9 Great Tips for Dating in College
I tend to keep my focus on this site primarily to things that are as broadly applicable as possible -- things you can do no matter who you are or where you are in life to do better with women.
But the other day I had a reader write in asking about dating in college, and I thought the topic might be on worth getting a post up on. He writes:
First off, terrific website. I haven't found anything on the web like the quality of articles you write and the depth you explore.
I'm 21 and I've finally finished university and I'm back at home. I recently got out of a 3 year relationship which lasted all the way through my time at college. A lot of the growing pains of being a young single and meeting girls has passed me by in this time. I've been on 2 dates in my whole life - both when I was 17 years old.
For a 21 year old guy, what is the best way of throwing myself into single life? Much of the dating advice out there seems aimed for an older audience than myself. It's unlikely I'm going to find girls my age doing the weekly grocery shop for example!
Thanks for any help!”
I shot him back a reply highlighting some of the things I'm going to touch on in this post, but I think there some advice here I can offer guys in college that'll help them meet more girls and succeed with more girls.
And if you're not in college, well, you might just want to give this one a read anyway -- a lot of the things I'm going to recommend you don't necessarily need an alma mater to pull off.
College Life: Not Quite "Real Life," But Almost
If you're like most folks in the West, attending university is the first time in your life you're finally out on your own. Put differently, it's the first time you've got near-total freedom, and don't have Mom and Dad looking over your shoulder, telling you to behave, and acting shocked when you want to do the same things now that they wanted to do when they were your age.
Which is wickedly cool... and often incredibly disorienting.
College shakes people's worlds up. It's where the artificial statuses and divisions of high school fall away -- especially if you're in a bigger school -- and where people get subjected to a far more diverse criteria for judgment than they did in high school. Often, that kid who was the coolest kid in school in 12th grade ends up being just another face in the crowd in college -- and that guy who was a complete geek in high school ends up find a degree of acceptance in university he didn't know existed for folks like him.
No matter who you were before, you're probably going to find college jarring.
There's a silver lining, though: because of the greater level of fluidity (different people in each of your classes) and anonymity (more people means fewer people know who you are), college is far more open to those who want to improve themselves than high school is.
In high school, who "you" are is defined in the minds of your classmates within the first couple months of your freshman year. In college though, it's continually being redefined, because everyone is on such disparate paths.
That guy who annoyed everyone freshman year of high school is still considered annoying in senior year, even if he cleaned up his act a lot -- that's just his role at that point. But if you were a bugger freshman year of college, you can come back a changed man sophomore year, and nobody bats an eyelash -- they just assume you've decided to get serious / professional, which is more or less what everyone's there to do.
In high school, kids are there to goof off.
In college, you're there to grow up and redefine yourself.
It's not the real world. You can't change cities; you probably won't be traveling much; you will still eventually settle in with a clique of friends, most likely. But it's a lot less about micro-managing your status, like high school was.
In high school, if a guy sleeps with a girl who isn't part of the in-crowd, no matter how hot she is, he's likely to get judged for that, his status takes a hit, and it gets harder for him to get a really cool, pretty, popular girl if he wants one.
In college, nobody cares. There's so much insanity going on that nobody's really paying all that much attention to what anybody else is doing anyway. It's a free for all.
So when you approach dating in college, that's how I recommend you approach it: not so much as a big social circle thing, like high school was (unless you're in a tiny college; in that case, yeah, pretty much like another 4 years of high school... sorry about that); rather, you ought to approach it as a big, sloppy free for all where nobody knows much about your social status -- and nobody cares.
Dating in College Made Easy -- 9 Great Tips
Let's say you've just gotten into college, or you're away on summer break, or else you've just graduated, like our reader above.
How do you meet girls your age?
I've put together a list here that's designed to help you into meeting gals in the 18 to 21 years old demographic -- you know, the ones who aren't exactly frequenting salsa night or wine tasting events or to be found kickboxing or in the yoga studio or any of those other recommendations for the top places to meet girls that don't apply quite as much for the under-23 crowd.
