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A Collegiette's Guide to Life
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  • 10/09/17--11:00: 7 Signs You’re in Love
  • For most of us, love is a far-off, abstract concept. Even in a long-term, committed relationship, the existence of love can be difficult to spot. What is the difference between strong feelings and true love? Is love at first sight actually a possibility? The answer to these questions may be different for everyone. It depends on your personality, your relationship style and a multitude of other unique factors. If you have found yourself questioning whether or not you are truly in love, ask yourself if these signs apply to your relationship.

    1. You totally trust your partner

    All healthy relationships require a high level of trust. Whether it's just a friendship or something more, everyone wants to be able to trust the people that they are closest to in their lives. Jay Hurt, author of The 9 Tenants of a Successful Relationship, says, "Trust is extremely important in any serious relationship and definitely something that people should be aware of before deciding if they are in love or not.” 

    If you are unable to trust your partner with little, daily things, how can you trust them with your heart? If you are questioning whether or not you are in love, ask yourself if you would be able to really trust your partner with anything and everything. If the answer is yes, you're one step closer to being in love.

    2. You and your partner have established an agreement of commitment

    In today’s society, the importance of commitment is often overlooked. Hook-up culture is rampant throughout our generation and due to this infatuation, many of us rarely feel a need to settle down or define the relationship. This is totally fine if that is what you want, but it can be hard to be truly in love with someone if you aren’t committed to one another. 

    One student, Karen Smith*, a sophomore at the University of Florida, says that an establishment of commitment was actually a big part of her realization that she was in love with her boyfriend. “Knowing that my boyfriend was committed to only me and never having to worry about losing him to another person made me feel safe and made it easier to know that I was in love,” she says. This is a common feeling for many collegiettes, especially in an age where commitment is not that popular.

    3. There is a high level of intimacy (that isn’t just sexual)

    It isn’t uncommon for people to confuse sexual attraction with love. Hurt says that in order to truly have love, you must have a level of intimacy that goes further than just sexual intimacy. This intimacy is something similar to that of what you might have with your closest friends. Hurt describes this intimacy as “something that has grown the relationship even deeper.”

    Non-sexual intimacy can come in many forms and thus, can be hard to identify. When you've reached a high level of intimacy with someone, you'll feel truly comfortable with them. Little things like sharing the bed or confiding in them will no longer be uncomfortable but will be a typical part of your day together. True intimacy can be found when you and your partner start to feel like one person, rather than two separate people, unattached from one another.

    Related: 7 Love Mistakes to Avoid This Year 

    4. You find yourself wanting to share experiences with your partner, rather than alone

    When you are truly in love, you will find that every experience you go through is enhanced by sharing it with your partner. Good or bad, you feel a strong desire to have them by your side, rather than explaining the event to them later.

    Leah Pignataro, a junior at the University of Florida, believes that this concept definitely rings true. She says it is easy to know that you are in love “when you look forward to doing things together instead of doing it alone and telling them about it.”  

    Wanting to share experiences with your partner doesn’t mean that you will never need alone time — that's totally normal to need, even when you are in love. However, beginning to factor in your partner when thinking of future events and having difficulty imagining going through certain things without them is definitely a sure sign of love.

    5. You feel a void when you and your partner are apart

    Anyone who has ever been bitten by the love bug has been introduced to a whole new level of missing her partner. Hurt describes this voided feeling as going “beyond missing them.” He says that “you feel like they should be there.”

    Realizing that you and your partner have become so close that you feel as though you are missing a part of yourself when you are not together is a sure way to know that you’re  in love.

    6. You have no issue being truly selfless when it comes to your relationship

    Humans are selfish by nature; it's simply a fact. Even if you do selfless deeds often or strive to make the world a better place, we are designed to put our own needs first. The only thing that can really change this predisposition is the presence of love.

    When you fall in love, your partner becomes just as important as yourself. When out of love, people must make sure that their needs are met on their own — no one else is responsible for making sure that you are happy. However, in a real relationship where you are both in love, both partners are getting their needs met because both are making sure that their partner is happy.

    7. You seek comfort in each other

    While being comfortable with your partner is certainly important, seeking them for comfort goes far beyond that. Rachel Kline, a senior at the University of Florida, says that one way she knew she was in love with her long-term boyfriend was when they both began to seek comfort in each other.

    When you fall in love, your partner becomes your go-to person for nearly everything. They're the person you want to talk to when you find out exciting news, the person you want to cuddle up to after a long day and the person you want to talk our all of your problems with.

    These signs are certainly not the only ways that someone can know they are in love. Love is a feeling. It's not something rational or easy to explain with facts or examples. More often than not, if you feel that you're in love, you very well are. However, if you find yourself questioning the sincerity of the love, you may want to consider these questions.

    *Name has been changed.

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    Now that we’re getting back into the swing of things on campus, you’re probably looking for some fun, new date ideas for you and bae, right? Look no further. We’ve decided the classic dinner/movie date is way overplayed, so here are some exciting new things to try. And don’t worry—we’ve got every type of campus couple covered.

    For the adventurous couple:

    For you collegiettes (and baes) seeking a little thrill, here are some date ideas that won’t let you down.

    1. Hiking

    Hiking (or camping, if you’re feeling super adventurous!) is an awesome way to explore the outdoors while also exploring your partner. "I've gone on a hiking date with my boyfriend and it was amazing!" says Isabel Calkins, a junior at New York University. "We got to explore just the two of us and get lost and it was truly an adventure. You really get to see a different side of someone when you are sweating and covered in mud from the wilderness." There’s something about being completely surrounded by nature that will definitely bring you closer to one another.

    2. Rafting

    While the weather is still warm, why not pack some lunches and go rafting for the day? You’ll definitely make some awesome memories and will stay cool in the summer heat.

    Related: How To Actively Start Dating, When You’ve Never Dated Before

    For the lay-low couple:

    If you and your SO would rather keep it low-key but don’t want to Netflix and chill all the time, we understand. Here are some low-key dates that are high-key fun.

    3. Quad picnic

    Having a picnic on the quad is not only super romantic but also super easy! Go around dinnertime when campus isn’t as crowded and stake out your spot. If your campus isn’t dry, you can even bring a bottle of wine along!

    4. Baking night

    If you’re a homebody but don’t want to sit on the couch, why not embody Betty Crocker for the night? Look up some recipes on Pinterest you’ve always wanted to try and have a baking party with your SO. Cooking or baking together is a ton of fun, and you’ll have yummy treats to eat and give to your friends! [quote?]

    For the wild couple:

    Some of us love to drink, dance and get a little crazy. If this sounds like you and bae, here are some dates you’ll love.

    5. Bar crawl

    If you and your SO love to go out and party, going on a bar crawl together is a great date to try. Go with just the two of you or a group of friends—you’re bound to have an awesome night either way.

    6. Dance lessons

    As silly as it may sound, taking a dance class with your boyfriend or girlfriend is something you’ll always remember. Salsa, tango…the list goes on. Some universities even offer free ballroom classes! You’ll be laughing all night and, hey, you’ll be the best-looking ones the next time you go out.

    For the old-school couple:

    If you’re a fan of tradition and want a romantic night with your SO, here’s an idea you’ll love.

    7. Stargazing

    Stargazing has been a great date for centuries—and for good reason. There’s nothing quite like laying under the beautiful night sky with the one you love next to you. Bring a portable speaker, or simply listen to the sounds of the night. You’ll never want to leave that spot. 

    8. Drive-in movies

    What’s more romantic than an evening at the drive-in? "My favorite date of all time is going to the drive-in," says Shelly Adams, a junior at Shenandoah University. "We back my pick-up truck into the spot, lay an old mattress pad down in the bed and cuddle under blankets. It's super sweet, and a really intimate way to watch a movie because you can talk while the film is showing and no one can hear you. It's super cheap and super fun; I never miss a chance to go!" Grab some snacks, put the back seat down and cuddle up for a movie (or two).

    Whether you and your SO are looking for an adventure or a quiet night together, one of these date ideas is bound to fulfill your needs. Don’t let the typical college dates bog you down—there are a ton of new, exciting dates for you to go on this year!

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    Obviously, a true power couple is defined by their creative Halloween costume. You and your SO want to match for that annual Halloween party, but it's difficult to find a look that's sexy, funny, scary, clever, cute and recognizable all at the same time. You need an outfit that captures your relationship while making some sort of powerful statement about what you care about—what do you choose? Take our quiz and find out who you and your SO should be this October.


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    Being intimate with someone can bring about a lot of new emotions and insecurities. Sex has the potential of making someone feel more vulnerable and definitely more self-conscious. Even the most confident people have doubts about their body, their performance in bed or what their partner is thinking of them. These thoughts are perfectly normal, but how do you deal with them? We asked some experts (one of them a student and “proud feminist”) and created a list of things to keep in mind if you start to feel awkward in bed.

    1. Sleep with someone you’re super comfortable with

    In today’s dating world, hookups are common. Whether hookup to you means a steamy make-out session or a one-night stand, everyone is going to have to make the decision to follow through with one at some point. However, having sex with someone you just met can increase thoughts of self-consciousness. Adam LoDolce, a dating confidence expert who started the popular site says, “Be choosy about who you get involved with.” LoDolce, whose work and advice has been featured on MTV, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan, says that it’s better to get to know a person than jump right into bed with them. This familiarity with them will make it easier to overcome feelings of self-consciousness later on. Of course, do whatever you feel comfortable with; if you know you will be more than fine having sex right away with that hottie at a party, you do you as well!

    2. Don’t fall into the trap of societal standards AND communicate!

    A lot of self-doubt can be linked to how sex is portrayed to us in the media. Asha Sawhney, a junior at Northwestern University, is the membership chair of Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators (SHAPE), a student organization that is all about empowering students in their sexuality and fostering healthy conversations around sex. Asha thinks that our minds are constantly running over “unrealistic social scripts from the media. People put pressure on themselves to look perfect, act completely confident, and particularly women are pressured to come off as experienced but not over-eager, due to slut-shaming in our society,” she says. “On the other hand, men feel they have to come off as experienced, totally in control, and worry-free because of our notions of masculinity. Queer and gender non-conforming folks are oftentimes left out of our social scripts altogether and have the added worry of navigating their safety as it relates to their marginalized identities in sexual relationships.”

    Men and women are also discouraged from talking about these concerns with their partners, according to Asha. While hardly being shown in the media and not being deemed as sexy, couples tend not to voice their opinions about self-consciousness during sex. “Not only does this lack of communication leave our worries unresolved, it is also downright dangerous to be afraid to communicate with one's partner because obtaining consent requires many levels of communication,” Asha says. You should never be afraid to speak your mind.

    Related: What to Do When Your Partner's Sex Drive Is Higher (or Lower) Than Yours

    3. Self-reflect on who you are and what you want

    If you have never had sex before or don’t have much experience, it’s always good to think about what you prefer. What do you want sexually and emotionally? What do you need from your partner or from the sex you’re having? Asha says that without reflecting on yourself first, you might be more prone to awkward feelings in bed. A healthy and satisfying sex life often comes out of being comfortable with your body and what you want. A great checklist of questions can be found at Everyday Feminism, and Asha says this is a great place to start! Be sure to also communicate your findings with your partner! Even if it’s a fling or hookup, at least this way you’ll know what you want.

    4. Don’t worry/stress too much about your sex appeal

    Another reason you may be feeling awkward in bed is your perceived sex appeal, or for some people, the lack thereof. However, that is not something you should be stressing about. Everyone obviously wants to feel wanted when getting intimate, but this can lead to thoughts of “Does he/she find me attractive? What do they think of what I’m doing? Does their silence mean I’m horrible at this?” These are common concerns, but not something that should inhibit you in the bedroom.

    Some partners are more verbal in bed, constantly telling the other how hot they are or how good they’re doing. However, this isn’t all that common according to LoDolce. “Many times if you’re not getting that positive feedback from that person, that overriding insecurity, that makes you think ‘Oh god, I must be doing something weird or awkward or he/she is just not that into me,’” he says. Silence isn’t a sign of a sinking ship. Other than voicing consent, it’s normal for partners to be non-verbal during sex. Just try your best to gauge the situation and how your partner is reacting to what you’re doing (and vice versa). Silence doesn’t mean dissatisfaction or judgment. While communication is key in any relationship, try not to worry if they aren’t vocal. Everyone expresses pleasure in different ways.

    5. Stop overthinking/over analyzing

    Though we know that it’s easier said than done, overthinking can kill any mood. It’s good to think through tough situations, and in the moment it’s super easy to fall into that pit of despair where “Does he/she think I’m cute?” and “What does this all mean?” just float around your head. And of course, if you know that you’re being awkward or you’re trying your hardest not to be, that continual mantra you have going on in your head is not helping your performance. “If you’re thinking about how to stop your self-consciousness during sex, that’s just going to make you worse,” says LoDolce. “It’s a feedback loop that’s going to get worse and worse and worse as time goes on.”

    Just like a reoccurring nightmare, this loop will kill not only the mood of your sexy night with your SO, it will surely just make you feel crappy in the end. We know that it’s very hard to turn your brain off sometimes, but just know that these thoughts will bring about your ultimate demise.

    Related: 5 Embarrassing Things That Can Happen During Sex (& How to Recover)

    6. Listen to your body and your feelings

    If you do have constant worried feelings about being intimate, you shouldn’t suppress them. “I don't think anyone under any circumstances should suppress feelings of being unsafe or uncomfortable in a sexual relationship,” Asha says. She suggests taking a step back and unpacking your feelings. If you find that you seem to have the same feelings through all or most of the same sexual experiences with all your partners, definitely try and work through that with the suggestions in this article. However, if the source of your discomfort comes from anything your partner is saying or doing, try and communicate that with him or her. But do be aware that this might be a signal of an unhealthy and possibly unsafe relationship, which should be dealt with. No one deserves to feel worthless.

