College is the first time most people are whisked into the dating world. The high school dating scene basically had you relying on your best friends to guide you. But now, you’ve progressed to the big leagues, all on your own. With no one around to talk you out of sending 10 texts in a row, checking SnapMap for your crush or stalking social media, your ‘clinger’ instincts may come full force. Trust me, you want to steer clear of this relationship stereotype. Want to know something even worse than a clinger? A stage five clinger. I know, because I’ve been one.
I’ve been a clinger without even realizing it until years later. When I was younger, my internal insecurities were on display with each new person I dated—making me one crazy 18 year-old. When insecure, you’ll do many out-of-character things. My clingy behavior ranged from sending a million texts to then getting angry about people not answering said texts. It got messy. Now officially having an “ex-clinger” status, my expert knowledge has potential to help those in need.
Check out these five ways to avoid that dreaded stage five clinger status.
1. Let Them Come to You
You’ve heard it again and again. “If your crush likes you, you’ll know.” This is true. Middle school has ended—if your crush likes you, they will more than likely take initiative. When you start talking to a new person, add some mystery. However, don’t be cold, and please avoid the infamous spam texting. Let someone feel excited when it comes to learning more about you. If someone stops answering you, try giving them the benefit of the doubt. Our minds wander easily and the imagination can create a million scenarios —you think your crush has no interest in you, but they might not have their phone on them. Realize that people have different ways of showing affection. Not everyone reads as warm and fuzzy. Recognize that you have great qualities to bring to the table. If your current crush doesn’t appreciate them, another amazing person will.
2. Disconnect From Your Phone
I have a rule for myself:If an app makes me upset in any way, I delete it for a day (hey that rhymed). If you find yourself constantly scrolling through your crush’s social media, consider a social media detox. This change may be hard, trust me. However, as time goes on, you’ll get more in tune with yourself. Also recognize that people have lives, they may not always have the time to answer you. Reasons include: having class, work or possibly even taking a nap. Disconnecting from your cellular device can make you less jealous and more level-headed. Personally speaking, a lot of good has come from this on my end. 10/10 recommend for everyone, clingy or not.
3. Take Time For Yourself
This may seem like a no brainer, but self-care becomes necessary while dating. You’ll hear the term “treat yourself” frequently so you can egg on unhealthy spending habits. Try to aim for self-care techniques that won’t break the bank. Do a face mask, meditate, go running, sometimes even journaling provides a great way to sort out your thoughts. By taking time for yourself, you’ll begin to love who you are. With that self-love, you’ll feel less eager to have another person fulfill you. You’ll also have a better gauge of what specific qualities you desire in a significant other.
4. Prioritize Your Friendships
Romantic love isn’t the only love there is. Life offers the opportunities to create friendships that end up feeling like family. In college, you make friends constantly—some even become lifelong companions. Instead of focusing on the boy that hasn’t texted you back, go out for a fun night out (or in) with some of your closest friends. Watch a movie, go bowling, walk around—the possibilities are endless when you have good company. You don’t want to invest all your time and energy into a person who may or may not be there in a few months. Wanting a new relationship comes with getting older, but relationships start naturally. Don’t force them.
5. Just Be Open About Your Feelings
Like I said earlier, this is college. If you like someone romantically, just tell them. It will save you so much time in the long run. You may ask, “what if they reject me?” It’s possible that they will. Life hurts. Relationships can hurt more. Knowing their feelings as early as possible will make life one hundred times easier in the long run. Also, recognize that a person’s feelings won’t change out of the blue. If it isn’t meant to be, then move to the next person. Love will present an open door, or a closed one depending on the person. On the other hand, taking the risk will always be worth it. A really beautiful relationship could come from this.
In college, learning goes beyond the classroom. You’re becoming an adult and as a result, will fall on your face. Aim to find a person that can sweep you up off your feet and offer support. The game of trial and error will play on during your dating life. Finding a new love interest brings excitement to nearly everyone. However, unhealthy behaviors should never sabotage a relationship with potential. Look within yourself, recognize what you have to offer and learn to love the person you are. No matter your age, size, gender, race or sexual orientation you are entitled to all the love in the world.