College isn’t a movie. You might not know what to expect from relationships in college, but don’t look to movies for realistic examples. Honestly, I don’t think anyone could pull off being Elle Woods or Van Wilder and expect to get away with it.
To make it a little easier in the beginning of college, I have a list of suggestions regarding how to deal with potential love interests, even if they end up lasting for only a night. Whether or not you choose to follow these recommendations is up to you.
1) Zero Expectation Principle: Seriously, have zero expectations. Your siblings, friends, even your parents (sorry Mom and Dad) may talk about college as the best time of their lives. They might speak of all their hook-ups, about meeting their true love there; I’ve heard the full gambit. The thing to remember is that they aren’t you and you aren’t them. You’re not going to have their experience, you’re going to have your own. Don’t think you have to find someone or hook up by a certain time. This is your journey; don’t let someone else pave the way.
2) Cast a Wide Net: Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. I know a surprising amount of people who want to be married by 22, and thus put unnecessary pressure on themselves to find someone and stick with them right from the get-go. That’s a mistake. College campuses don’t encompass the entire population, so if you can’t find someone in four years, who cares?
3) Friendships and Relationships: On the same token, don’t let relationships run your life, especially if you’re coming into college with an established relationship. Make your friends separate from that significant other; it doesn’t mean they’re any less important to you. You’re an individual, and you should be treated by them, others and yourself as such.
4) Distance Decision: Can you handle being with someone who lives far away? This sounds crazy if you don’t want a relationship but I think it’s something that’s easy to do and have in your back pocket. With technology ever improving, people start long-distance relationships more and more. One of my best friends is dating someone who lives in Florida while she lives in New York. Some people can handle it and some people can’t. Instead of letting yourself flip-flop over it, decide for yourself if it’s something you could handle so you know if it’s OK to pursue or not.
5) Safety First: Sorry to any parents who read this, but I have to say it, even if only for my conscience. No matter what you do, make sure you do it safely. I shouldn’t need to get into semantics much because I’m sure you’ve heard it all, but if not: safe sex is great sex, better wear a latex because you don’t want a late text. Nobody wants the “I’m late” text.
6) Your #1 Relationship: Time for me to wrap up in a way that will make you want to crown me Miss America. Your numero uno in college and in life should always be yourself. Seriously. Everyone else will come and go but at the end of the day the one person you will always fall asleep with is you. The best advice I can give is to use college as a time to develop that relationship. Buy yourself a couple of drinks and really get to know yourself. It’ll be worth it.