    7. Remember: There’s no pressure!

    You shouldn’t feel like anything is expected of you in a relationship or any sexual situation. However, if you do ever feel self-conscious when having sex, just know that you’re not alone and that there’s no pressure to do anything you don’t want to. No partner should voice frustration if you refuse to do something or are uncomfortable due to lack of experience or otherwise. Reach out to someone you trust if you feel like you’re in an unhealthy relationship and just self-reflect and give it time if you know your awkwardness is stemming from your mindset.

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    Defining the relationship, commonly known as DTR, can be an anxiety-inducing topic for many people. In a world filled with hook-ups, casual dating, friends with benefits, open relationships and committed ones, it’s so important to be on the same page when it comes to where you and your love interest stand. We know this topic can be tough to bring up and even harder to navigate the conversation once you do, so we spoke with Dr. Patrick Wanis, relationship expert and author of Get Over Your Ex Now! and The Breakup Test, about seven ways to define the relationship. With these steps in mind, you’ll better navigate the rough waters of dating and DTR once and for all!

    1. Make it clear what you want from the relationship

    One of the most difficult parts any relationship or sort-of-relationship for many is clearly stating what you want. However, Dr. Wanis really emphasizes that it’s absolutely necessary for you to speak up for yourself and say what you want out of the relationship.

    “I teach to get clear about what you want,” says Dr. Wanis. “So, in this situation, you’ve got to get clear about what type of relationship do you want?”

    There are many types of relationships out there, but if exclusivity is something you want out of the current relationship you hold, it’s just something that needs to be said. Emily Schmidt, a sophomore at Stanford University, offers her experience in speaking up for her expectations.

    “The last person I dated was someone who seemed to hate labels,” says Emily. “Despite asking me to be his girlfriend, he never introduced me as so when meeting his friends or even new people. I've dealt with people who were wishy washy before, so I made quite clear what I wanted from the relationship.”

    It can be scary to speak up for yourself and ask for what you want at times, but you'll never get what you want if you don't ask for it! 

    “In life, you can’t hit a target if you don’t have one,” says Dr. Wanis. “You can’t get what you want if you don’t know what you want. So, get clear about what you want in life, get clear about you want in a relationship, then ask for it.”

    Whether it be openness, exclusivity or somewhere in between, you’ll ultimately want to ensure that you and your love interest are on the same page. Taking a stand and making it clear from the get-go on what you expect out of the connection you have can really save a lot of headaches and heartbreaks later on.

    2. Ask yourself what you’re okay and not okay with

    While it’s important to make it clear what you want from the relationship right away, even when they’re not quite willing to define it, it’s also equally as important to be honest with yourself on what you’re okay and not okay with. Dr. Wanis explains that you’ll want to ask, “What am I willing to give to this relationship, and what will I accept and not accept from my partner?” in order to decide what is best for you.

    Some examples of questions you can ask yourself include, “Am I okay with us dating around, or sleeping with other people? Am I okay with not being labeled as a boyfriend or girlfriend? Am I okay with us just being casual, or friends with benefits?”

    “I really think the idea is to have a conversation,” Dr. Wanis continues. “If someone doesn’t want to define the relationship, they don’t want to commit. Nonetheless, you can still come to an agreement [on] what are you willing to give to this relationship, this friendship, that you don’t want to label.”

    If you feel that your relationship is not exclusive, then it’s a good indicator that you’ll need to be honest with yourself and ask the tough questions. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to figure out what you’re willing to give and accept—just don’t sell yourself short!

    3. Discuss your terms​

    Terms aren’t just for legally binding contracts! They exist in any and every type of relationship whether you know it or not, and they need to be discussed if you’re having trouble to DTR.

    “If you find that they’re not meeting the expectations you set for yourself, you need to ask yourself, ‘Am I willing to have this relationship on their terms?’ They are offering you terms, even when they choose not to define the relationship,” says Dr. Wanis. “By choosing not to define the relationship, they’re choosing not to commit, and now the relationship is on their terms.”

    Just as asking yourself whether you’re okay with each other having multiple partners or not, for example, that also doubles as a specific term of a relationship that needs to be up for discussion.

    “Labeling isn’t the same as defining,” Dr. Wanis explains. “So maybe your love interest doesn’t want to label the relationship as boyfriend, girlfriend or exclusive, and yet nonetheless, you must define the terms. Because it’s the terms that will determine what type of relationship you’re actually having.”

    If your love interest isn’t willing to DTR, then you should at least ensure that you have agreed on a set of terms, including commitment, exclusivity or openness.

    4. Understand their perspective

    While it can be extremely frustrating to be involved with someone who won’t budge on defining the relationship, understanding where they’re coming from can typically shed some light on the situation. Chelsea Jackson, a junior at Iowa State University, offers up her advice as someone who’s afraid of commitment.

    “Seeing as my hatred for that dreaded DTR talk stems from my phobia of commitment, I feel like having a discussion about why the person you're seeing doesn't want to DTR could be helpful for both parties,” says Chelsea. Do you catch a running theme here?

    “I feel like a lot of people think that just because someone refused to DTR means that they're a jerk, but that isn't always the case,” Chelsea continues. “Understanding why someone doesn't want to DTR could help explain whether they never want to DTR or whether they just aren't ready to DTR at that moment.”

    Everyone has their own story, so really taking a moment to stop and understand a different perspective can help ease some frustration that you probably have. Life happens, and commitment can be scary, especially for those who struggle with it or have had bad experiences with a past relationship. After all, we’re only human, and our own thoughts and perspectives are what make us individuals!

    Related: How to DTR (Define the Relationship)

    5. Question if this relationship is worth it

    Now that you’ve thought long and hard about what you want and what you’re willing to accept from your relationship, it’s now time to question whether the relationship is worth it. It’s certainly not easy, but just know that your time and worth are major priorities!

    “If he or she isn't willing to abide, you've got to question whether the relationship is worth your time,” says Emily.

    “If after you've talked to this person and they're still hesitant to DTR (ever) then you should really think about whether it's worth seeing this person anymore,” Chelsea explains. “If you can handle the fact that you two don't have an official title (but you both respect each other, obviously), then it might be worth sticking around.”

    You’ve already been real with yourself about what you want and expect from the relationship, so you’ll have to take that next step further and truly define your idea of self-worth and what type of relationship is worthy of your time and commitment (or lack thereof).

    6. Decide whether the commitment is there

    Commitment – it’s the C word that can send many running for the hills. If you still can’t decide whether your love interest is committed or not, even without your definition, you’ll want to consider what exactly avoiding that definition could actually mean.

    “When a person says, ‘I don’t want to define our relationship,’ usually what they’re saying is, ‘I don’t want to commit,’” Dr. Wanis explains. “Because as soon you define the relationship, then the other person is forced to make a decision and to commit or not commit.”

    As Chelsea mentioned, commitment can even be considered a phobia for some. So if your love interest isn’t willing to define anything, it may be safe to assume that they’re struggling with the commitment aspect of it all.

    “I really sincerely believe that if someone refuses to define a relationship it’s not because they don’t want to be labeled, it’s usually because they don’t want to commit,” Dr. Wanis continues.

    Commitment is a major, if not one of the most important components of a relationship, so if you can pinpoint your love interest’s commitment, or a lack thereof, it can become easier to decide if a commitment is what you’re looking for.

    7. Consider ending the relationship if you are unhappy with it

    Okay, so, you’ve spoken up for yourself. You’ve asked yourself the difficult questions. You’ve discussed terms. Ultimately, how do all these steps help you deal with someone who isn’t willing to DTR? Essentially, this process is the key in deciding on whether it’s time to stay together or walk away.

    “Get clear about what you want, and if [they don’t] want to give you what you want, then you have to be willing to walk away from the relationship,” Dr. Wanis advises.

    Although it’s super tempting to stick around and hold onto the hope that maybe they’ll change or eventually want to define and label an exclusive relationship, that doesn’t always happen.

    “If a relationship (whatever that relationship may be) is important to you, then you should stop seeing that person,” says Chelsea. “Not only is it immensely stressful for you to pretend that you care about having the DTR talk, it's also super stressful for the other person if you lie and say that you're alright with not having an official title (because nobody wants to be nagged about having that awkward DTR discussion).”

    Related: 5 Signs It’s Time to Let Go of Your Relationship

    Walking away from a relationship that probably won’t change will not only spare your feelings in the end, but it’ll also allow you for more time to seek out what you truly want from someone else.

    “Personally, I say run. I was once seeing someone who didn't want a title, so I thought if I proved I was worthy of a title that he would change his mind,” says Kayla Düngee, a junior at Georgia State University. “Wrong. They will take all of your kindness for granted and leave you wondering why you're not good enough. Save yourself the headache and go for someone who actually sees your worth.”

    Your happiness is everything, so if the stress of defining your relationship is weighing you down, you do have options.

    “Never accept second best,” says Dr. Wanis. “Never accept mediocrity. Go for what you want. And if this particular person isn’t willing to give you what you want, then go through another relationship with someone else.”

    Defining the relationship is not something that comes easy, and that’s okay! Relationships are messy, and rarely anything that is worth your time is easy. Just always keep in mind that there are actions you can take when you find yourself lacking definition in your current relationship, or whatever you’d like to refer to it as, and if you find that your needs aren’t being met and that you’re not happy, then walking away may be the easiest way to deal of them all.

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    Make outs are one of those things that we all can’t help but love. No matter if you’re the most experienced girl at your school or have never been kissed, you can benefit from a few no-fail kissing tips. Try one — or all eight — of these the next time you’re with your SO or just hooking up with the cutie from down the hall. Get your lip balm ready…you’re going to need it.

    1. Slow and passionate wins the race

    Sometimes things get heated quickly when your libido is really high. But try to slow it down once in a while. Kylie, a sophomore at LaSalle University, says, “If you think about making it matter and making out slowly and passionately, it will leave the guy remembering you and how you weren't like other girls. Think of it as being classy and gentle and slowly increasing the intimacy rather than moving too quickly.” Be intentional with every move you make—it’ll pay off.

    2. Try biting their lip

    We’re not talking about chomping down, just a little nibble on their lower lip is all it takes. But not too frequently; you want it to come as a fun, aggressive-yet-passionate surprise while you’re kissing. Tiara, a sophomore at Montgomery County Community College, says, “Lip nibbling and biting is a must…it’s the sexiest thing ever.” But don’t bite down too hard. Autumn, a senior at Emmanuel College, knows this from experience: “I once had a guy bite my bottom lip so hard I woke up with a fat lip. It was funny, but not so sexy.” Try it out next time you’re looking to add some excitement to your make out.

    3. Be mindful when it comes to tongue

    This is an important one, ladies. Many of us have had bad French kiss experiences that we try so hard to repress from memory. Tiara warns all of us: “If the boy shoves his tongue down your throat, just run for the hills, no girl likes washer tongue syndrome!” Some people choose to steer clear of using tongue all together because it can go bad quickly.

    Katie*, a graduate student at Temple University, says, “Don't use a ton of tongue, I feel like this is a no-brainer, but go slow with the amount of tongue. Also, flick and glide your tongue against theirs and don't shove it down their throat.” When French kissing, try and get a vibe from the person you’re hooking up with. “If you use your tongue, you have to work together with the person you're making out with; you don't want to be doing all the work and you don't want them to either,” says Kylie. Without tongue, it seems like you can’t find a rhythm, like you’re little kids giving a peck on the playground. But with too much tongue, things get slobbery and weird. "Finding that happy medium is the key to make out success," says Alexa, a junior at Temple University. Yes, using tongue is complicated, but without it, making out wouldn’t be nearly as fun!

    Related: What to Do Once the Honeymoon Stage is Over

    4. Use your hands

    There are plenty of things to do with your hands while you’re making out. Play with your SO’s fingers, grab their butt, place your hand on their heart or run your hands across their back and hips. Playing with or pulling their hair while you’re kissing is also super sexy. Stacy*, a senior at James Madison University, says, “I love to pull my boyfriend's hair a little bit. It keeps things exciting and I know he likes it!” Also, keep in mind that even little things can turn an average make out into a passionate one. Emily, a freshman at Ithaca College, says, “I totally love it when my boyfriend grabs me and pulls in my face with both hands; it makes all the difference!” As long as your hands are active and aren’t just at your sides, it should be smooth sailing.

    5. Don’t knock neck kisses

    If there’s one thing that’s often forgotten about during a make out session, it’s your neck. It’s one of the more sensitive areas of your body, and it’s pivotal in taking your make out to the next level. Once you’ve had enough of your partner’s lips, slowly kiss down their cheek, chin, and neck. Kiss it slowly and sensually, and move around. You can suck a little bit, but be cautious, because hickeys are easy to create and hard to conceal. You can stop kissing at the base of the collarbone, or just keep going...if you know what I’m sayin’. “Licking your partner's neck drives them crazy,” says Autumn. “Nice and slow from the base up, and then look in their eyes after—the reaction is always priceless.” This tip is an absolutely fool-proof way to turn up the heat during a hookup.