Word to the wise: should go without saying, but none of these will do much good if you aren't actively trying to meet women while you do them. You've still got to be moving fast, flirting with girls, and leading them strongly and decisively if you want to make anything happen. These are tips to bring those young, beautiful girls you want into your circle -- it's still your job to make something happen.
That in mind, here are what are to me the best ways to meet college-age women.
#1: Get a Part-Time Job
A long time ago, I noticed something funny about most of the guys I knew who were really good with women.
At one point or another during their early ages, they worked in a job that gave them massive exposure to young, beautiful women.
A few such examples of possible professions that can do just this for you:
- Party Promoter
- Nightclub Doorman / Bouncer
- Nightlife Photographer
- Model Talent Scout
- Male Model
- Fashion Magazine Writer
- Fashion Magazine Photographer
Of course, you've got to be selective in where you get such a job. In the restaurant world, for instance, all the waiters tend to sleep with all the waitresses at their given restaurants... it's very common. But get a job as a waiter at a restaurant where all the other waiters are women in their mid-30s and you certainly won't be bringing home 19 year olds on the regular. Likewise, become a bartender at a biker bar, and you're not going to have college babes breaking down your door.
You've got to choose the right profession, in the right location.
Being a barback at the most popular nightclub in town will get you more (and cuter) girls than being the bar manager at a little hole in the wall that nobody goes to.
#2: Be Entrepreneurial
What if you want to get a part-time job that'll put you in close proximity to the women you want, but you can't seem to find one anywhere?
Well, you can start your own damn business!
You'd be amazed how easy it is to set up a modeling agency and start recruiting. If you live in a modest-sized town, all you need to do is throw a few ads up on Craigslist advertising a casting call, and request that aspiring models send you headshots (and a resume, if they have one).
Pick a name for your agency, write an ad, and you're in business.
The cool thing about it is, once you've put a team together with loads of promising talent, not only do you now instantly know a lot of cute girls -- you've got a great opportunity to make money, too. Be warned though, if you aren't out getting work for your models, they won't stay signed with you for long if they're serious about modeling.
You can also do this with photography -- if you've got a half-decent camera, start offering free shots in order to grow your and their portfolios. And starting your own party promoting business is never a bad idea -- you can make a lot of money, and grow a pretty big following (with you at the absolute center of it), really fast.
#3: Start Hitting Up Parties
While the under-21 crowd may not exactly be spending a lot of time at bars and nightclubs (at least not in the States), they do tend to frequent parties -- and quite often, as a matter of fact.
And if you're in that age group and you haven't been going to parties, you don't know what you're missing out on.
As discussed in the comments section of the post about the party date, it's not a good idea to bring your own sand to the beach here (you stand a far better chance of getting a girl you already know if the two of you meet up alone together than if you bring her somewhere where you'll need to manage complex social interactions and you stand a good chance of having other men competing for her and making her feel more "in demand") -- but when it comes to hooking up with friends and new acquaintances, parties really can't be beat.
Even if all you want is girls' phone numbers (and not to take them home right away), that's a lot easier to pull off in parties than almost anywhere else. Just talk a little while, tell her she seems cool and you'd like to talk again, and trade cells.
There's no denying that, no matter where you're from, if you're outgoing and assertive you're almost always going to fare better with getting foreign girls overseas than you will domestic girls at home. Why? Well, because at home, you're just another American, Briton, Canadian, Australian, Indian, Singaporean, German, or whatever you may be.
But out there... you're a rarity. You're the exotic one.
Traveling abroad and finding success with women during your formative years is one of those things that can do all kinds of good for a man. Some of the coolest, most well-adjusted guys I've met while traveling have been guys who traveled somewhere early on and found success with foreign girls.
I just spoke with a really cool German guy the other day who went to Japan when he was 16 years old and managed to sleep with 3 Japanese girls in his two weeks there or so (he had a beard and passed for about 23 back then, so those girls didn't realize they were robbing the cradle!). He's still traveling, and in an exclusive relationship now with a beautiful, awesome German girl, but a big part of his confidence and ease with dating and relationships stems from his early successes.
