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Sex + Relationships

3 College Relationship Green Flags (& 3 Red Flags)

For some people, dating is a part of the college experience. Once you get over a high school partner or finally feel ready to pursue a relationship, dating in college can be exciting and uncharted waters. There's a ton of new fish in the sea, and meeting new people can provide you the opportunity to learn more about yourself, your desires, and what you actually need out of a relationship.

However, with so many new people suddenly walking into your life, it can be hard to distinguish the red flags from the green. After all, with life moving so fast, all of the colors kind of seem to blur together. That's why Her Campus is breaking down some of the biggest deal breakers and makers in college relationships—to save you the heartache later down the line.

Get ready to put yourself out there (if you're comfortable, of course!), and keep in mind these 3 green (and red) flags when dating in college.

Green flag: They're Genuinely Interested In You.

Don't picture this unless you want some serious nightmare fuel: you're on a date with a person, and about 10 minutes in, they pull out their phone and start scrolling through Twitter. There's no feeling that causes a heart to sink more than being around someone that isn't interested in you or what you have to say—especially if you're genuinely interested in them. Talk about an ick.

One of the ultimate green flags in a partner is someone who actually likes you as a person, not just as a profile on a dating app. It's hot when the person across from you is willing to put the social media world on pause to learn more about you. Bonus points if they ask questions about your life—now that's sexy.

RED FLAG: PEOPLE HAVE WARNED YOU ABOUT THEM. A LOT.

Here's a weird thing about college: it seems like a giant place at first, where nobody knows each other. However, a few weeks into your freshman year, you'll find out that school isn't as big as it seems. College dating culture has a way of making your ginormous campus just that much smaller, and chances are, someone knows (or has dated) that person you've been talking to. And if they reach out to you with a warning or hookup horror story, don't ignore it.

Maybe they were a complete jerk, serial cheater, or a huge fan of the whole "hump-and-dump" hookup technique. Players run rampant on college campuses, bestie. So, if someone—or several people—comes up to you to warn you about a prospective date, don't ignore it! Proceed with caution and trust your gut.

GREEN FLAG: THEY DON'T TALK SH*T ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE.

Gossiping is normal in high school, I get it. But, in college, you don't really have time to be bothered by the lives of others. Between exams, clubs, a social life, and making time for yourself, spending time conversing about the lives of other people can seem so...juvenile. So, when you're on a date with another person, it can be refreshing to talk about something other than the lives of other people.

The fact of the matter is: if someone is talking about someone else behind their back, especially if it's poorly, they're most likely doing the same about you. Keeping this in mind, it's a major green flag to talk to a prospective partner that wants to talk about their passions, your hobbies, shared morals, taste in media...really anything other than other people.

RED FLAG: THEY SUCK AT COMMUNICATING.

Communication is key in a relationship. So, if they suck at communicating this early in the game, it's safe to say that they might not be the one. Trust me, you don't want that smoke.

Communicating goes far beyond just texting each other. Communication is all about how a person expresses themselves to others—how they feel about a certain thing, if they're feeling any particular way about something, and (most importantly) how they feel about you. If you're seeing someone who has no interest in expressing these things to you, perhaps it's time to swipe left.

GREEN FLAG: THEY TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES, AND AREN'T AFRAID TO SHOW IT.

College is the time to be rid of people that don't take good care of themselves...we're too old for that BS! If a prospective partner is someone who takes pride in the way they look, it can be the ultimate green flag. Not in a self-centered way, but in a way that shows that they care about themselves enough to put that effort in. Having a personal style, and being unapologetic about it, is incredibly attractive.

But, this goes beyond the physical. Dating someone who takes care of themselves mentally and internally is a major turn-on. Someone who isn't afraid and is unashamed of using mental health resources, like therapy, is a sign of a person who cares about themselves well beyond the way they look: it's a sign of maturity. And that, bestie, is a green flag.

RED FLAG: THEY'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE HOOKUP.

For some, college is the time to participate in hookup culture. And if that's your MO, power to you (just participate in casual sex safely!). However, if you're someone looking for a relationship, it's best to skip over that person who only hits you up a night with a "u up?"

If you and the person you're seeing aren't on the same page about your relationship (or lack thereof), it's best to just let it go. Let's face it: a relationship won't work if one person is in it for the label, and the other wants something casual, and no strings attached. Save yourself the heartbreak and find yourself a partner that's on the same page as you. You deserve only the best...don't forget that!

julianna is an associate editor at her campus where mainly covers sex and relationships, wellness, mental health, astrology, and all things gen-z. when she's not writing burning hot takes and spilling way too much about her personal life online, you can find julianna anywhere books, beers, and bands are.
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