    6. Take a breather

    We all need to catch our breath for a moment or two, and sometimes the breaks between kissing are the most meaningful part of the make out. Use this time to make eye contact and smile. Don’t be afraid to vocalize how good you’re feeling. “Moaning and talking during split second breaks for air…that’s a turn-on,” says Emma*, a freshman at Eastern Mennonite University. Whisper something loving, sexy or even something absolutely raunchy in your partner’s ear as you prepare to lock lips again. Lightly brush your lips against theirs, without actually kissing them, to make the moment sensual.

    7. Change your location

    Many women have fantasies of having sex in weird places; I think you can do the same for make outs. At school? Fuel your fantasies by making out in the library book stacks or in a quiet hallway. By being in a place that’s new and uncertain, your adrenaline will be pumping, increasing your chances for a seriously passionate make-out. At home? Try the shower or the kitchen. Jane*, a sophomore at Temple University, says, “I love when my boyfriend pulls me into other rooms and pushes me up against the wall to kiss me. Even better when he picks me up and sits me on a counter so I can straddle him. Such a turn-on.” For future reference, leave your squeaky dorm bed behind and find somewhere new to fool around.

    8. Confidence is everything

    The number one rule when it comes to making out: Be confident in every move you make! Even if you’re unsure about any of the tips above, or kissing in general, pretend like you know what you’re doing. Fake it ’til ya make it, ladies. Even if think you mess up, if you mess up with confidence, chances are your make out partner will just go along with it.

    From neck kisses to advice on French kissing, we hope this was the best study guide for your next make out session. Making out shouldn’t be intimidating or nerve-racking, it should be a fun way to express your affection for one another…and a fun alternative to exercising, in our opinion.

    *Name has been changed

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    In an age when you can buy cheerios through the Internet, it was only a matter of time before online dating became the new dating. Nowadays it feels like there are billions of ways to find a SO online. Everything from websites that claim to find your soul mate, to the infamous Tinder offer avenues for dating at your fingertips. But with online dating comes a lot of skepticism and fear—can you say “Catfish?”  Like anything new, you might be hesitant to try it out, so here are some ways to make sure your experience is safe, fun…and hopefully successful!

    1. Know your dating site/app

    There are TONS of dating websites and apps out there, but finding the right one for you can make all the difference. Let’s get real for a second: chances are you’re not going to be on eHarmony if you’re a college student. A lot of those sites have a put-a-ring-on-it mentality that you probably won’t feel comfortable with. Instead, stick with more low-key outlets. “Chelsea Jackson, a junior at Iowa State University who says, “I've been using Tinder for the last four years, I've used Bumble periodically and OkCupid once. I've learned that using a dating app really just depends on the people in your area, seeing as I've experienced the good, the bad and the WTF.” You can always go for the basic Tinder or Bumble, but don’t be afraid to check out other similar apps like Coffee Meets Bagel or Friendsy. Take these apps on test runs and find out which one you prefer.

    2. Use your gut

    If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be realistic, if you happen to find a 6’3” Australian man with chiseled abs that doesn’t have the last name ‘Hemsworth,’ it’s probably a scam. As much as we hate to admit it, there are definitely some creeps out there. If it feels like something is off, then don’t sweat it and move along. There are plenty of fish—which is also another dating app – for you to check out!

    Related: 7 Dating Apps You Won’t Believe Exist

    3. Screen out duds

    It’s normal to be hesitant about meeting a blind date for the first time, and online dating is no different. So take some time to get to know them through texting. The best part about dating online is that you’ll never be on a blind date where you discover that you have absolutely nothing in common after two minutes. Having the option to get to know someone before meeting them lets you screen out the spark-less interests before you set up an actual date.

    4. Do a little stalking

    We’re not talking FBI-level, just your basic social media stalk. Check to see if you have mutual friends, and use their social media to get an overall vibe. If they seem non-existent on the Internet, proceed with caution. You never know whether they’re just low-key or lying, so always keep your guard up. Also remember that although social media is a good indicator of whether they’re a decent prospect; don’t write them off solely based on Instagram…not everyone can be photogenic.

    5. Expect a few weirdos

    The Internet is home to losers and douches—it a simple fact. What’s easier than hiding behind a screen while you play out all your f*ckboi dreams? Be aware that you will encounter a few of these dudes. But remember that whether it’s online or in reality, they will always exist. At least you won’t have to deal with them in person. *Swipe left*

    6. Remember why it’s so great

    Online dating is still dating, so it comes with all the same risks but it can be a great outlet. It’s the perfect option for anyone who gets nervous meeting someone new, or just doesn’t like the whole, “girl walks up to guy at a bar” thing. Plus it’s a noncommittal option that lets you have control of the situation. At the very least, all you’re doing is having a conversation—no strings, no awkward pauses.

    Online dating might not be for everyone, but if you’re smart about it, it can pay off. It’s not a perfect science, but if you make sure you’re staying safe about it there’s no reason not to. After all, if you are hesitant but try it out anyways, chances are there’s a guy on there that feels the same way too.

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    The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

    For some reason, there’s some weird stigma about single women either being sex-deprived, desperate or complete f**king nymphos. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying casual sex, some of us just don’t want casual sex right now. Thankfully, us single gals don’t necessarily need another person to have a fulfilling sex life.

    As someone who’s perpetually single AF, but who also loves sex, I’m a master at satisfying myself sexually. In fact, I’ve been more sexually satisfied in my last three years of singledom, than I’ve been in any relationship, and here’s why.

    1. I just focus on myself

    While pleasing someone else can be sexually liberating, focusing on my own sexual pleasure obviously makes me feel more satisfied. Plus, I don’t have to fake my orgasms anymore or worry about that awkward, mid-sex dirty talk. (Unless you count me yelling at my vibrator because its batteries died mid-climax as dirty talk.)

    Masturbation is key to your sexual satisfaction, but not that same old mundane routine you do before bed (because every girl should have a solid bedtime routine). Masturbation should extend past using your trusty fingers all the time. That’s right, it’s time to use your single woman status to experiment with sex toys. Trying different sex toys can help you learn more about your own body— what turns you on, what doesn’t and what’s best left for special occasions. While the online sex toy selection can be intimidating (and costly, seeing as you can’t really return a toy you don’t like) for a first-time sex toy shopper, you can easily go to your local sex toy shop and ask for help. Don’t be intimidated— the shop employees are literally there to help you, so use them as a resource.

    Once you find what sex toys (or lack thereof) work for you, then you can focus on pleasing yourself without having to worry about any sex-related issues or questions from your nonexistent partner.

    2. There's no pressure 

    Seriously, I don’t have to worry about having sex with another person. I get it, sex is supposed to be this magical bond between you and another person (or three). But let’s face it, most people have some form of sex-related anxiety.

    While casual hookups used to be my thing, they’re now just draining. I used to have to plan a one-night stand seven business days in advance because I subconsciously felt the need to wax my entire body and paint my face with makeup, just to impress some guy who’s going to spend thirty minutes struggling to find my clit anyway. Although I generally feel more comfortable with my female suitors because they know the struggle of getting ready for a date (albeit a sex-date), it’s still tiresome to spend time on getting to know a new sexual partner and their sexual (and emotional) needs and desires, just so you can selfishly get off.

    Maybe I’m just getting old, but I know that I don’t want or need the pressure of dealing with another person in the bedroom (or on the kitchen counter) when I’m single. Because I’m single, I still have the option to have a one-night stand or find an FWB.

    3. Sexting

    Sexting is one of my most provocative past times. And I’m not talking about the “sexting” where that one frat boy snaps you asking for nudes at 3:01 a.m. Honestly, just sexting is far more erotic than any nude, porn or awkward five minutes of “bliss" to me. Unless of course, the person you’re texting still hasn’t figured out the difference between “you’re and your,” in which case you need to drop that person ASAP, because grammar is sexy AF.

    I get it. I just spent six paragraphs in the last section explaining why casual hookups aren’t my thing anymore, so how on earth do I find people to sext?

    Don’t worry, I don’t just type a random number into my phone and start sexting away (but maybe that’s why I’ve been single for the last three year). Instead, I approach people who I already trust. Thankfully, I have a couple former f**kbuddies who enjoy a good sexting sesh. Granted, they’ve moved several hundreds of miles away (probably to avoid me), so there’s minimal risk that they’ll nag me about DTRing or hanging out. If you don’t have a trusted former lover on the backburner, see if one of your single friends would be interested in some late-night sexting. After all, if you’re close friends with them, then you should feel comfortable enough to at least discuss this proposition.

    Regardless, healthy sexting can help you learn more about yourself and how you can satisfy yourself, both sexually and emotionally. Yes, I said emotionally because sexting isn’t just about virtually stripping each other’s clothes off and getting into it. There’s still some form of emotional connection attributed to the act. Not to mention, regular sexting can help you develop your vocabulary and become a more imaginative writer. Who knows, maybe you could become the next E.L. James?

    Whether you choose to sext, have a one-night stand or buy every sex toy in your local sex shop, you shouldn’t feel pressured into seeking a relationship to feel truly sexually satisfied. After all, exploring the best way to sexually satisfy your single-self is key to truly figure out your sexual needs and being comfortable with your single status. Otherwise, how are you going to expect someone else to please you, when you’re still figuring out all your kinks and quirks?

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    We know good sex when it happens. Your partner has a giant, goofy grin on their face, your hair will never be orderly again and even your dog is watching you suspiciously when you leave the bedroom. Unfortunately, incredible sex doesn’t always happen consistently, but it’s important to know the signs when it does because TBH sex is so important. Riding the waves of pleasure will leave you feeling light and exuding your sexual glow all day. It’s magic. Educate yourself on the staples of good sex, and then try to repeat them again and again — your partner and your libido will be thanking you.

    1. The sex is equal

    Sex is best when you and your partner are both giving as much as you take. That means you aren’t spending all your time gyrating like a madwoman, and your partner isn’t spending hours trying to give you (near impossible) multiple orgasms only to have you fall asleep after. Everything should be ~reciprocated~ because you both deserve to feel good.

    Isabella, a junior at Cal Poly State University San Luis Obispo, weighs in about what makes great sex. “I think we all know the struggle of giving a blowjob, only to never get head back — or worse to have to ask for it *shudders,*” she says. “That’s why the best sex for me is always when both of us are putting in equal effort to please each other.”

    There are times when it can definitely be fun to have your partner focus solely on pleasing you and vice versa, but we promise that mind-blowing sex is going to come when you’re both giving your all to each other. In the words of Rihanna, “Werk.”

    Related: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn

    2. Your mind isn’t wandering

    If you’re actually having good sex, you won’t be wondering about that green stuff in your teeth or if all this rolling around will turn your spray tan blotchy. All your brain can manage is incomprehensible moaning, and that’s how it should be when your body and your head are in the game.

    “I get really insecure with how my body looks, and then the switch is flipped in my mind and I’m no longer into the sex anymore,” Isabella says. “I either have to think about what’s happening in that very moment or let my mind go completely and just feel it. Distraction is so not productive for good sex.”

    We agree that any type of distraction is terrible when you’re trying to vibe with all the sensual feelings happening, but it’s a rarely spoken truth that letting in nasty thoughts about your physical appearancecan kill your mood like no other. Unbelievable sex means that you give zero Fs about what your body looks like. Confidence always wins, and it’s what people are attracted to. Don’t second guess how sexy you are, and your partner won’t either.

    3. You take your time

    There’s no quick, nervous thrusting happening here. Good sex is something you never want to end, and it leaves you wishing you could stay in your cocoon of bliss and messy sheets forever. Everything is drawn out — you don’t rush foreplay and you might even make the time to slip a few new moves into your usual bedroom routine. Your “Oh” literally becomes an “Ohhhhhhhh,” because the sex is just that good.

    Summer, a senior at the University of California, Berkeley, believes that toe-curling sex should never be a quick activity. “When I look at the best times my boyfriend and I have had sex, they’re always really long memories,” she says. “We usually had an entire afternoon free to mess around with each other, or they’re times when we slowed down and really took our time to appreciate what was happening. Urgent and quiet sex is weird — it should be good, long love-making.”

    Remember all that mumbo-jumbo about excitement, plateau, orgasm and resolution stages? Well, that formula is actually real AF for incredible sex, and we should all collectively do what we can to make that “excitement” stage last as long as possible. You’ll thank us later.

    Related: You Will Not Be Able to EVEN with These First Time Sex Horror Stories

    4. You’re having fun in the moment

    After amazing sex, you should find rogue panties under your bed, bra literally nowhere to be found and realize you’re in desperate need of a shower. That’s because the best sex of your life will always be completely in the moment and far from perfect! You won’t care about your bed staying neatly made or preventing your hair from ending up like a giant beehive. Let go, stop stressing and have as much fun as possible.

    “My biggest tip for having the best sex ever is to always let it happen how it’s supposed to happen,” says Stacy, a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder. “Natural, go with the flow sex never fails to be fun because it’s so in the moment that your mind isn’t trying to psyche you out. I also think it’s way easier for women to orgasm when they’re open to anything that happens.”

    Do not let your sex life exist out of obligation. You should not be having sex twice a week just to get it out of the way. Do it because you’re a woman who’s allowed to have sexual needs and seek that fulfillment. Be spontaneous with your partner, don’t overthink what’s happening and just go with your sexual flow. These things are the making of unforgettable sex, and you’ll easily look back on it feeling sexy and joyful.

    Sex is unique to each person and couple, but by taking your time, enjoying it and focusing on the moment, you’ll improve your sex life with ease — no crazy sex position necessary.

