The dating game

Students have to know how and whether to take different types of dating advice.

Courtney Johnson

The University of Minnesota is a big campus; there are loads of people of all types coming and going. Amid the hustle and bustle of Gopher country though, many students are also looking for some good old-fashioned loving.

In the game of dating on campus, the conventions are different for everybody. This results in an overwhelming difference of rules, thoughts and opinions on how best to play the field. Many students try to devise the least awkward way to approach that person who sits a couple tables down in biology lab or the best way to make advances on a friend theyâÄôve had an overriding crush on for months.

When students find themselves pressed with these types of issues, it is most common to seek the advice of those who are closest to them. Figuring out how to separate the good advice from the bad is where uncertainty sets in.

My mother is a sensible woman âÄî I trust her, since sheâÄôs been through the dating game before. And when it comes to my dating life she has always said the same thing: âÄúJust be yourself, have fun, and if something is meant to come of it, then it will âĦ if not, then just move on with your life.âÄù If IâÄôm not myself around someone âÄî whether IâÄôm romantically interested or not âÄî IâÄôm unhappy. As other students may understand, I find it very hard to not act like a nervous wreck around a guy that I like. As I have learned though, taking some chances, building up confidence and acting like myself around him does wonders for the heart.

The point is this: Listening to those who have already been through comparable situations can help inform and strengthen your strategy in dating on campus. Just keep in mind that not every situation is identical.

Another common predicament that many students find themselves in is deciding whether to take a platonic relationship and turn it into a romantic one. When figuring out if these relationships should be executed in a romance, relying on the past experiences of other friends is too common among students. This may be helpful for sorting out the logistics of a situation, like compatible lifestyles, but completely relying on this tactic can complicate feelings as well. I will not deny that there is comfort in seeking the advice of friends, especially if one needs the reassurance of possibilities in a potential relationship. On the other hand, maybe a friend doesnâÄôt see eye-to-eye with your love interest, so they steer you away from going to SaturdayâÄôs football game with this person whom you are trying to sort out feelings for. These differences of opinion might sabotage a potentially great relationship or ruin a friendship, because a friend is too caught up in himself or herself.

This is why it is of the utmost importance for students to act as their own advocates. Taking in too many different thoughts from too many different sources is confusing and ineffective. Talking and hashing things out with only a few close friends is, as a rule, beneficial. But knowing if the desire to pursue a relationship is there and what one wants out of it, is something that friends canâÄôt always prescribe. Yes, they may have good insight, but in the end, it is not their relationship.

Approaching relationships is not only tricky, but there can be too many obstacles âÄî such as classes, jobs and life after college âÄî that people get discouraged. Therefore, turning toward and leaning on friends to help ignite a relationship is not uncommon. Certain forms of guidance add perspective. But this kind of outlook is only helpful to a certain extent.

The moral of the story: One has to be careful seeking the advice of others. It can be beneficial, but it can also confuse your own natural feelings and prevent you from getting what you want out of the dating scene.