College is a time for exploration, and that means you’ll not only be perusing the schedule of classes to find those that suit your interests, but also the student body to get yourself a few dates. For many students, dating is old hat. You’ve been there and done that in high school, so it’s no big deal, right? In fact, college dating is a little different than high school dating. The stakes are a higher for several reasons. First, your parents aren’t around to keep you in line with a curfew and an insistence on meeting the people you’re inviting in. Second, you may be miles away from long-time friends that you can trust to have your back (and keep your drink free of roofies). Finally, there is going to be a LOT of alcohol to lower your inhibitions and get you doing things you’d never dream of otherwise. But there’s no reason to swear off dating for good; as long as you follow a few simple dos and don’ts, you’ll have some fun and potentially find that special someone.
1. Meet on neutral ground. You may not know your date very well (having just met said person on the quad about an hour ago). So when you plan your date, choose a safe location like a busy coffee shop, restaurant, or other public place. If your date ends up being a psycho, at least you won’t be trapped alone in a car or dorm room.
More from YourTango: Steak And BJ Day: 10 Readers React (Yes, It's An Actual Holiday)
2. Tell someone where you’re going. The majority of your dates will go off without a hitch. But the one time something goes wrong, you’ll be happy that your roommate or best friend knows where you are and will call the authorities should you fail to return.
3. Bring protection. Condoms are great if that’s where your evening is headed, but just in case you don’t want things to go that way, bring some pepper spray to put an end to unwanted attentions.
1. Leave your drink unattended. You’ve no doubt heard horror stories from your parents about how many students get drugged and raped at parties on the row. Unfortunately, that’s not just your parents being overly cautious. Keep your drink with you at all times or else forget about it and get a new one. And never take an open container from someone you don’t know or trust. YOU are responsible for your own well-being, so unless you want to wake up with no memory of how you spent the night, act like the adult you are.
2. Ignore your gut. You know when something doesn’t feel right, so if you’re starting to get butterflies, it might be time to bug out. It’s always better to let the other person think you’re a little bit nutty than to end up at the hospital or police station at the end of the night.
More from YourTango: Get That Sexy Spring Break Glow (Before You Even Step On A Plane)
3. Be afraid to say no. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, whether it’s drinking, doing drugs, playing strip poker, or going up to your date’s dorm room. If anything makes you uncomfortable, you can offer an alternative or simply call it a night. You might be worried about looking like a prude, but remember that college dating is supposed to be fun. If you’re not having a good time for any reason, it’s just not worth it.
Darcy Johansan writes for Home Tutor where you can find an excellent tutor for your child in a range of subjects.