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    Who said Halloween wasn’t a romantic holiday? Not only can you dress up in cute matching costumes with your SO, but you have someone who will cover your eyes and who you can grab onto during the gory scenes of scary movies. Horror films are one of the best ways to get your adrenaline pumping for a fun date during Halloween season, whether it’s with your long-term squeeze or a new cutie you’ve been seeing.

    While going for a walk to see the leaves changing is a nice way of hanging out, every couple needs a break from the typical fall dates—and what better way to break the lull than with popcorn and a blood-curdling thriller?

    So kick off the spooky festivities by cuddling up with your man and watching one of these terrifying movies! Experts even say that engaging in thrilling activities with another person can make your bond stronger. We’ve ordered our movie selections from light-hearted frights to bone-chilling tales that will stick with you long after you’ve turned off the TV—it’s up to you how close you want to get with your guy this Halloween!

    1. Warm Bodies

    Can’t decide between a horror flick and a rom-com? Warm Bodies takes the best of both worlds by blending a grotesque cast with an irresistibly sweet plotline. In this paranormal Romeo and Juliet adaptation, a zombie boy falls for a living girl in the midst of an apocalypse. As their love grows stronger, the boy begins showing more human-like characteristics (we’ll spare you the beating heart joke), which shed a new light on the war between the living and the dead. So if you and your guy have opposite tastes on the movie spectrum, we’re sure you’ll both find something to love in this hilarious “horror” film. Plus, you can always have a playful argument about who will win the ultimate battle between zombies and humans!

    2. A Nightmare on Elm Street

    Another classic that takes place in a seemingly peaceful suburban setting, this movie will turn your pleasant dreams into sheer terror. When a murderer with a bladed glove begins haunting people in their sleep, a young girl must prove that a string of deaths are all related to one nighttime killer (before he slashes all of her friends!)

    While the plotline will make you sleep with one eye open, keep in mind that this movie was made in the ‘80s. Lindsay Goldstein, a senior at the University of Illinois, says, “The special effects are SO outdated, and it's always great to make fun of how obvious the makeup and fake blood are and laugh together while snuggling up!”

    3. Scream

    Any installation of this classic thriller is sure to give you a case of goosebumps. The movie features a cast of horror movie mavens that use their know-how to escape the attacks of a killer by the name of Ghostface (we wonder how long it took them to come up with that…). While the cast makes fun of the conventions in scary movies, they still find themselves falling for the very same tricks.

    “I think it [has] just the right amount of scary… that you can talk through the movie and still know what’s going on,” says Asiana Smith, a senior at Le Moyne College. What would you and your guy do if Ghostface was pursuing you? Chat it up and make a game plan as you watch the main characters make not-so-smart decisions.

    4. When a Stranger Calls

    This 2006 remake of the 1979 film will have you think twice about taking that seemingly harmless part-time babysitting job. When a teenager babysits two children in a large home, she receives strange phone calls from an unidentified number. The police trace the call and tell the babysitter that the calls are coming from inside the house (we think that’s a creepy enough reason for you and your guy to silence your own phones—and that means more attention on each other!). The babysitter soon realizes that her real job description is to keep the kids—and herself—alive and far away from the mysterious caller.

    Despite its disturbing premise, this movie can also be an unlikely conversation starter if you’re watching it with a guy you’re getting to know. “I always use this movie to my advantage because I can cuddle up with the guy and reference how much I babysit and love kids,” says Morgan Gibbons, a recent grad of Boston College and the publicity director for HC BC. “Guys usually like to hear that I care about kids… especially if they have younger siblings.”

    5. The Cabin in the Woods

    If you think all horror films end the same way, you need to watch this movie. The story begins with five adventurous friends who go on holiday in a remote cabin (what could possibly go wrong?). Little do they know that workers in an underground facility are monitoring their every move. By using drugs, the workers begin manipulating the group’s rational thoughts (like sticking together no matter what) to control their fates.

    The action pokes fun at the ridiculous scenarios in most horror films and uses a unique approach to keep you guessing at every suspenseful pause. On top of the exciting plot, there are a few sultry scenes (like a tipsy game of truth or dare) that will set the mood for any scary movie date night—just make sure your date doesn’t get jealous when you’re staring at Chris Hemsworth more than him.

    6. You’re Next

    A family reunion goes awry in this movie when murderers wearing farm animal masks invade the family’s luxurious vacation home. However, the assailants are in for a surprise when one of the sons’ girlfriends has hidden survival skills that could save them all. The retreat turns into a bloody game of cat and mouse as relationships are tested and trust becomes one of the most deadly weapons. This movie is sure to give you an eerie feeling as you’re holding on to your guy because the most dangerous villains are often closer than you think…(although we’re sure he’s great!)

    7. The Conjuring

    Set in the 1970s, this movie is about a family who moves into a farmhouse that was previously owned by an accused witch. If that wasn’t bad enough, it turns out the witch killed her own children and then committed suicide. The family starts hearing voices and seeks out the help of a husband and wife who specialize in paranormal investigations. The creepiness escalates, and the couple must perform an exorcism before the family is possessed, and history repeats itself. This movie is not for the timid, so make sure you and your guy are ready for the eeriest scenes ever. If you need some motivation to make it through to the end, just know that Patrick Wilson gets a lot of screen time.

    Take advantage of the spooky season and indulge your inner child; you can outgrow trick-or-treating, but scary movies are always age-appropriate. Your S.O. will appreciate the bold suggestion and be more than happy to protect you from those freaky villains (whether you’re really scared or not!). 

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    At one point, online dating must have seemed revolutionary. Speed, convenience, limitless options—consider me sold. But over time, the practice evolved from detailed, online profiles on sites promising compatibility into cringey, swipe-right apps that, for all their technological advancement and millennial appeal, rarely seem to lead to anything meaningful. Personally, I prefer to meet my potential SOs and even casual dates IRL but that doesn’t mean I’m not open to having a little fun à la Bumble every now and then.

    The unique thing about Bumble is that, for hetero matches, only the girl is allowed to start the conversation—empowering, sure, but also pretty nerve-wracking. That’s why I decided to stick to my strengths: microeconomic theories about market systems and 90s pop culture trivia. Okay, the first one wasn’t much help, but who doesn’t love the 90s?

    So, here’s what happened when I started all my Bumble conversations with opening lyrics from hit 90s pop songs.

    Choosing The Songs

    True 90s kids know that 90s pop music will live on forever. It is an unmistakable fact that you know all the lyrics to at least one song by the Barenaked Ladies and if you never had an N’Sync vs. Backstreet Boys duel to the death, have you even lived? That being said, it was a fairly daunting task deciding which songs I would arm myself with on this virtual adventure. In an effort to remain as unbiased as possible (and increase my chances of getting actual responses), I decided to let the genre-music gods of Pandora decide this for me. I subjected myself to a weekend of nonstop 90s playlists—not mad about it—like 90s Pop, 90s Alternative and Summer Hits of the 90s.

    Committed to a thoughtful process, I even consulted a few of my best guy friends to see what they thought of my quest. They compared it to the inevitable trainwreck that was Kate Hudson’s relationship with Matthew McConaughey in How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days. You know, the one where she nicknames his penis Princess Sofia and buys him a love fern before dumping him in the middle of the street. So, obviously, I was off to a great start.

    They did manage to save me from an unsolicited dick pic or two by convincing me to scrap the opening line of “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden. The song starts, “I’ll be your wish, I’ll be your dream, I’ll be your fantasy.” Not a great idea.

    In the end, I decided on a list of about five to eight go-to songs that I thought had immediately recognizable opening lines, but steered clear of those that included the actual song title. Pro tip: This is not the worst way to spend your weekend.

    Dropping The Lines  

    Once I lined up a few matches on Bumble, I got to work.

    I was nervous that they wouldn’t get it (an obvious sign that it was a bad match anyway) or worse, that they would and I would be stuck conversing in Sugar Ray lyrics for the next 48 hours. Little did I know that there’d be a few award-winning exchanges, literally.

    1. Justin On The Block

    If I had to declare a winner in this whole ruse, it would be Justin. Not only was he first to catch on but he also turned my own game on me—I was entertained! I started our chat quoting LFO’s “Summer Girls” with “New Kids On The Block had a bunch of hits.” And although he knew the song immediately, he skipped over a few lines—a trick I would soon find out was very much intentional. He told me that he liked girls who wear Abercrombie & Fitch, but I couldn’t let the actual next line (“Chinese food makes me sick”) go. He had to pass the test! I shot back an accusatory, “Chinese food doesn’t make you sick?” To which he had a very honest, very funny response about P.F. Chang’s.

    This is where I lost control of my own game. Justin, a man who knows his way around the 90s obviously, asked if we could “change the narrative.” It was his turn to test me. Before I could reply, he had already sent me the lyrics to Len’s “Steal My Sunshine.” I had overlooked this song because I thought it was a long shot but I certainly knew what came next so I was keeping up. Next on Justin’s playlist: Spice Girls’ “Wannabe.” I was going to ace this!

    Justin had other plans. Readjusting the lyrics in his favor, he reworked his next line to be, “I wanna be your lover…” and I immediately admitted defeat. I didn’t tell him this but that song was actually on my list so I was pretty much blown away. I sent Justin a well-deserved trophy emoji, but it wouldn’t be the last trophy of the game.

    2. Breakfast At Philip’s

    I sent Philip a cool and casual “You’ll say that we’ve got nothing in common, no common ground to start from” from Deep Blue Something’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” This wasn’t exactly true since Philip’s bio and photos were all about travel and I was actually intrigued. In fact, as a disclaimer, I genuinely swiped right on each of these guys so I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised when Philip caught on right away. He played along for a few lines and I decided to throw him a parenthetical curveball.

    He went on to congratulate me for my unique icebreaker—thank you, Philip—and tossed me a trophy emoji for good measure. I appreciated this and reciprocated the sentiment. But Philip wasn’t done singing sweet nothings; working the song to his advantage (like Justin did) and his follow-up response was definitely impressive!

    3. One Week With Boris

    Justin and Philip set the bar pretty high, but I was still pleasantly surprised that a few other guys joined me on my walk down memory lane. Boris didn’t disappoint with his top-drawer knowledge of the Barenaked Ladies and their hit breakup track, “One Week.” There’s no way he was Googling this; he was that quick. Two claps.

    4. Matthew’s Wonderwall

    Matthew was no stranger to Oasis’ classic karaoke song, “Wonderwall.” He even went along with it for longer than I expected but, sadly, added no unexpected twists or funny limericks. Still, a good sport and for that, I’m grateful.

    Related: 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Date Someone New 

    If you’re looking for new ways to initiate Bumble conversations, why not try the lyrics to some of your favorite throwback songs or famous quotes from movies that you love? It’s a great way to ease the pressure of talking first and it keeps things light and fun. Bonus: you’ll know right away whether or not you two have a similar sense of humor. Don’t take yourself—or Bumble—too seriously.

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    With Halloween approaching, you’re probably spending most of your time watching ‘Hocus Pocus’ on a loop, making pumpkin spice-flavored everything and maniacally pinning the most epic Halloween costumes you can find. If you’re in a relationship, you’ve probably also had to consider whether you and your SO should attend the festivities dressed as Peanut Butter and Jelly, Morticia and Gomez Adams, Thelma and Louise, or Poussey and Taystie. Before you break out the DIY supplies, consider these five reasons to skip the matching costumes this year.

    1. You can’t agree on an idea

    This is the ultimate deal breaker because you can’t exactly match with someone else if you both go dressed as completely incompatible characters. It’d be like bookworm Rory Gilmore going out for a night on the town with daredevil Deadpool—it’s just not a good idea and, honestly, is a telltale sign of poor planning and even worse foresight. Chelsea Jackson, a junior at Iowa State University, says that she and her ex-SO decided against matching costumes because they had different tastes. “I’m always extra with my Halloween costumes and he was very low key, like putting on his Wal-Mart vest and going as a Wal-Mart employee type of low key,” she explains. “It just wouldn’t have been fun to try to get him to sit still for an hour of makeup to turn him into a merman to match my mermaid costume.”

    Of course, not being able to agree on a couples costume doesn’t mean that your relationship is destined to fail but it’s a good indication that you should both opt for solo alternatives. It’s not worth the fight or the miserable night one of you is bound to have in a costume that you despise.

    2. You (or your SO) just aren’t into it

    Halloween is cool—just ask Marnie Piper—and that pretty clearly means that you should have fun with it! If one of you isn’t enthused about the idea of matching costumes, the whole experience could be a nightmare. Certified counselor and relationship coach Jonathan Bennett says, “Couples costumes can be cute. But, too often, one partner does the planning and is excited about the choice, while the other goes along with it and is neutral or secretly miserable.” Half the fun of matching costumes is that you both get to come up with it and work on it together. Bennett warns, “Unless you and your partner can both be excited about the costumes and fully on board with it, just go with your individual choices.” 

    3. You’re already going as part of a group costume with your platonic friends

    Sometimes when you’re in a relationship, especially a new one, it can be easy to neglect friends and life responsibilities that aren’t directly related to your SO. You’re happy and possibly in love and it’s okay if you want the whole world to know it. Still, Halloween is a good excuse to reunite with those friends who’ve always been there for you—through your old and new relationships, the good, the bad and even the ugly cry. What better way to show them you still care to be a part of the squad than to plan the best group costume of all time? Elaine Thompson, a home and lifestyle expert at, says, “My boyfriend and I are not trying to match our costumes this year [even though it’s] our first Halloween together. He and his guy friends have plans for a group costume and I have one in mind for myself. Zero matching going on here!”

    If your SO truly cares about your relationship, they’ll understand the need to make time for your friends. They should do the same, too!

