. “Sure, he can pay for the first date, but it’s important to let him know that you don’t need to go to fancy places, you just enjoy spending time with him. Then offer to pay for dates moving forward. Now that’s mature.” Owen, a sophomore at Emerson College, agrees. “If it’s a first date and I’ve asked the girl out, it’s less ridiculous for her to expect me to pay. If they’re regular dates, I think it’s more questionable,” says Owen. Again, progressive relationships are not a bad thing. While it is courteous for him to treat you on the first date, it shouldn’t be accepted as the norm. Consider paying for yourself, or even treating him!
7. Being passive aggressive
We’ve all been guilty of this at some point. Sometimes, it feels easier to lash out than to discuss what is really bothering you. But acting in a passive aggressive manner will only lead to more conflict. “If you have something you need to communicate with him [or her], then sit down with him [or her] and be open and honest about it,” says LoDolce. “For example, don’t unfriend [them] on Facebook because [they] liked [someone else’s] photo.” Acting maturely will encourage the person you’re seeing to respond the same way, as well as to act responsibly in the future.
While these habits have been ingrained in many of us since we were young, it is possible to break them. The key is to act like the confident, mature adult you are. It’s the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. So lose these immature behaviors ASAP. Like LoDolce says, “You don’t want to be figuring this stuff out when you’re 40, because who knows, by that point it could be too late.”