Dating As a Guy After College

Out of all the times in your life, the college years are the easiest in which to date. Never again will you be surrounded by tons of single people around the same age with so much in common – whether that’s classes, social activities or other life experiences.

After college, dating can be really hard for guys in their 20s. At the time when your hormones are raging and you most desire romance, you are the least equipped. What I can say though is that dating definitely gets easier with age:

  1. Explaining why everyone is so “old”: The median age in America is 37 so you are actually unusually young. Coming from a college environment where most people are within a 4 year age range, it is really jarring to enter the workforce with a 40 year age range.
  2. n/2 + 7: When I first saw a speed dating event with an age range of 21-39, I thought “that’s not an age range – that’s two decades”. As you get older, the societally acceptable age range of women that you can date widens. As a rule of thumb, the youngest woman you can date without a huge maturity gap (or seeming “creepy”) is roughly found by dividing your age by 2 and then adding 7.
  3. You’re getting competition from above: Men prefer to date younger women and women tend to prefer older men. In my early 20s, many women would not give me the time of day. However when I reached my late 20s, I was stunned at how I could date younger women. Armed with more life experience, social skills and confidence, I was basically competing against men who were me from 5 years ago – an easy contest.
  4. People in their 20s are figuring themselves out: As a result, you may date people who are shallow, immature, dramatic, fickle, etc. This could be very painful for you. You could do everything right and still get dumped. Dating is not always fair.
  5. Don’t draw conclusions based on anecdotal evidence: You may get emotionally hurt a lot. And I mean a lot. And due to bad luck, a lot more than your friends. However, don’t assume that you are a broken person and give up on dating. Don’t stereotype all girls based on a couple of bad experiences – every girl is different with a unique personality.
  6. Why everyone seems to be paired up except for you: Healthy romantic relationships last years. Unhealthy romantic relationships crash and burn, resulting in you getting in and out of bad relationships. If you get desperate, you might settle for an unhealthy relationship. However, it is better to be single than in an unhealthy relationship, because an unhealthy relationship permanently takes time away from the search for a healthy one.

This doesn’t mean you should wait until your late 20s though. You should still try to get as much dating experience as possible to prepare for your late 20s.

Simultaneously, focus on gradual self-improvement since that yields compounding results every year. Try out new activities (e.g. a tennis class or a MeetUp running group) frequently. Don’t know what to do? Just pick anything that involves people and learn what you like through experimentation.

There are number of benefits to doing an activity:

  1. You’ll learn about yourself: While finding out what you like, you’ll even more importantly find out what you don’t like. This could also help you with career decisions down the road.
  2. You’ll gain skills: and the confidence you gain from an activity can help you with confidence in other parts of your life. The exact activity isn’t even that important – it’s often the journey, not the end result, that is the most valuable.
  3. It makes you more interesting
  4. It improves your social skills: since you are continually exposed to new people. Social skills are crucial for effective dating.
  5. You’ll expand your social network: which in the long run leads to friendship and dating opportunities
  6. It occupies you in a healthy way: Your happiest moments in life are when you are with people you like. You’ll be distracted from your singleness and have far more fun than engrossing yourself in work or video games.

Until next time my friends, keep dating!