    4. You want to assert your independence

    Even if you’re not going as a group, planning a costume just for yourself is still a good way to reaffirm your personal identity outside of your relationship.  Try not to forget who you are and what makes you happy. Thompson says, “I think when you’re in a relationship, there are a lot of things that you compromise on to share with the other person, but that shouldn’t lead to surrendering your own identity.” For her and her boyfriend, skipping the matching costumes was never really a point of discussion. “We both value our independence and have our own styles,” she adds. If you’ve had an idea for a costume for a few months now and it doesn’t require a partner, don’t feel bad about going for it anyway.

    5. You don’t want to annoy your single friends

    There’s nothing a single friend finds more nauseating than the PDA-heavy couple that shows up as Cinderella and Prince Charming (although, they’d probably be more accepting of Pam and Jim). Everyone’s here to have a good time and no one wants to have their nose rubbed in their singlehood. If you have a friend who’s still getting over a breakup or who hashtags every social media post with #foreveralone, you might want to consider his or her feelings before making a grand, arm-in-arm entrance with the firefighter to your Dalmatian.

    Related: The 11 Costumes You'll See at a College Halloween Party

    When you’re in a relationship, there can be a lot of pressure to dress up in the cutest matching costumes with your SO (#doitforthegram), but that doesn’t mean you have to if you don’t want to. Your relationship is more important than the Instagram likes and if it’s simply not your or your SO’s cup of tea, that’s okay. Bennett says the important thing is to “be honest with your boyfriend or girlfriend and respect their opinions. You don’t need to prove anything about your relationship by choosing a couples costume.”

    Even if the idea of matching costumes really excites you, it might not have the same effect on the other person. Kayleen Parra-Padron, a junior at Florida International University, and her boyfriend dress up in matching costumes every year. She says that after being Snow White for 18 straight years before meeting her boyfriend, she’d never go solo again. But even she admits, “If my boyfriend ever wants to dress up as something different, I wouldn't mind. I'd be offended AF, but I'd understand.”  

    Choosing a Halloween costume should never come between you and your SO. Don’t be afraid to go solo this year!

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    Recently broke up with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Never been on a date in your life? No need to worry—life as you know it is far from over. There are plenty of upsides to living the single life, as well as ways to flourish. The freedom and ability to focus on bettering and loving yourself are priceless. So what are you waiting for? Make the most of flying solo. 

    1. You have more time for self care

    Whether it's a bubble bath or baking or anything in between, you have the time to relax and just do you. 

    2. You have more time to spend with friends and family

    No boyfriend? No problem. This just means you have more time to spend with the people you love. After all, there's more than just romantic love. 

    3. You can prioritize yourself

    It's okay to be selfish when you're single. You can prioritize and plan your day the way you want to without having to take into consideration a significant other's schedule, wants or needs.

    4. You learn how to be more independent 

    Learning to feel comfortable doing things on your own is a super important skill you will carry with you your entire life. 

    5. You appreciate your own company more

    You figure out how awesome you truly are and you don't need anyone else to validate that. 

    6. You can flirt without guilt

    With so many fish in the sea, you're bound to find more than one person to test the waters with. 

    7. You have more time to work on achieving personal goals

    Been meaning to volunteer at an animal clinic? Working on a novel? Now's your chance. No matter what the goal is, the point is that there's no one taking up your time. 

    8. There's no one you have to answer to but yourself

    No need to worry about texting a significant other when you get somewhere or telling them when you'll be back. 

    9. You are the ultimate master of the remote control

    No one can complain about your undying love for rom-coms or questionable taste in reality television. 

    10. You don't have to worry about playing mind games 

    No insults, mood swings or childish games to deal with means a little less unneeded stress in your life. 

    11. Nobody can judge you for living in sweatpants all the time

    Who am I dressing to impress? Singledom means not feeling pressured to look a certain way or wear anything that isn't 100 percent comfortable.

    12. A clean living space is optional

    Provided you have a single bedroom. Feel free to embrace the beautiful chaos that is your messy room. 

    13. Your opinion is the only one that matters

    Being fabulously single means caring about your needs. You can't be called out on your selfishness because it's all about you. There is nothing you have to compromise on because you are the master of your destiny. 

    14. You realize you can't live by a strict timeline

    Once you realize you can't plan when you fall in love, you realize life is better spent just living your life and letting the pieces fall where they may. 

    15. You can discover who you are as a person

    When you're part of a couple, your identity can become intertwined with theirs. But learning who you are on your own will give you a better sense of what you'll want later in life. 

    16. Nobody will steal from your chocolate or candy stash

    Whoever said sharing is caring was tragically misguided.

    17. You refuse to settle

    High standards aren't always a bad thing. When you're happily living a fabulously solo life, you have zero interest in spending your time on someone. So you won't unless they're really worth it. 

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    We’ve all been there. You and your SO have split, but he or she is still in your life somehow. Whether you are in the same bio lecture or share mutual friends, you’re constantly running into them. It’s awkward at first, but then you get used to it. Soon enough, you’re getting meals together, and texting more frequently. All of a sudden, it feels like you’re veering back into relationship territory. But, you’re broken up…right? Well, maybe not for long. Here are four signs you might be getting back together with your ex without really realizing it. 

    1. You talk to each other when you’re out with a group of friends

    Sign number one that you and your ex are on the road to reconciliation is that you two are only paying attention to each other when you’re out with a large group of friends. According to Lesli Doares, a licensed marriage and family therapist at Balanced Family, it’s not only the conversation that matters—what you discuss matters too. “Talking about or reminiscing about specific times you were together that were positive, or talking about things on a more personal, deeper level” could indicate you are getting back together, Doares says.

    So, when that friendly chat turns from your favorite new Snapchat filters and a funny thing your professor said, to deeper matters like that incredible anniversary dinner you had or how your ex’s dad is doing after his surgery, the two of you might be moving closer to making up. 

    2. You start to spend more time together as a couple instead of a group

    Sign number two, according to Doares, is that you and your ex are slowly starting to spend more one-on-one time together. Doares says that both men and women can initiate this one-on-one time through changing their plans to make themselves more available. “They invite their ex to events needing a ‘plus one.’ They go to the places their ex hangs out. They run errands for them.” According to Emily*, a junior at The College of William and Mary, she and her ex quickly initiated more time together. “Even though we had been broken up for months, my ex and I started texting again, and we went to a soccer game together, so I was pretty sure we'd end up dating for a third time,” she says. If your ex is inviting you to their fraternity’s date party “just as friends” or jumps at the chance to help you pick up groceries for the week, and you say yes, you all are looking more and more like couple material. 

    Related: 5 Subtle Signs Your Ex Wants To Get Back Together

    3. The two of you have frequent “check-ins”

    If you and your ex are still constantly keeping up with each other over text or any social media platform, that is a major sign that you all are potentially getting back together. If these check-ins are innocuous, for example your ex texts you regularly about assignments for a class you are both in, you are probably still friends. But if they become more frequent or veer into territory that is more serious or sensual, that could be a sign the two of you are heading from breakup to makeup. Doares also cautions that “making flirtatious or slightly sexual comments” can be a signal you might be getting back together. Emily says that she knew she and her ex might get back together when they were in constant contact. “When we kept texting each other every day, I knew it was inevitable that my ex and I would start dating again,” she says. Bottom line is, if your ex is the person you interact with most on text or social media, that is a big sign, that you all could be getting back together!  

    4. You start to seriously discuss why you broke up

    According to Doares, if you and your ex start to have the serious conversations about the cause of your breakup, this could be the biggest sign that you are headed for reconciliation. Actually sitting down and discussing the reasons you all went your separate ways is a mature (and sometimes uncomfortable) situation, so if you can handle this discussion with the necessary maturity, you could be ready to give it another shot. Doares says that discussing any concerns you have, whether about past behaviors or future commitment, are also indicators that you might get back together.  

    Related: What To Do When You're Still In Love With Your Ex 

    Getting back together with you ex is all fine and good (especially if you all really were compatible) , but what if you don’t want this reconciliation to happen? Doares says that the best way to prevent this is to limit any interaction you have with your partner. “If the breakup was initiated by one person, it is cruel if that person keeps the other in their lives. If you work at the same place or still maintain mutual friends, it’s important to be clear about boundaries. It isn’t necessary to pretend you don’t know each other or that you were never a couple. It is necessary, however, to not give your ex false hope. Be polite, but not overly friendly,” she says. But what is the one thing you should never do if you don’t want to reconcile with your ex? “Do not have sex with them—ever” Doares says. In general, Doares says that it is best to exercise caution when it comes to remaining friends post break-up. “Be careful about remaining friends” she says. “This is often seen by the person who didn’t want the breakup as a way to try to get back together and keeps both of you from moving on.”

    Overall, it’s up to you to use your discretion when determining if a reconciliation with your ex is the best choice. You are the one that knows yourself best, so listen to your heart and mind before you make the leap!

    *Name has been changed. 

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    Being single has its perks (read: saving money on dates and gifts, doing whatever you want without worrying about another person, etc.), but sometimes – especially after scrolling through endless fall-themed couple pics on Instagram – we just want to feel loved and satisfied. However, there’s no need to start frantically swiping through Bumble and Tinder trying to find your next bae, because you can fulfill yourself without a SO. Need proof? Read on.

    1. Take yourself on a dinner date

    They have small tables at restaurants for a reason, don’t be afraid to hit your favorite places by yourself! “I love going solo to dinner,” says Sarah, a senior at Temple University. “I can order anything I want without feeling judged. I also don’t have to think of weird small talk. Sometimes I bring a book along, because there’s nothing better than good food and good reads.” There’s no shame in being by yourself at a restaurant; you can reflect on yourself and your life, all while chowing down on your fave foods.

    2. Watch a romantic movie in bed

    Grab your boyfriend pillow – I mean, body pillow –and snuggle up for a night in, accompanied by your favorite rom-com. We recommend anything with Katherine Heigl or anything based off a Nicholas Sparks book –– you can’t go wrong. Even better, you can pop a big ol' bowl of popcorn without having to share it with anyone. Pour a glass of wine, queue up the Netflix, and think about all of the people that are probably on horrible dates right now.

    3. Write down all of the reasons you love yourself

    It might seem cheesy, but taking some time to journal positive thoughts might just fulfill you. Once you see all of the beautiful qualities about yourself written down on paper, you’ll realize you don’t need a SO in order to be living your best life as your best self. "Whenever I'm feeling insufficient, I pull out my phone or a notebook and jot down positive thoughts and characteristics that remind me of my worth," says Anna, a first-year student at Montgomery County Community College. "It's hard to feel fulfilled when you're single during cuffing season, but this helps me a lot." Make a list of all the reasons you love yourself, from surface-level thoughts about your appearance to your personality characteristics. Hang it up in your bedroom for a little much needed inspo when you’re feeling lonely.

    Related: What it Really Means to Love Yourself

    4. Take things into the bedroom…(you know what we mean)

    Whether you’re single or not, feeling sexually fulfilled is important. Even if you’re not sexually active, sometimes you still need some satisfaction. Watching porn isn’t anti-feminist or dirty, and it can even be ethical. So if that’s what you’re into, go enjoy yourself! Masturbation usually goes hand-in-hand with watching porn. It allows you to learn what you like sexually, it can be empowering and it can even relax you. So go ahead, indulge yourself.

    5. Pick up a new hobby

    One benefit of being single is that you can do anything you want without worrying if your SO is having fun. You can be entirely selfish – at least when it comes to how you spend your time. Have you had an urge to pick up embroidery? What about something like powerlifting or running? "When I was with my ex, I always felt like I couldn't try things that were adventurous or tomboy-ish," says Morgan, a senior at Temple University. "I've always loved rock climbing and hiking, so when we broke up, I finally was able to start doing these things." You have more time to try new adventures when you don’t have to focus on planning things with a SO, so maybe try to learn more about yourself in the process.

    6. Treat yo’self!

    Who said you couldn’t order 1-800-Flowers for yourself? Exactly. Order a bouquet, write yourself a love note and act super surprised when you receive it. Splurge on fancy underwear and bras (because feeling sexy even when you’re wearing sweats is *so* important).  If you’ve been vying for Fenty Beauty products or those amaaaazing leggings from Lululemon, treat yo’self! You’d be spending the money on dates and gifts for your SO anyways.

    See? You can do just about everything without an SO that you could with one. Romance doesn’t just have to be between you and another person; it can be all about you.

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    Anyone with toxic parents or dating someone with toxic parents likely knows how difficult they can be when it comes to relationships. Your parents already want to control every aspect of your life — school, work, extracurriculars — and now they want to control who you date? If your SO is the one with toxic parents, that may be even worse — now you have someone else’s parents trying to control your life. Or maybe love wasn’t given freely when you were a child, which can undoubtedly take a toll on your love life. Don’t worry — Her Campus is here to help. We’ve talked to Carole Lieberman, M.D., psychiatrist and author of Bad Boys and Bad Girls, and collegiettes who’ve been there to let you know what it’s like to date with toxic parents in the picture and how you can make the most of a situation like this.

    1. You’ll feel forbidden from certain events and experiences

    When you or your SO has toxic parents, it may feel like you can’t do certain things, such as date freely. “It is likely that these toxic parents will continue to haunt your relationship in other ways, too, even now that you are grown up,” Lieberman says. “For example, if they are too critical, controlling or are absentee parents, they will affect how you see yourself and how you see your significant other.” Jasmine Yadeta, a junior at the University of Victoria, knows this firsthand. “They consistently undermine you regardless of age or experience and that becomes extremely evident in the dating scene,” she shares. “Their feelings tend to come before your own and no matter how badly you want to start dating and getting yourself out there, you are ridden with guilt because their emotions are a priority in comparison to yours (or at least that’s how it seems).”

