That's what every high school girl who never got asked out wants to know. When all the guys are immature and all the nice guys like the popular girls, it’s comforting to know that college guys are way better, right?
Well, not exactly.
There’s not some magical shift that happens in guys’ brains in the summer before college starts. They’re not abducted by aliens and then BAM, they turn into Ryan Gosling. They’re still the immature guys they were before, and they probably won’t change until their mid-thirties (if ever). Does that mean you’re doomed to die alone as a crazy old cat lady?
There’s still tons of reasons why dating in college is WAY different (and better) than dating in high school.
First, there are just so many more guys. Unless you’re going from a huge high school to a miniature college, there will be a lot more guys to choose from in college. There’s no longer just the cute 5—you know, those few cute guys that every girl universally acknowledged were The Cutest. Now it’s the cute 50, or the cute 500!
And even though they’re not instantly mature, guys do change. So a guy who was a complete jerk because he always hung out with a bunch of jerks might turn out to be a pretty nice guy when you throw him into the wild world of college. Then again, guys don’t always change for the better. Take for example, one of the guys who lived on my floor last year: he was funny, cute, and generally a nice guy. Us girls always talked about how he would be the perfect boyfriend (which is why he already had a girlfriend). And then over the summer they broke up; he came back to school and started partying really hard and hooking up with random girls. Which wouldn’t be bad if he was still a nice guy, but he wasn’t anymore. He was a jerk. So the moral of the story is people change in college. Some for the better, some not so much.
And even if you don’t realize it, you’re going to change, too. Guys might never have noticed you, and then suddenly every guy and his brother are asking you out. This tends to happen when you gain self-confidence and stop caring so much about what other people think about you. When you like yourself, other people do, too.
So how exactly is dating different in college?
There’s a lot more gray. In high school, if two people were dating, they were a couple. They held hands and hung out near each other’s lockers and went to prom together. You’re going to wish it was that easy in college. Finding out someone’s relationship status is like playing a game of 20 questions. Lucky for you, I have taken the time to translate relationship talk into something a little easier to understand:
- “We’re just hooking up”: This relationship is purely physical. They’ll make out at parties and “hang out,” but they don’t go out to dinner or exchange stuffed animals.
- “It’s an open relationship": They’re dating, but they’re also seeing other people on the side. So they’ll hang out at each other’s places, but don’t necessarily go on dates and most certainly aren’t Facebook official. Nine times out of 10, this doesn’t work out because one person gets jealous or the “rules” of what’s off-limits aren’t clear.
- “We’re dating”: This can mean one of two things, so you need some more information with this one.
- “We’re just going on dates”: You can be going on dates with multiple people, seeing who you like and who you don’t. Go out to coffee with one guy, see a movie with another—it’s not a big deal. However, when you start “hooking up” and going on dates with just one person, you either have to move into “It’s an open relationship” or “We’re together.”
- “We’re together”: The most stable of all college relationships, this is when one person likes another person, so they go out on dates and celebrate anniversaries and introduce the other person as their boyfriend/girlfriend. This sort of relationship is Facebook official and completely exclusive.
- “We’re taking a break”: It’s sort of like switching from “We’re together” into “It’s an open relationship” except one or both people aren’t exactly sure what’s going on. One person might think that hooking up with someone else while on a break is okay, but the other person might consider that cheating.
- “It’s complicated”: Honestly, no one has any idea what this means. If you like somebody but they’re still in a “complicated” relationship, you might just want to wait awhile until things get a little simpler. Or try a lower risk activity like playing with matches or disabling explosives.
So, what have we learned? If you’re in high school and you’re done with high school boys, cheer up because it’s going to get better! If you’re in college and you’re all alone, keep looking, because there’s still plenty of great guys out there. If you’re out of college and you’re still all alone…well it might be time to start investing in cats!