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Dating in College: Expectation vs. Reality

Dating in College: Expectation vs. Reality

College is viewed in a completely different way before and after you attend. While kids and teenagers envision a place where they can run wild and free, adults look back at it as a valuable experience where they learned the necessary lessons to prepare for life. The reality is somewhere in the middle.

Dating has its own misconceptions, and dating in college gets even crazier. If you’re looking for real talk about sex, dating, and love in college, look no further. Here’s the perception and reality of dating in college.

1. Finding the One

Expectation: 

    Kids have this vision of a perfect person. They’re not looking for just any mate–they’re looking for that perfect soul mate. After hearing every set of parents discuss how they met and fell in love, kids have a perception that their ideal fantasy hook-up can and will happen.

    Reality: 

      Hindsight is 20/20. When adults reflect back on how they fell in love with their partner, they tell you an abbreviated 10-minute version of a story that took them 20 years (multiply by 525,600 to see how many minutes) to live through. They’re leaving out the parts where they desperately fantasized about celebrities or the popular girls in school. Real people are much different–keep your expectations in check.

      2. Sexting

      Expectation: 

        When you get someone’s number, you get excited, no matter how cool you try to act. You want to imagine the other person being equally giddy to hear from you. You start with some flirty messages, and the next thing you know, you’re sending nudes and suggestive texts. If they respond, they must be into it.

        Reality: 

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          Sexting is awkward. The least sexy thing I can do is play on my phone. Trying to replicate a sexual experience through text is a waste of time and it makes everyone uncomfortable. Save it for the date.

          3. Romance

          Expectation: 

            Now that everyone’s a mature adult over the age of 18, you imagine having creative and romantic encounters with mature college men and women. These are the cream of our nation’s crop, so they’ll have their act together and know how to treat you right.

            Reality: 

              College guys are selfish and ignorant, while the girls are clumsy and awkward. Nobody knows what they’re doing. They are all still just students, albeit older ones. Thirty-year-olds looks back at their college selves the same way college students looks back at their preteen selves.

              4. The First Kiss

              Expectation: 

                All the Hollywood movies make it look like the first kiss is the most important indicator of whether or not a relationship will last. So much pressure is put on that first kiss, and you want to see fireworks like you’ve always heard.

                Reality: 

                  You don’t realize how bad college students are at kissing until you kiss them. Kiss enough of them, and you’ll get better. Unfortunately, they’ll still try too hard to replicate what they’ve seen in the media and on the Internet.

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                  5. College Girls

                  Expectation: 

                    College girls are real women. These strong, smart, and sophisticated women must be like the ones on Sex and the City. You’re no longer dealing with the misguided and annoying teenage girls you grew up with–you’re in the big leagues.

                    Reality: 

                      These “women” may sound intelligent (and are likely quoting something they learned in their freshman Sociology class about how they are), but they’re every bit the same mess you are. They’re out of their parents’ house for the first time, and they’re learning how to act. It takes baby steps to maturity, and they’re not even close, no matter what some guy told them to get in their pants.

                      6. College Guys

                      Expectation: 

                        Tired of all those silly boys trying to lie their way into your pants, you’ve finally reached college–a place where you can date real men. These men are intelligent, witty, and sophisticated. It’s so refreshing to be surrounded by scholars and academics. Finally you can have an intelligent conversation with like-minded people who like you for your brains instead of your body.

                        Reality

                          The only thing worse than walking by those ignorant construction workers making cat calls at you is walking by a frat house. College guys are as sophisticated as a Twinkie. They may have ambition and all these great ideas, but they’re none of those things they say they are–they just aspire to be. The odds of them actually achieving these goals are slim, and they’re grossly unprepared to rise above the flock. Also, guys of every age are just trying to get in your pants; some are just willing to treat you like a human being to get there.

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                          7. First Date

                          Expectation: 

                            Dating is so exciting–from dinner and a movie to attending a festival or event, each date is an adventure that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Every detail has to be planned and perfect. You’re going to have such a great time.
                            Reality: 

                              A movie will set you back $20, dinner is another $50, and you’ll waste a quarter tank of gas traveling between the two. Everything costs money these days, and popular date ideas are even more expensive. If you’re lucky enough to have a job while in school, it doesn’t pay well. If you want to afford that lifestyle, you better start selling your plasma…or drugs…

                              8. Sex Life

                              Expectation:

                              couple bed

                                The colleges and universities on TV are filled with beautiful people attending huge parties and orgies. You may have left high school a virgin, but when you get to college, you’re going to get laid all the time. It’ll be exciting!

                                Reality: 

                                  You’re still you. If you lack confidence and common sense, you’re going to have just as hard a time getting laid in college as you did in high school. Your crush is dating a professor by the time you build the nerve to talk to her. If you’re lucky enough to hook up with someone, you probably sucked at it, and you’re unlikely to get a call back.

                                  9. The Morning After

                                  Expectation:

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                                    Having finished a wild night of passion, you just want to relax and lay next to someone. Maybe they’ll cuddle up a little bit, but not so much that you feel smothered. Who would’ve thought you’d bump into a successful music producer or investor at a party? You were drunk, but you managed to land a dime.

                                    Reality:

                                    what did i do

                                      Is this person male or female? What did I drink last night? It was a bad idea to snort coke off a stripper’s stomach. I gotta get outta here. Wait, I live here–I need to get them out of here before my roommates wake up.

                                      10. The End

                                      Expectation: 

                                        Maybe we’ll get married and start a family. If not, we’ll end things amicably and remain friends for the rest of our lives.

                                        Reality:

                                        hate everything

                                          Featured photo credit: PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

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                                          The Gentle Art of Saying No

                                          The Gentle Art of Saying No

                                          No!

                                          It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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                                          But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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                                          What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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                                          But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

                                          1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
                                          2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
                                          3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
                                          4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
                                          5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
                                          6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
                                          7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
                                          8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
                                          9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
                                          10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

                                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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