    Jasmine was able to get out of this once her parents got divorced. “I was lucky and was able to start fresh with my relationships as me, and I became really grounded in who I am,” she says. “My mother listened to reasoning with an open ear after the divorce and honestly it only went up from there.” Even if your parents aren’t getting a divorce, don’t feel like you’re stuck — you’re your own person and are entitled to having your own healthy relationships.

    2. It may be harder to commit or say “I love you”

    Lieberman mentions that growing up with toxic parents can make it difficult to experience intimacy. “Still feeling the sting of rejection or other [forms of] hurt, you are afraid to get closer to your partner for fear that they will similarly reject or hurt you,” she says. “This makes it harder to commit or to say, ‘I love you.’” If you’re wondering why you have a fear of commitment or are dreading those three little words, your upbringing might be the answer. If your parents didn’t show you love as a child, it will be hard for you to show love to someone else.

    3. You’ll face judgment and drama

    This goes without saying — toxic parents will judge your every move, which leads to inevitable drama. Jenna*, a sophomore at the University of South Carolina, recently went through a breakup because of a toxic parent, specifically her ex-boyfriend’s mom. “She would be nice to my face and then he would tell me things that would take me aback,” she says. “It was a constant argument in our relationship that he wouldn't stick up for me enough when his family would say things that were absolutely crazy, so we got to a breaking point.” If your SO is blind to his family’s pettiness, it’s probably time to move on. You can’t let toxic parents drive you to a breaking point.

    Related: You’re Ruining Your Love Life by Doing These 5 Things

    4. You may fear your SO is cheating on you

    Growing up in an unsteady household may make you doubt your SO’s commitment. “If you were raised with a father who cheated, who left home or who otherwise did not make you feel worthy of a good man’s love, then you will be fearful that your partner will cheat on you, abandon you or disappoint you in some other way,” Lieberman says. It’s important to remember that your partner’s actions won’t automatically reflect your parents’. It may be hard to put those thoughts on the back burner, but it’s still important. If you’re in a healthy relationship, you should trust your SO.

    5. Your SO will make you feel stronger

    Although having toxic parents (or an SO with toxic parents) makes it difficult to date, it can make your relationship that much more important. “My mom is emotionally abusive and it definitely affects my dating dynamics,” says Emma*, a junior at the University of Alabama. “It makes it even more important for me to have a supportive SO because they kind of have to outweigh the negativity she creates in my life.” Finding someone who will be there for you, toxic parents or not, is extremely valuable and will put a true test to your relationship.

    What can do you?

    Although you’ll have difficulty in any relationship, it’s important to keep things between you and your SO. “I think while dating, especially in a long-term relationship where you think about wanting to be with someone forever, it's important to keep your relationship between just the two of you and not get toxic families and their opinions involved,” Jenna says. “But, if it's a constant argument and makes the relationship toxic too, you have to take a step back and see if this is really worth the fight.” If you’re able to put the issues aside and become closer, you know you and your SO are in it for the long haul.

    Although toxic parents may put a burden on your dating life, it’s ultimately up to you how much it affects you. If you and your SO use each other to stay strong and keep the relationship between the two of you, you can get through it. Good luck, collegiettes!

    *Name has been changed

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    We've all been here at one point or another. How do you go about dating when you don't even know why you're single in the first place? Get ready for a lot of overthinking, confusion and the best, THIRD WHEELING! It'll be quite a journey, but someday you'll master the science of relationships. Here are 16 things only people who don't know why they're single understand. 

    1. Constantly wondering if you're single because you're too picky

    2. Or because guys actually don't like you

    3. Telling people you're too busy to be in a relationship even though everybody knows that's not true

    4. You've had steady Valentine's Day plans for years now

    5. You haven't mastered the art of talking to guys yet 

    6. You wonder why you don't get asked out on actual dates more because you make an amazing third wheel

    7. You don't even consider yourself single because you live vicariously through your friends' relationships

    8. You've run out of things to watch on Netflix because all you do is sit alone in your room and watch it

    9. Constantly wondering if you're just looking in all the wrong places

    10. Anticipating all of the pity you'll receive from your relatives at the next family gathering

    11. Constantly questioning whether you even have enough energy to deal with a relationship

    12. Growing to accept the concept that you might actually be forever alone

    13. You've become a pro at being a sad, depressing soul 

    14. Stuck somewhere between being a try-hard and just being emotionless towards relationships

    15. You learn to appreciate the people (and food) that will stick by your side no matter what

    16. But you're still always curious about what guys think of you

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    Picture this: You’re on a dinner date with your boyfriend at your favorite restaurant. You just sat down at the table, you’re discussing which fried Italian appetizer you’re going to split and you can’t help but notice that he’s glued to his phone.

    You try to shake it off and engage him in an exciting conversation about the game coming up or his Fantasy Football league. Still, despite your best efforts, he seems more preoccupied with what’s happening on his iPhone than he does with you. You can’t help but wonder who he’s talking to, or what he’s talking about.

    When dinner’s over, you head back to his place to watch Netflix.  He gets up to go to the bathroom, leaving his phone on the couch. You try to ignore it, but it keeps lighting up with Snapchat and text notifications. Now’s your chance to see who he’s been talking to all night.

    Do you check it?

    With so many social media networks, it can be tempting to want to know what your SO is up to at all times, who he/she is talking to, and if they’re being loyal to your relationship.

    For some girls, “snooping” is just an indirect way of keeping up with his day-to-day. Nicole, a junior at Temple University, feels that there should be no boundaries between two people in love and that checking up is totally fine.

    “I don't think it’s unhealthy to want to snoop on your boyfriend,” she says. “I have been in a relationship for three years and I still look in his inbox, not because I don't trust him - because I do. It’s just natural to want to know what they are up to and who they are talking to. I think I would snoop less if I was scared I was going to find something.”

    Sarah*, a sophomore at Temple University, learned the hard way that social media can have a negative impact on a relationship. She began noticing that her boyfriend was constantly Snapchatting other people but never responding to her own snaps. She later discovered that he was Snapchatting multiple girls from his past while she was dating him, after asking to see his phone. Still, Sarah believes that privacy in a relationship is important, but if you suspect something is up, it’s fine to ask your partner about it.

    “I’m not saying look at each other’s phones on the daily, because privacy is also a key factor in a relationship, but if something pops up that bothers you, it should be okay to ask questions and find out what is going on with your significant other or the person you’re worried about,” she says. Trust is key in any relationship.

    The facts

    In a study published by The Telegraph in 2013, it was discovered that guys are actually twice as likely to snoop than girls. The study also found that 31 percent of those surveyed said that if they discovered their partner snooping, they would end the relationship entirely.

    Is snooping worth jeopardizing the relationship?

    Mae, a junior at Temple University, feels that if there’s trust in the relationship, there’s no real reason to snoop.

    “In the past, I had my ex-boyfriend’s password for Facebook and I never needed to go on it until he decided to end things with me,” she says. A week later, he goes out with some other girl! I still had his password, and boom, I found out he'd been talking to her for a while. My recent ex always had his phone on hand, and wouldn't let me look at it or anything. One day this girl Snapchatted him in the morning, and he was sleeping and I knew his password too and decided to look."

    So, what do you do?

    According to relationship expert and college speaker Sheryl Kurland, snooping is not the answer. “Snooping is wrong, wrong, wrong,” she says. “You may not find evidence of what you’re suspicious of, but I guarantee you'll find something that raises a red flag. This creates more problems. Additionally, reading what someone wrote can be interpreted many different ways, all of which are probably inaccurate.”

    While snooping may give you reassurance, there are definitely some repercussions, especially if you find something you don’t like.

    Related: 5 Ways Social Media is Hurting Your Relationship

    Invasion of privacy

    When it comes to snooping, it may be best to practice the Golden Rule. Would you be comfortable with your boyfriend/girlfriend going through your phone? If yes, then you should be comfortable asking your SO about anything that’s on your mind, especially if you suspect that something may be going on. If they find out, they may have difficulties trusting you in the future and feel that they have to hide things from you even more, perpetuating the issue.

    “It all boils down to trust,” Kurland says. “If you can’t trust your significant other, you shouldn’t be in a relationship with him or her.”

    We're creatures of habit

    If you snoop once, you may want to continue snooping. Depending on what you find, you may feel like you can always get away with it without him/her realizing. In a way, it might be a bit thrilling. Chances are, if you start, it will be very difficult to stop, especially once you start knowing every little thing going on in their life.

    It may represent a larger issue

    If you really feel inclined to snoop, there may be something more serious going on with you two than just being on the phone too much. This can mean a number of things, ranging from your own insecurity or to having little faith in the relationship.

    *Name has been changed

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    You like to think your dating skills are pretty great or at least okay. But when you really think about it, maybe it's best that your friends don't listen to your dating advice. 

    1. Overall, you pretty much have no idea how to date or ask someone out.

    How do you differentiate between hanging out and *wink*wink* hanging out?

    2. Your idea of flirting is insulting someone to the point that they think you can't stand them. When you try to be romantic, you almost always fail.

    "Ugh, you're terrible" somehow means "You're so great—let's hang out, like, all the time."

    3. The last person you were interested in had absolutely no idea.

    You insulted him regularly and responded to his messages within 24 hours—how did he not know how much you liked him?

    4. You try to send the first message on Tinder sometimes, but the only opening line you can think of is some snarky comment about how boring the match's bio is.

    You try to be original by not saying “hey,” but you don’t want to come on too strong. So instead of flirting like normal, you’re like, “Wow, you love to travel?! Never heard that one before!”

    5. Dating lingo is beyond your comprehension. It's like everyone got a free copy of Modern Dating 101 except you.

    Your friend asks you if you and a guy are "talking," and you're like, "Um, yeah, we talk all the time?"

    6. You've been reading "10 Signs Your Crush Likes You" articles since age 12 and still can't identify the signs.

    Eye contact? Compliments? How are any of these things different from normal daily interactions? The “does he like me” quizzes failed you all throughout middle school and high school (and okay, maybe now sometimes, too), and you feel no shame.

    7. Your 14-year-old sister has been in more relationships than you have.

    You can still give good advice even if you don't have a ton of experience but… 

    8. You don't know how to make small talk, so your first dates are more like interrogations.

    Small talk is boring. When your date gives you boring answers, you just know the two of you could never date. Why even continue the date at this point?

    9. If you don't have anything obvious in common with the person you're on a date with, it becomes real awkward, real fast, and you don't know how to continue the conversation.

    How do people sit in a room with someone they don't know much about and find something to talk about? How?! And don't even try to start a game of 20 questions, buddy. 

    10. You're a strong advocate for being upfront about your feelings, but you've never really done such a thing.

    You giving advice: “Yeah, girl, just tell him that you like him.” You in real life talking to your crush: “Wow, you are such a great friend, bro."

    11. You try to play it so cool that you seem aloof or uninterested most of the time.

    You don’t want to be too obvious so when you see someone you’re interested in, instead of saying “hi” like a normal human being would, you book it in the opposite direction and avoid them.

    12. You're super skeptical when it comes to dating and love.

    This can be a good thing to an extent, but your negative attitude isn't always the most encouraging.

    13. You can’t pick up signals. Ever. Someone could directly say “Hey, I’m really into you” and you’d probably think they were joking.

    It’s not that you’re not confident, but why did this guy just say he likes spending time with you? What does it all mean? HE NEEDS TO SPELL IT OUT AND GIVE YOU ANSWERS. YOU DON’T PICK UP SIGNALS.

    14. You have to try your hardest not to look bored when people tell you about their love lives. 

    It's not that you don't care about your friends or their relationships, because you do. But sometimes, you're just bored by the whole "dating" thing. Your friends should know by now not to come to you for advice anyway.

    15. You’re secretly happy when your friends decide not to take your dating advice because based on personal experience, you feel like it probably wouldn’t go so well for them.

    But then again, if they had taken your bad advice, maybe you wouldn't be in this situation. Oh well. At the end of the day, you're happy for your friends, and you're happy to help them when they want advice. You're just not sure how helpful you'll be. 

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  • 11/11/17--11:00: 6 Dating Tips for Shy Girls
  • Hollywood makes it seem so effortless for people to find love. But, reality check: Dating isn’t always easy, especially for quiet women. Shy people can’t always walk up to someone and strike up a conversation. Oftentimes, our shyness gives off the vibe that we’re stuck up or full of ourselves. Many of us have to muddle our way through the ordeal of dates with overwhelming people that don’t give us time to open up, until we finally, *sigh*, just give up on love. But no longer! Shy women of the world, unite! Here are six dating tips that might just change the game.

    1. Watch TV and movies together

    A recent study showed that watching Netflix with bae is actually good for your relationship. The study concluded that when you watch TV and movies or read books, you think about what's going on in the story and form opinions, which allows you to have a great conversation (or maybe argument!) with whoever you’re with. These shared discussions help bring you closer. “When you like the same stories, shows and characters, you have a lot to talk about! It feels like an immediate connection,” says Nathalie, a senior at SUNY Old Westbury, “Plus if it's something both you and your crush love, the conversation could go on forever!” There’s no better way to show your crush the "real you" than by wearing sweats, getting heated about TV show conspiracy theories and ugly-crying during sappy romance movies.

