The dating game is overrated, no expectations is the way to go

By Jacob King

We spend hours waiting for a call, a text, or some kind of notification saying “Hey, I want to see you,” and when we don’t get what we want, we bang our heads against the wall. At what point did dating become a second major?

People invest a vast amount of money and time into their appearance in hopes of finding this soulmate that we’re promised by all these songs and movies. Instead of dating being this casual activity of meet-and-greet like it once was, it’s turned into an intense game of fishing. We buy the best equipment and gear in hopes of luring in our prey and then hope they take the bait. If they don’t, we sink. So why, as young adults, do we stress ourselves out over this?

“I believe that young adults often have a perception that everyone meets their significant other while in college and often put a lot of pressure on themselves to meet that special someone,” said Ginny Williams, assistant director of counseling services.

From a developmental standpoint, Williams said that in this phase of life for young adults, dating is treated as more of a task to complete. But what a stressful task that is.

Dating someone isn’t the same as completing your ten page paper for class. It’s unpredictable, inconsistent, and surprising—which is what makes it great.

Rachel Nehls, a sophomore nursing major, recently shared her moment of spontaneity with me.

“Okay, so last year I was heading to Florida for Easter break and I was surprised by the guy I was talking to the day I was leaving,” said Nehls. “He brought me flowers and helped me pack my bags. I’ve never had that before and it was nice.”

I think it’s moments like that we all long for but it’s the extent we’ll go to that’s dangerous. When looking at Nehl’s situation, it’s important to note that she didn’t expect that. She didn’t prepare for her trip with the mindset of “he better surprise me.” I think that’s our generation’s problem—we expect too much. It’s no secret what happens when we set too high of standards for someone. When they don’t meet them, we go crazy and it blows up in our face.

“He lived in Alabama and I was in Ohio. We made it last for eight months but I was always stressed out about him losing interest, how I could move closer to him and if he was seeing someone else,” said Nehls. “I thought he would want me to move down there or move up here with me and now I realize that it was too much to ask for.”

I believe I can speak for all when I say how much it stings when we think someone likes us more than they really do. It’s as if you get this pit in your stomach that fills with disappointment, but should we sit there and let it consume us or move on? I say move on. In a world of six billion people, the last thing we’re going to run out of is men and women.

“When we’re young we learn that if a boy doesn’t call or text you and ignores you, it means he likes you. When in reality, he’s just not that interested,” said Jayme Smith, senior at University of Central Missouri.

Getting ignored or shunned by someone we like is nothing new to some of us. However, it doesn’t mean we should get stuck on that person. What kills us is how we formulate all the reasons why a person didn’t reciprocate mutual feelings.

“There could be numerous reasons you’re not into someone,” said Samuel Metzger, senior at University of Nebraska.

What is the point of trying to figure out those reasons? My solution to this strategic game of dating is to stop making it one. We’re young and have no shortage of time. So when you’re preparing for your next date, you shouldn’t set your expectations too high or too low—just don’t have them.

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