The Dangers of Peer Pressure Dating
College is a formative time in your life. Just out of high school, working towards a career, and expanding your social circle. Within the time frame of college, you may encounter someone who may seem attractive.
Your friends know their friends. You want to get to know them, but you’ve got work and school. You’re attracted to this person, but you’re just not sure. Your friends keep mentioning what a cute couple you make. Finally, just to get everyone off your back, you ask them out. Congratulations, you have fallen victim to peer-pressured dating.
Peer pressure can certainly be a good thing. It keeps us safe, makes sure we don’t do anything stupid, and generally can keep us in good form. However, people will often remind us of the dangers of peer pressure and how it can negatively affect us. There are of course the memories of DARE and similar programs warning us to say “no” to drugs and peer pressure.
Somewhere in between middle school and college though we lost sight of that picture of an environment where your peers are potential drug pushers and started seeing them as what they are: friends. Of course, friends have your best interest at heart and that’s why they’re your friends, but just like you, they may lack the experience necessary to smell a potential mess brewing in a forced relationship.
I am not advocating entirely for college students to not date. I think that’d be a silly expectation to have. You’ve got your life ahead of you, attractive, brainy people in front of you, and the world is your oyster. So if you want to date, go ahead and date. I’m just here to say, make sure it’s you that wants you to date.
Currently, college students are shifting towards a “hook-up” culture. This means that instead of searching out one long-term partner, students are looking more for one-night stands and short terms or no-strings attached relationships. Apps like Grinder and Tinder allow this to happen faster than ever. Aside from the physical health risk associated with this increase in partners over a shorter period, this will bring some emotional repercussions for all involved.
If you don’t subscribe to the hook-up culture, then you’re probably thinking you’re in the clear. You’re looking for one person at a time for a committed relationship or maybe you’re not looking at all. If you’re in the latter, I must wonder why you’re reading this article, but please, by all means continue. Even if you’re within the more traditional camp, you’re probably going to have to deal with the people from the other and they can be difficult. You may find a person attractive who your friends really want you to be with and that person might find you attractive, but if they’re not interested in you for the same reasons, you might end up in an emotional train wreck.
On the other hand, if you do subscribe to hook-up culture, the person your friends are pushing you into a relationship with could be someone who might not have the right idea about your intentions. This can lead to a sticky situation with broken hearts and lots of disappointment.
Think back to your worst ex. Whoever they are, you probably thought the world of them for at least a while. Then, for whatever reason, you broke up. Maybe you found out something absolutely awful about them after you started dating. Now imagine a similar situation. You are now dating an individual who you don’t know all that well who your friends hand-picked for you. Now, no matter how well your friends know you, they are not ideal matchmakers. They’re not going to know the nuances of people that make someone go crazy. However well your friends know you, they don’t know what you will and will not want.
Depending on the situation, casual pressure from peers can be a good thing, like I said. It can get those too shy to otherwise ask someone out to go out of their way and do it. You may discover something you like in a person you otherwise wouldn’t have met and had the time to spend with them. So while it usually doesn’t go well for any party involved, peer-pressured dating can in some ways be a good thing.
Ultimately, dating is about getting to know another person as much as possible to determine if you’d like to spend more time, specifically the rest of your life, with that person. Only you know what you like, what you want, and what you’re willing to put up with. In college, you have the chance to have an adult relationship with another human who is just as unsure, just as inexperienced, and just as nervous as you are.
It’s not about who looks cutest together or what zodiac signs you have. It’s about you and that other person.