    2. Just be yourself and emphasize your strengths

    It’s very hard for introverts to open up about themselves, but if you’re really into the person you’re going out with, then try to get out of your comfort zone a little bit. It’s easier said than done, but ultimately, if your crush is going to become your long-time SO, then both of you need to break out of your shells. “I’ve struggled a little bit with being open on dates, but I would say that it's helpful to just be yourself and play to your strengths,” says Rachel, a junior at Roosevelt University. “Shy girls are often great listeners and are good at empathizing, so it's easier to keep a conversation going.” People often see the weaknesses of women with quiet demeanors, but we encourage you to really play up your strengths, like your listening skills. Your date will see that and be grateful. Besides, if you both loved to talk, you would constantly be in competition to get a word in the conversation. Shy people are so necessary to society.

    3. Pick a first date that involves an activity

    Nothing is more nerve-wracking for shy women than a quiet dinner for two as a first date. Ditch the typical dates and suggest doing something that involves an activity. Fall is the perfect season for pumpkin and apple picking and going to haunted houses and other spooky things. Consider indoor rock climbing, cooking a meal together, volunteering together or visiting the local animal shelter. “Getting drinks or doing dinner and a movie prevent a lot of natural conversation,” says Jessica, a graduate of Rowan University. “If you go on more of an active date, there is a greater need for communication. Those activities require conversation to progress the date.” Once you start talking, you may begin to feel more comfortable around the other person. Plus, you’ll be able to see the kind of activities they enjoy doing, which can help find similarities and differences between the two of you.

    Related: 8 Date Ideas for Every Type of Campus Couple

    4. Talk about the weather (...seriously)

    Don’t knock small talk! Talking about trivial things in the beginning stages of a relationship is a building block in creating a strong foundation. “I would say that you can't go wrong with talking about the weather. It's weird, but it's true!” says Rachel. “Everyone likes talking about the weather because it's relatable.” Talk about your favorite part of the season or how frizzy rain makes your hair. Obviously, small talk is not limited to the weather. Though it can be tedious, asking your crush things like where they go to school, what their major is, if they play/watch sports and what their favorite kind of music is, is actually important. Finding out that your date is obsessed with hardcore rock when you’re a devout indie girl is more of a factor than you might think.

    5. Ask each other deep questions

    This can be the hardest thing to do, but after you’ve been dating someone for a bit, getting into deep conversations will keep you much more interested in the relationship than just having small talk all the time. Shailagh, a junior at Gustavus Adolphus College says, “Find a list of deep, insightful questions meant for couples and try it out sometime. I've done this before for fun and, as crazy as it sounds, my crush and I actually did fall in love. Even if you don't fall in love afterward, you'll learn enough about that person to see if you're compatible.” Getting to know your partner on a deeper level creates trust, accountability and love. Knowing complicated and sometimes not-so-pretty parts of your SO is integral in a relationship, sooner or later.

    6. Make observations about your surroundings

    If you’re at a place that’s buzzing with activity, pay attention to everything!

    Emily, a senior at Pace University says, “Start with what's around you, like things you can both comment on. For example, comment on the food you ordered if you’re at a restaurant, or maybe make a comment about a billboard you pass by for a movie.” Little comments like these create avenues for topics of conversation. Saying that your chicken is underdone may spark your date to talk about a time that he had a horrible food experience. Noticing a movie advertisement can start a conversation about the kinds of movies you both like. Just remember that while being observant is important, you do still have to pay attention to your date.

    Sometimes being shy is a struggle, but that’s who we are and we should embrace it. We’re not stuck-up, we’re just timid. And now, we can be ourselves and still make it in the dating world.

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    Dating is fun, and it’s natural to want to show your relationship to the world via social media. However, just like everything else in this world, too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing. In recent years, social media has become the premier place to display your relationship status, and we have the perfect etiquette guide for posting while you’re dating someone.

    1. Fights

    Just the other day, I was going through my Instagram stories, and I came across one that displayed a girl with tears streaming down her face, the caption “he broke my heart” and a zoomed-in broken heart emoji placed on her chest. Even worse is when you’re scrolling through your Twitter timeline and see the details of a couple’s fight. “That's something that should be handled by the people involved, in person. Not online for the whole world to see,” says Alexandra, a senior at SUNY Buffalo State. “It causes the relationship to lose that privacy aspect. You never know who will see those tweets.” Sometimes your SO is just irritating you, and you don’t want to confront them for fear of conflict. Josh, a sophomore at Messiah College, says, "You shouldn't post vague subtweets complaining about something the other person did. It only serves to create tension and uncover the cracks beginning to form in the relationship." The best thing to do when you’re fighting with your SO? Turn off your phone, close your laptop and take a breather. Rationalize before you say anything to anyone, especially your SO. Your followers will thank you.

    2. Racy make out pictures

    We don’t want to feel like we need to take a shower and clean ourselves after we look at your Instagram photo. Physical intimacy is important in every relationship, but the definition of intimacy, “very private; closely personal,” means that it should be shared between only you and your SO. Olivia, a sophomore at Temple University, says, “If the photo is you and your SO sharing a sweet kiss in front of some beautiful scenery, I’ll shed a tear and ‘like’ it. But if it’s a grainy photo and you’re obviously making out, I’m grossed out. It’s all in your intentions. Making out is a private thing; your kissing habits should be left inside the relationship.” After all, how awkward is it trying to take a make out selfie? And what if the flash goes off? Busted.

    3. Posting about everything your SO does for you

    Doing nice things for your SO is a requirement in a relationship, meaning that it’s not necessary to post whenever bae brings you flowers when you’re feeling sick and tells you that you’re gorgeous no matter what. Yes, it’s a sweet gesture, but sorry to burst your bubble, it’s nothing special. Posting #wcw and #mcm pictures every once in awhile is nice; it shows that your SO cares enough about you to show you off to the world. However, this quickly turns sour when every Monday or Wednesday you’re posting selfies of them with emoji-saturated captions. Natalie, a freshman at Montgomery County Community College, says, “I think it's alright to post once in awhile about your SO, but if you're constantly needing validation from social media or need everyone to know about the special things done in a relationship, they aren't as special. You don't have to brag to everyone all the time.” It’s more authentic if you show your SO that you appreciate them without letting everyone else feel like they're a part of the relationship, too.

    Related: 7 Love Mistakes to Avoid This Year

    4. Pictures with another girl/guy

    Unless you have things settled with your SO that posting pictures with another girl/guy is okay, avoid it. A group photo with a bunch of friends? Go for it. But posting pictures, especially on Instagram, has become a method of flirtation. You don’t want to send the wrong message to the other person in the photo, nor do you want to upset your SO. Kylie, a sophomore at La Salle University, warns against this, especially at parties. “People should absolutely avoid posting pictures when under the influence,” she says. “There’s almost always a group of people that are at these parties and will try and sit on everybody’s lap for pictures.” If you are going to post a picture with another girl/guy, Jacqui, a sophomore at Temple University, advises, “Be careful how you pose with someone of the opposite gender [if you’re straight]. It can cross a line if you're doing ‘the couples pose’ with your guy best friend and people mistake that for you dating someone else.” Better to be safe than sorry, so we advise keeping those photos offline.

    5. Love letters as captions

    Whenever Valentine’s Day rolls around, you can expect a truckload of couple posts (and Single Awareness Day posts), complete with heart emojis and sappy captions. While most of these are admittedly pretty cute, there are always a few sickeningly sweet photos with romance novels for captions. “Avoid writing an incredibly long paragraph in the caption about your love; that should be kept more private,” says Jacqui. “Just write snippets of inspirational things about your relationship, but leave the 18-page theses to handwritten letters, not Instagram.” If you write entire love letters to your SO on social media, your relationship becomes a lot less special. While validation in the form of likes and comments feels good, the reaction when you hand your SO a sappy, cheesy, adorable handwritten letter is way better.

    6. Confidential/personal information

    If your SO shares a secret with you, like something about his or her past that’s deeply personal, don’t tell your Facebook friends and Twitter followers. "Don’t post nudes. Or secrets. Or confidential information about the other person, ever," says Jake, a sophomore at Messiah College. Posting personal information is not only an invasion of privacy, but it can also be dangerous. Almost anything and anyone is searchable on the internet nowadays, so think wisely about what’s appropriate. The same goes for photos. I’ve heard horror stories about people who send nudes, break up with their SO a few months later, and then those nudes get leaked everywhere. So be incredibly cautious when sending sensitive photos, and if you’re on the receiving end, just don’t show them to the world. It’s that simple. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t show or tell your grandma about it, don’t post it.

    It’s important to be proud and public about your relationship when you’re in love, but it’s also smart to be aware of what you’re posting on social media. Don’t let this guide be the final say in what you do and don’t post on social media. As long as you and your SO have your online etiquette figured out, go for it. Just be considerate of your followers and think twice before posting a steamy make out picture.

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    When one thinks of period sex, the most obvious and normal reaction is “ew.” Not because periods are gross, but because it sounds terribly messy. That and other reasons are why most women and men tend to stay away from doing the deed while it is that time of the month. Well, Her Campus is here to help tell you all the things you have to know about period sex, especially some things you may have thought were true that actually aren’t.

    1. It doesn't have to be messy

    For many, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about period sex is the idea of getting blood everywhere. It’s hard enough trying to wash blood out of your underwear when your tampon leaks, but a whole bed sheet? No thanks. The most obvious way to avoid this mess is simple: shower sex. This way there is no mess to clean up at all. If that's not something you are into, you can also just put a dark towel down and no one will ever know, so no need to be embarrassed. Melanie, a junior at Florida State University, say's that she absolutely loves period sex, but you do have to pay attention to your body. "Some months when my period is especially heavy, my partner and I stick to shower sex because otherwise there is just too much blood," she says. "But if it is a relatively light month, nothing really has to be different from our usual sex." Sounds good to us.

    2. It is possible to get pregnant during period sex

    One of the biggest myths about period sex is that you can’t get pregnant. According to Dr. Alyssa Dweck, an OB/GYN at Mount Kisco Medical Group, if you have irregular periods and are only spotting and not actually menstruating, “it still is possible to get pregnant,” so you always should be using a condom. The reason for this is that sperm can live inside you for actually up to five days. So you could have sex towards the end of your bleeding and think you are fine but then actually conceive four or five days later with your "early ovulation." So while the probability is low, it could happen. 

    Related: The Ultimate Sex Playlist for All Your Hookup Needs

    3. It won’t make your period heavier

    A common misconception about period sex is that if you do it, your period will be even heavier than it was before. Well luckily, that is false. Dr. Dweck says that while orgasming might push more blood out of your body because of the contractions, your period won’t actually be longer or heavier. Basically, you are the same woman after, just minus some blood.

    4. Orgasms can actually ease cramps and PMS symptoms

    Yup, you read that right. According to Clue, a woman-led startup focused on women’s menstrual health, the endorphins that you release by orgasming can actually relieve common PMS symptoms and cramps. So instead of rolling up with a heating pad and Netflix when it's your time of the month, maybe this time just try having sex—basically killing two birds with one stone, right?

    5. It can make sex more enjoyable

    Contrary to popular belief, having sex on your period is often times more enjoyable than regular sex, according to Dr. Dweck. Because of the hormones you release during your period, you are more prone to sexual arousal and may be more sensitive. So if you have a higher sex drive than your partner, one reason might be that your period is just beginning or about to begin.

    6. Menstrual blood is totally harmless

    Unless you suffer from a condition like hepatitis or any other type of blood-born STD like HIV or syphilis, the blood from your body is literally just normal blood. If someone else touches it, nothing bad is going to happen to them. Just wash it off and go on with your day. Joy, a senior at the University of Michigan, says that before her and her boyfriend had period sex for the first time, he was “totally terrified of the blood.” So terrified that, in fact, she “had to send him several scientific articles explaining why period blood was just normal blood.” But in the end, she said he was fine, of course.

    7. Last but not least, it's a natural lubricant

    This really doesn’t need to be said, but when you have sex on your period, there will be blood. And blood is a liquid. And a liquid is a lubricant. Lana, a sophomore at New York University, actually prefers period sex to regular sex because of how much easier the actual sex is. “Because of the blood, usually we don’t need any lube so it feels so much more natural and better for me and for my partner.” So yeah, feel free to save money not buying lube.

    So basically, period sex is no big thing but remember, the choice is always yours and it’s always a good idea to talk about it first with your partner.

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    A relationship isn’t all butterflies and rainbows. No matter how hard you may try to keep the peace, you and your partner are bound to clash at some point. Trust issues, miscommunication or lack of communication, jealousy, and insecurity are just a few issues which can take a toll on a relationship. Sometimes it’s easy to work through the problems you have, but other times these issues can take a major toll on your relationship. If you and your partner are willing to work together, not all hope is lost. You can still work toward bringing your relationship back to a place of happiness between you and your SO. If you commit to following these five tips, you can move past a rough patch in your relationship. 

    1. Communicate

    One of the biggest mistakes you can commit is not talking things through to avoid an argument. Your emotions cannot be swept under the rug. You need to verbalize what you feel in an attempt to fix what is broken. If you choose to ignore the problems you are facing, the built-up frustration could result in an even bigger argument, resentment, dissatisfaction, lack of trust or ultimately, a loss of interest in maintaining the relationship.

    Lauren*, a junior at James Madison University, personally knows how big of a key communication is. “My boyfriend and I just went through/are still kind of going through a rough patch,” she says. “It's really important to talk things out and let each other know what's bothering you.”