Some thoughts on this one:
- If you can do a semester abroad, do it. I had the opportunity to do this in college, and I didn't... and that was a mistake. Back then I didn't think I ever wanted to travel the world, and I preferred to just stay at home and be a homebody. If I were to do college over again, that's one of the things I'd do differently.
- If you have friends or relatives inviting you to visit them abroad, consider doing so. It's always easier to get acclimated in a new place if you know people there who can ease your transition. Especially if you're new to travel, it's usually a lot easier to head somewhere you'll have people who can help you dip your toes in. Of course, if you're a thrill seeker or a novelty junkie (like many people I know), you might just be able to pull off your first foray setting out into the great unknown by yourself.
- Be an explorer. Whether you're staying with friends or family or you're adventuring solo, it's incredibly important that you put time into exploring a location by yourself. You get far different treatment and see much different things when you're exploring by yourself than when you're with other people. You're also a lot more likely to get approached by women who might otherwise be too intimidated if they see you surrounded with friends (or even one friend), and you're a lot more likely to push yourself to meet new people.
- Pick a good country. For obvious reasons, you probably don't want to go to Saudi Arabia or North Korea. Do some research; find out which countries are safe, will have enough Western amenities to keep you happy, and have women you find attractive who other people say aren't too hard to get together with. So, if you're coming to Asia for instance, Japan's an easy choice for good quality girls who are quick to get together with you, but it's also safe and very modern there (but expensive). China's got some quality girls, and things are easy if you move aggressively and quickly and avoid the boyfriend designation (though the guys who try to speak Chinese and be nice seem to struggle more, which is different from Japan, where Japanese speakers seem to do about as well as or a little better than non-speakers). Somewhere like Indonesia or Mongolia though might not pass your safety standards, and the women are on average a lot poorer and less educated. If you head there then, you'll want to make sure you're plugged into the right circles before you go, to make sure you're meeting people from the privileged class rather than the disadvantaged average folks.
- Go to a big international party. There's a reason why so many 18 to 21 year olds love spring break. If you can travel and end up at a big party, it can quite often be really easy to meet cute girls. Make sure to do your homework though -- there are a lot of famous parties that have a good name, but that stopped being wild and crazy 10 or 15 years ago. So, Hedonism, for instance, is mostly for the 40+ crowd these days, and Oktoberfest is now a pretty muted, toned-down, family-oriented shade of its former self, or so I'm told. But the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangon, Thailand... now that one is a lot of fun, I'll personally attest. And it's quite easy to meet girls there -- although the best times to pick up girls are during the day (when they're are just waiting for a guy to come scoop them up) or at the beginning of the night. Just imagine an island with thousands of 18 to 25 year olds (predominantly European), dancing and drinking and partying until after sun up on the beach, two nights straight. Good times there.
#5: Start Doing Street Approaches
How do you meet all those beautiful girls you see walking around campus, or walking around on the local streets?
Easy. You go meet them when you see them... on the street.
This is one of those things that's hard to get going on, but most are in agreement that meeting girls during the daytime -- particularly, on the street -- is just about the best way there is. You'll meet all the girls who don't go to parties and clubs -- which is about 85% of the girls in a given city or town, you'll find -- and since nobody does this, the competition is almost non-existent, and girls' walls to meeting someone new tend to be down pretty low, too.
I'd also include approaches in the halls of a shopping mall, or in a store or a bookstore or a cafeteria, to be, for all intents and purposes, street. If you've got a big mall in your area, for instance, and it attracts girls in the 18 to 21 year old range, this can be a good place to find a concentrated number of girls. Depends a lot on the town though... in big cities, malls can be great, and absolutely full of pretty girls. In, say, my home town in Pennsylvania though, it's mostly just 15 year old girls walking around on their cell phones there... not exactly ideal.
#6: Meet Girls at the Pool or Meet Them at the Beach
This one's similar to street -- no one does this, so you'll have an easier time of it once you've got it down. Of course, you'll have to get used to approaching women in broad daylight, and not be too intimidated that they'll be wearing bikinis!
