As much as anything else, dating is a huge part of the uni experience. Whether you’re the kind of person who likes one night stands, summer flings, or long-term relationships, creating and cultivating romantic interactions with other people at uni is something that almost everyone will experience at least once. But unlike the uni stories we hear from our parents or see in 80s movies, our dating lives have new complications and new opportunities. With the rise of online dating sites, dating apps, and our engagement with social media, the rules for dating and the way we communicate with potential partners has changed. But while this gives us a huge advantage over previous generations and the way they met people, there are still some rules that need to be followed.
By all means, use technology to enhance your dating experience. Online dating sites have been around for ages, but the intense profiles and expensive subscriptions aim these towards a ‘young professional’, ’30-something and looking for love’ kind of audience. Instead, look for free dating apps that you can download onto your phone. These often have a much younger audience, which will make sure that you’re actually engaging with your peers, and not with people the same age as your parents. The ease and convenience of dating apps can be a huge help if you have a busy schedule, but are looking for a way to meet people.
We’ve all heard horror stories about face-to-face interactions with people you met online, and although most young people take these with a grain of salt, it is still important to take little steps to make sure your dating experience is safe and enjoyable. Unlike traditional methods of finding partners, where if you don’t already know them then they are probably a friend of a friend, and you know a bit about their personality, meeting people via online apps can mean that often you’re meeting people you’ve never had an interaction with before. The best way to keep yourself safe when it comes time to meet your new friend in person is to trust your instincts. If they give you a bad vibe, are rude to the people who make your coffees, or are too handsy too quickly, go ahead and excuse yourself early and don’t go on a second date. And remember to always meet in a public place first. It’s common sense.
Although technology may have played a key role in meeting your new potential partner, it’s basic manners to keep your face-to-face time as free of technology as possible. We all know how annoying it is when you’re trying to talk to someone who is more focused on Fruit Ninja than they are on you, so do both yourself and your date a favour and disengage from your technology to give yourselves the best chance of getting to know each other in the flesh. Put your phone on silent, and try to focus your attention on the person in front of you. Facebook will still be there when you get home.