When it comes to dating, you can go on a lot of bad dates before you finally go on the one that will lead into a good long-term relationship. Although it is hard sometimes to look past the bad experience of a date gone wrong, even the worst dates can be a learning experience.
Everyone has their own idea of what a nightmare first date is. For me, the worst possible thing that can happen on a date is finding myself struggling to keep a conversation going or when I have to carry the entire conversation. This actually happens to women quite often.
“Senior year [of high school] I went out with a guy. He was very quiet. I had to take the initiative to talk to him,” said Aylin Medina, 18, a freshman human biology major.
The stereotype is that women like to talk more than men do, which is actually true. Women speak an average of 20,000 words per day while men speak an average of 7,000 words per day according to Louann Brizendine’s study “The Female Brain.” But when it comes to dating, the stereotype goes out the window, or at least it should.
People expect their potential partner to talk to them. How else are two people supposed to get to know each other? Uncomfortable awkward silences aside, I learned that not being able to keep a conversation going with someone is a giant red flag. Communication is key in any relationship, and if the person trying to start a relationship with you can’t communicate in the “get-to-know-you” phase, it can also be a constant stressor in a future relationship.
Dating is complicated because people have different desires, different motivations and different expectations, which can all change at different stages of a date.
75% of heterosexual college students reported hooking up throughout their college careers, according to Elizabeth Victor’s study, “The Influence of College Hookups on Future Romantic Relationships.”
Victor describes hooking up as casual sexual encounters. Societal norms still frown upon hook up culture and apps that help normalize it such as Tinder, Grindr, OkCupid and Match. Personal preferences aside, there is nothing wrong with consenting adults hooking up, as long as they take the necessary precautions to make sure they are protected from sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies.
The normalization of hookup culture becomes an issue when it is so common that people go around assuming that because they want to hook up, their potential partner only wants to hook up too. Again, that is why communication is key. I would rather someone tell me that they just want to hook up, cut the date short, explain to them that personally that is not what I expected out of the date, and go home before I invest any more of my time and emotions into something that was not going to go anywhere.
Hooking up can also be a dangerous game. Like I said, people’s motivations, desires and expectations can change at any time. So, you may find yourself getting attached to someone who only wants to hook up. In this case, I think it is incredibly important to constantly make sure you are both on the same page about what you expect from a date.
It seems simple enough, but it was a lesson I learned the hard way when a classmate I befriended, whom I only intended to be friends with, constantly kept suggesting we hook up. I could have saved myself a lot of time if I had been straightforward about just being friends instead of avoiding him around campus.
Perspective is important. Typically, we consider a date bad when the desired outcome isn’t reached, but that’s an idea that needs to change.
“I haven’t had any bad dates,” said Erick Solorio, 26, a junior kinesiology major. “I feel like a lot of people go on bad dates, but it’s all about how you view it.”
Bad dates are completely objective. You can walk away from a terrible first date and still feel like you gained a lot. Bad dates, in my opinion, help you realize what you want in a relationship, as well as how you want a potential partner to see you, which will ultimately make it easier for the truest version of yourself to shine through.