There are a few ways of going about meeting girls at the pool / beach:
- The Classic Way. Bring some buddies out with you, bring a football or a Frisbee, toss it around a few times, and then inadvertently toss it right into the midst of a couple of cute girls. Go grab your buddies, run over to the girls, apologize profusely, and then start getting to know them. Talk a while, then grab a beer or something to eat with the girls.
- Walking the Dog. If you've got a dog, you can work that angle too. I had a pal -- really good with girls in bars and nightclubs -- who used to take his little dog to the dog park and come back with a stack of phone numbers. He considered small dogs better for meeting girls, since most girls get small dogs and all go to the small dog park, while most guys get big dogs and all go to the big dog park, so he'd go to the little dog park and meet tons of girls because he was the only guy there and women basically just gravitated around him and used their dogs as an excuse to talk to him.
- Street Approach Style. You can also plain old just walk up to girls and start talking to them while they're sitting by the pool or on the beach. Every time I've met girls by the beach, I've always used direct openers -- if you walk right up to her, she knows what it's about, and women tend to respect the men more who're straight about it. Do it right, and most of them are at the least flattered -- and often quite interested.
- Miscellaneous. I know of one other way to meet girls on the beach, though I've only heard say of it and haven't used it myself nor seen it used (at least not correctly). And that is to slap girls on the butt, and be laughing when they turn around. I'm told it works; the only time I've seen an attempt at this though, the guy wasn't smiling when the girl turned around, and she wasn't smiling either... and she actually got a couple of police officers, who chased the guy off, only for me to spot him emerge from the ocean about 15 minutes later, dash up to his spot, grab his stuff, and take off. Not all that effective, but it made for a good laugh. From what I hear though, if you're bold enough to try this one out, being laughing hard when she turns around is crucial. Anyway, you've been forewarned.
#7: Stop By the College Bars / Clubs
Most towns have at least a few of these. You know, the bars where no one seems to be a day over the age of 22. If you're not sure where these are, ask your friends or do a little exploring around town -- you'll find them eventually.
Many cities also have 18+ nightclubs -- those can also be an option, though they're often primarily big dance halls where tons of people cram in together, so you'll need to be reasonably physical.
#8: Take a Class
... and not just Calc II or Jungian Philosophy. Take a class that stands a good chance of attracting cute girls.
Classes I've taken that've had respectable cute-girl-to-other-people ratios:
- Acting for the camera
I'd guess that classes having to do with photography, fashion, other forms of dance, and modeling would also attract cute female students as well. Class can be a great way to expand both your mind... and your little black book.
#9: Go Online
A good amount of 18 to 21 year olds are online these days, and you stand a fair chance of getting them out when you know what you're doing.
Good rule of thumb: the free sites attract a more casual crowd -- these are the more normal girls who aren't "serious" about online dating. Among the top free sites, there are:
- PlentyOfFish.com, and
Probably some other ones too, though I'm not so plugged into online dating these days. Generally speaking, if a girl's on a paid site, she's "serious" about online dating, which either means she really, really wants a relationship, and has given up on other means of finding one, or else is casting the net quite wide... or she needs a steady supply of new men (the crazy horny girls).
Good rule of thumb for success: test out different profiles, different pictures (great article here on profile pictures that work; for the record, in line with that article, while testing different pictures I found my best profile picture to be one where I looked down and away without smiling... ridiculously different reception for that one than others), different online dating messages, and different subject lines.
Always remember that it's not you that girls online are responding to... it's your profile, your pictures, your tagline, your message subject and your message body. That's it.
Cleaning Up in the 18 to 21 Year Old Scene
All in all, the most important thing to remember about 18 to 21 year olds is this:
They don't need game. They need leadership.
They need a man who's leading women with decisiveness and assertiveness. You can talk to a 19 year old for 10 hours, but if you don't lead her she's going to be bored and annoyed. Or you can talk to her for 10 minutes, but if you lead her strongly and decisively she's going to find your quite masculine and exciting and she's far more likely to end up in your bed.
If you're dating in college, it doesn't have to be hard to meet girls your own age. If you're on summer break, unless you're in the middle of nowhere, it doesn't need to be a challenge either. And if you're an older guy, and you just want to get a girl in that younger demographic... well, all this stuff is going to apply to you just fine too!
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