    Remember to stay calm, cool and collected when discussing emotional subjects. It's easy to let your emotions get the best of you, but don't make an already sticky situation more complex. Even if things are rocky between you two, still try to maintain the basic conversations you have every day, such as what they are doing and how their day has been.

    2. Take a timeout 

    While communication is key, it's also important to know that when you're not on the same page as your SO, constant communication can be a difficult task. So while you should talk through things to a certain extent, don't constantly dwell on the subject. Leave time for both of you guys to do your own thing and focus on your own goals.

    Chrissy Sanchez, a sophomore at Georgia State University, stresses that this is not the same thing as a break. 

    "When my boyfriend and I went through a period of constant arguing, I would just call for a few minutes in the morning and at night to check in on him," she says. "Other than that, I left him alone to do reflecting, and focus on important things like schoolwork, gym, and finances." 

    Depending on your current level of communication, you and your SO can decide on how much time you should leave each other to work on yourself. Don't let it be an overwhelming amount of time though. The longer you spend apart, the sooner one or both of you could become comfortable in living without the other. 

    3. Find common ground

    If it’s an issue where you are both affected, you need to reach an agreement. That agreement should be a compromise. You both need to be happy, even if that means you have to apologize or give in to their requests a little. Go into the conversation stating what your opinion of the situation is, but remind your SO that you want to understand their thought process and hear them out as well.

    Nicole Diaz, a sophomore at Chattahoochee Technical College, won’t leave an argument unsettled without reaching an agreement with her SO.

    “Finding some sort of common ground where we both entirely agree or come close to agreeing is the most important part,” she says. “If we can’t fix the problem at that exact moment, my boyfriend and I will promise to work towards fixing whatever it was. Once we find that common ground, we try to move on and not stay stuck on the argument.”

    Sometimes reaching that common ground may mean that you don’t always get what you want. Instead, think of it as reaching the solution that is most beneficial to the relationship.

    4. Remember why you're with your SO

    It’s easy to let the negativity cloud your mind. However, if you’re looking for hope and are having trouble finding it, think back to your best moments with your SO — how you met, the first date, the first time saying “I love you” and the best memories you’ve created together.

    Shelly Adams, a junior at Shenandoah University, believes that positivity is one of the major components of getting your relationship back on the right track.

    “When things are going really great in your relationship, you don't even think about how it could be bad,” she says. “But when they're bad, sometimes it's hard to remember when it was great! The point is that you need to be able to know that you still want to be with the other person at the end of the day. As long as you do, then just let the issue pass and you'll be back to normal in no time.”

    You need to ask yourself if the entire span of memories and future between you two is worth giving up over the conflict. In some cases, if the issue is that serious and pressing, those memories can be worth giving up. However, more often than not, your relationship is worth fighting for.

    5. Keep the spark alive 

    Sometimes, all you need is a break from the drama. If you and your SO have decided that you both still want to be together, plan an extra special date for you to go on.

    Patricia Maynor, a junior at Kennesaw State University, recommends finding a way to get away from all the drama and busyness of everyday life with your SO. 

    “After several days of fighting with my SO, I was ready to give up,” she says. “However, I felt like getting away on a mini vacation was the final test to see if we should stick things out. One weekend, we took a trip to the beach. That alone time helped me discover the reasons why were love each other. We have been great ever since.”

    Even if you're busy and can't plan anything too big, still try to plan something memorable that will span at least an entire day. Seeing the spark reignited will help you focus on the love in your relationship rather than the momentary negativity between you and your SO.

    It’s important to realize the difference between a toxic relationship and a rough patch. Constant disrespect, infidelity or abuse shouldn’t be brushed off as a “rough patch.” These actions cannot be moved past in some cases, but there are plenty of cases where the disagreements between you two can be worked out with patience. Don’t expect everything to be perfect overnight, but sticking to these rules should help get your relationship back on the right track.

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    I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve never had a boyfriend. I am a little ashamed to admit that it has been somewhat of a priority for me to get a boyfriend. You may label me as boy crazy, and you wouldn’t be the first to do so. Maybe it’s because I’ve never had a boyfriend, but I have always been a little obsessed with boys. I like looking at them, talking about them and just generally thinking about them.

    A couple of weeks ago, however, I decided that this constant fixation needed to end. I realized that there are so many more important things to worry about and think about and just put my time and energy into than boys. Plus, when the time comes, I know I’ll happily be in a relationship. Until I meet the right person, though, I’m going to focus on more important things. Here are some things we can do instead of obsessing over boys.

    Instead of stalking that cute guy from your class on Facebook, leave some love in the comments of your friends’ posts.

    We’re all guilty of cyber-stalking cute boys—don’t even try to deny it. Next time you log onto Facebook or Instagram to stalk said cute boys, however, type in your bestie’s name instead. Take some time to look through her cute pics and posts and comment with some love on a couple of them. Your bestie has been there for you through thick and thin, and all this boy has done for you is given you something nice to look at for an hour three times a week.

    Instead of staring at that cute guy across the dining hall, pay attention to the conversation you’re actually a part of.

    We’ve all been there. You’re sitting with a group of your friends, immersed in conversation about classes or, of course, boys, when you see a cutie across the way. You suddenly stop paying attention to the conversation that’s happening right in front of you. Instead, you’re watching this guy, wondering what he’s like, waiting for the moment (that probably won’t come) when he catches your eye and comes over to talk to you.

    Instead of getting caught up in this la-la land, remain in the moment. Time with your friends is precious, especially with all of the work that comes with midterms, so make the most of it you can. Listen to your friend’s story about a random act of kindness she experienced or vent to your girls about that jerk of a professor you can’t stand.

    Instead of taking that route to class where you usually see that cute boy, take a new route with that friend you haven’t seen much and have a nice chat.

    As you get stuck in our daily routines of the semester, you’re bound to recognize some of the people you pass on the way to class, and chances are there are some cute boys. At this point in the semester, you’ve gotten used to seeing them on your walk to class. Maybe you even look forward to it because they’re just so darn cute to look at!

    But it’s that time of the semester when everyone gets busy with studying for midterms or writing papers, so chances are you haven’t been able to hang out with your friends as much recently. Reach out to the friend you haven’t seen much lately and try to figure out when both of your schedules allow you to walk to class together. Can’t find a time that matches up? Meet up for coffee or froyo instead!

    Instead of going to the coffee shop to study alone and ~happen~ to look at cute boys, ask someone you don’t know very well to coffee.

    Don’t deny that part of the reason you go to coffee shops to work is to check out cute hipster boys. While that’s all fine and dandy, coffee shops are also great places to have coffee with people you’d like to get to know! You’ve met so many people in your time on campus that you could stand to get to know better, whether they’d make a great friend or networking resource. Reach out to one of these people and ask to take them to coffee. They’ll be flattered you thought of them and reached out.

    Related: What to Do When You See Last Semester's Crush for the First Time

    Instead of sitting on campus and telling yourself you’re doing homework while actually getting distracted by cute boys, read a book at your favorite campus spot.

    Studying outside can be distracting enough, but when you add cute boys to the equation? Impossible. You know you’re not going to get much done when you tell yourself that you’re going to your favorite campus spot to get some studying done.

    Instead, head to your favorite spot to read that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand untouched for weeks. Free reading is a great way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of college work. Not only is it relaxing, but it’s also a great way to keep yourself cultured.

    Instead of thinking about boys, think about yourself.

    In college, it’s easy to put a lot of things before yourself, whether it’s homework, clubs or spending time with a friend. That can also include looking at and thinking about cute boys. Why focus on stupid boys when your badass babe of a self needs some attention, too? Don’t forget to give yourself a little TLC—you work so hard and do so much, so be sure to take a little you time. You’re the most important person in your life! So take care of yourself every once in a while.

    It’s impossible to blind yourself to boys completely. Trust me, I’ve tried. But it is possible to take some of your attention off of them. There are so many more important things for you to worry about and put your time into than boys right now. Someday you’ll be in an amazing relationship if that’s what you want, but for now, it’s important to give yourself and the important people in your life some love and attention.

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    Ladies, it’s time for some real talk. Whether you’ve just gone through a painful AF breakup or your ex hasn’t talked to you since high school, there’s a strong-willed part of you that refuses to let go. You keep up with their life through social media stalking and mutual friends, and frankly, if given the opportunity to be friends with them (or even date them again), you would do it in a heartbeat.

    The struggle is that breakups are usually necessary and happen for good reason, but letting go of that person feels like someone close to you has died. Worse? Breakups build up resentment, and it’s likely that this ex you want to reconnect with doesn’t even speak to you anymore. They went from bae to radio silence, and you just can’t deal.

    Communication is the best way to rekindle contact with your ex, but it could also totally sabotage you. If your ex wants nothing to do with you, then trying to talk to them again may come off as irritating or even creepy. Our job is to help you start that relationship up again without letting you come off like a crazy person. Here are some totally chill tips for the women who want to reconnect with their ex again.

    1. Apologize

    It’s never too late to say sorry, and if you totally screwed up your relationship, then your ex will probably feel gratitude and closure hearing a whole-hearted apology. Keep it short, sweet and totally honest.

    Olivia Shaw, a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, shares a personal apology story. “One time I wanted to check in on my ex and see if he wanted to get breakfast or catch up, but I knew he’d never agree to that because I’d like traumatized him from being a difficult girlfriend,” she says. “Even though it killed my ego I sent him a long letter apologizing for the way I had been and told him that I wanted to make it up to him by being better a girlfriend. I know he was skeptical at first and didn’t trust me, but apologizing softened the situation.”

    Apologizing is a meaningful segue into more conversation. It lets your ex know you’re still emotionally concerned for them and that they can trust you to be better than before.  You want them to know that you’ve evolved to become a better person since your breakup however long ago. Remember to be gentle, but from here you can keep up phone contact or even spend time together in person.

    Related:A Letter to the Boy I Tried to Change

    2. Send a friendly text

    Sending a friendly text is the easiest, most non-threatening way to get your ex talking to you again. Btw, the key word here is “friend.” If you approach the situation as a friends, they’ll let their guard down instead of thinking you’re trying to seduce them back into a relationship—even if dating them is your end goal. All that messy talk about how life was when you dated should stay in the past 100 percent, and starting from scratch as friends is going to make both of you way happier. Make sure to emphasize that you understand why your relationships ended and how you respect the decision to breakup, but that you don’t want to cut off all contact completely because they’re still significant to you.

    Try saying something like, “Hey! I ran into our friend the other day and she said you’ve recently accomplished something cool. I’m happy you’re doing well, and maybe we can talk sometime and catch up?”

    If your ex doesn’t answer, avoid text spamming them at all costs. Women hold grudges and men are stubborn, so sometimes results take time. Desperation is such a turn-off, and just because your ex isn’t ready to answer right now doesn’t mean you’ll never talk to them. It’s all about mastering the art of chill.

    3. Meet for coffee

    Once you’ve sent that ~casual~ text and feel okay interacting like functioning humans, then ask your ex for some time in person. Coffee always works! But maintaining a level head during your conversation is extremely important to keep them coming back.

    When you hang out with your friends you’re probably not looking at them in tears, desperately trying to convince them how much you love them—you’re talking about what show you’re bingeing on Netflix and freaking out about the cute dog you saw the other day. If you want to reconnect with your ex, then it’s time to cut the drama and not speak to them like you’re in a soap opera.

    “Emotional distance is a beautiful thing,” says Taly Newton, a senior at Biola University. “In my experience guys never want you as a friend or girlfriend if you’re hysterical or can’t have a cool conversation without bringing up past mistakes you had or forcing a relationship again, and I’ve made that mistake obviously.”

    Moral of the story: If your ex actually agrees to meet you in person, don’t mess it up by going in with an ulterior motive. Treat it like any other coffee or dinner date and they’ll be sure to hang out with you again.

    4. Get help from your mutual friends

    Depending on how long ago you and your ex dated, the two of you might still be running in the same social circle. Mutual friends are going to be a huge advantage when it comes to repairing friendship or romance, so find time to talk to your bestie about setting up a group hangout and nonchalantly inviting your ex.

    Olivia has more successful advice to share about meeting up with exes. “Hanging out with your ex especially if your friends are there creates a non-threatening environment, because then the guy knows he’s not being trapped in an uncomfortable situation and can also make simple conversation with you without a lot of pressure or tension,” she says. “Honestly, that’s my favorite way of getting my exes to talk to me again is a night out with friends.”

    Your friends can also spread positive word of mouth about how happy you are and how you’ve totally move on from the breakup. Even better, they may be able to reassure your ex that it’s totally fine to spend time alone with you and work on rekindling friendship.

    Related: 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Gossip About Your Ex

    5. Find a jumping off point

    If you’ve exhausted all your options, then you’re probably sitting there thinking “How am I supposed to get my ex to talk to me again when I acted like a crazy person and definitely scared him away?”

    Out-of-the-blue contact is weird no matter what, so don’t make up a strange reason to contact them unless you really have one. However, if you have a reasonable excuse to text them asking about a restaurant name you forgot or talking about something cool that happened to a mutual friend, then go for it! It’s a smart way to feel out how responsive your ex is going to be and whether you should keep trying to talk to them or not.

    No matter your situation, reconnecting with your ex is weird, and it’s way too easy to sabotage yourself and send them running for the hills. Think about how you would feel if the position were reversed and what would make you comfortable. Note to self: If you think your ex knocking on your door in the middle of the night is crazy, then you probably shouldn’t do that to them.

    If trying to reconnect with your ex doesn’t work, then boy, bye. It may take time to get over the rejection, but know that however nasty your breakup was, you’re absolutely capable of loving friendships and romantic relationships.