Love can make people act weird, which is why the dating world is full of immature people doing stupid things for their crushes or significant others. This is especially true when we’re first starting out, but make no mistake – some adults really suck at dating too. Thanks to movies, television shows, books, and discussions from well-meaning friends, we hear a ton of dating advice and hints every single day, and not everything is a winner. All of this can cause us to develop some pretty immature dating habits that aren’t going to foster great relationships. And that’s why, as we get older, it’s important to try to change them.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people over the age of 21 who still do this stuff – which, honestly, is exactly why I’m writing this! Doing this stuff leads to miscommunication, trust issues, and even toxic behavior, and I’m assuming you don’t want to deal with any of that. So, here are a few immature dating habits to break before you turn 21. Some of them won’t be easy, but it’s worth trying.
1. Ghosting people you don’t want to talk to.
Let’s not pretend this is something only dudes do – girls ghost too. I did it to someone when I was in college, and I STILL feel bad about it. Ghosting, AKA ending communication with someone out of nowhere because you don’t know how to tell them you’re not interested, is immature and cruel. As you get older, you have to learn to have these kinds of uncomfortable conversations with people – even via text, it’s nicer to do that than to just blow them off completely.
2. Allowing the guy to have total control.
If you’re a girl who dates guys, than you’re probably pretty familiar with society’s standard: the dude makes the rules, even if that’s never spoken out loud. The guy is expected to text first, plan hang outs, and say when they’re ready to go to the next level. This is… dumb. Say what you want, make a move, and do things “out of order.” Don’t let dudes continue to have that kind of control in relationships (or anywhere).
3. Accepting a casual relationship even if it’s not what you want.
There are some girls and guys out there who are genuinely fine with casual relationships. That’s fine, if it’s what you want. But if you’re saying “yes” to a casual, friends with benefits type of deal just because you like the person and you’re hoping it will eventually evolve into something more, stop. That almost never works, and it usually ends up being painful and complicated. As you get older, you have to learn how to stop settling and putting your happiness first.
4. Trying to act like you don’t care when you clearly do.
If you ask me, the biggest problem with the dating world right now is that everyone is in a race to show who cares the least. It’s considered clingy and annoying to show that you want something real, or to make any attempt at showing that your feelings are invested, and that’s lame. Pretending you don’t care when you clearly care isn’t helping anyone, and it’s something you need to stop as you get further into adulthood.
5. Going to your friends for everything.
Your friends should always be super special to you, but that doesn’t mean they should also be your dating advisors. As you get older, you learn that you can’t ask your friends for advice on every single thing – and that you shouldn’t always be listening to them anyway. Your friends don’t know everything, and on top of that, you guys might be so different deep down that they don’t really understand what you want. You should always go to them when needed, but don’t base serious dating decisions on them anymore.
6. Going on “dates” to their bedroom only.
When you think of a “real” date, you probably think about the cliche: dinner and a movie. It sounds lame, but a real date should be something like. It should involve going someplace public and doing something like eating or seeing a movie or playing games or taking a walk or something. IDK! But it shouldn’t be “hey, want to come to my room and pretend to watch a movie until I get my hand in your pants?” I mean, that’s cool and all, but try to make real dates more real as you get older.
7. Letting the guy do whatever he wants while you stay faithful.
I know a disturbing amount of young women who are fully aware that their boyfriends are on dating apps or are going out and trying to hook up with other girls – and probably successfully hooking up with those girls. Meanwhile, the women letting it happen are staying faithful (or trying to be with others just to make their boyfriend jealous). Guys, no. This is not okay (if it’s not what you want). Again, part of getting older is learning how to say what you want and sticking to it. Don’t back down.
8. Ditching your friends for bae.
We’ve all done this and we should probably stop doing it, because it sucks. It’s fine to make your significant other your first priority, but it’s not cool to make plans with friends and cancel them if suddenly your bae wants to hang out. Keep doing it, and you’ll lose a lot of those friends.
9. Snooping through their stuff.
Going through your bae’s phone, Facebook message, Instagram likes, and whatever else is, for some reason, considered fairly normal, but it shouldn’t be. As you get older, you have to learn that if you don’t trust them that much, something is wrong.
10. Having ridiculous standards.
It’s good to have some dating standards! You should definitely know what you want and look for the people you think you’ll like. But it gets to be too much when your standards go something like these: “He has to be at least six feet tall, no short guys!” or “He has to like basketball, I can’t date someone who doesn’t like basketball.” Just… put away the petty standards, and focus more on who people are.
11. Focusing too much on age.
This one is tricky. You don’t want to date someone way too young or way too old (because that could actually be illegal), but you also don’t want to dismiss someone because they’re a year younger than you. A lot of women refuse to date guys who are younger and assume older guys are always better – this is definitely, definitely not always true. Again, focus more on who people are.
12. Saying, “I hate guys, they all suck.”
I get it. A lot of dudes suck. I’ve uttered this phrase before myself. But you know what? It’s not the best, and it kind of sucks to group an entire gender together because you’ve been in touch with just a few jerks. When you say stuff like this, it just comes off as ignorant and immature, and that has no place in your life as an ~adult.~
13. Being strategic about how long it takes you to answer them.
Okay, I mean, I get it. You don’t want to respond to your crush’s text .5 seconds after they text you because that does seem strange. But as you get older, you have a lot to worry about, and one of those things should not be “Should I wait 22 minutes to respond or is that still not enough?” It’s just not worth it.
14. Flirting with other people to make bae jealous.
A lot of high school dating involves trying to make someone jealous by flirting with other people. This is kind of the stupidest thing ever. Not only do you risk seriously pissing off your bae and losing them, but you both end up in this stupidly messy situation that could have been avoided. As you get older, realize this: if you have to go out of your way to get attention from someone, they are not worth your time.
15. Keeping a backup person.
I don’t mean to sound like a boring adult, but I hateeeeeeeeeeee the idea of side chicks and backup plans. Don’t do this as you get older. There are so many reasons I can’t even begin to get into it.
16. Staying in crappy relationships so you don’t have to be alone.
I feel like this actually becomes more prevalent as you get older, which bums me out, so be sure to keep it in mind. Don’t date someone just because you are worried about being alone, no matter what age you are. A crappy relationship isn’t worth the fact that you get to tell people you’re in a relationship.
17. Dating people just to make your parents mad.
I did this. It was dumb. Trust me.
18. Focusing on your crush every time you go out.
Can I tell you my biggest pet peeve? Going out with friends who spend the entire time strategizing on how they are going to “casually” run into the person they’re hooking up with. It ruins everyone’s night, and honestly, makes you look pathetic. If you’re going to hang with your friends, put your bae at the back of your mind.
19. Feeling threatened by every other person out there.
I totally understand the feeling of jealousy that comes with being in a relationship. But at some point, we have to accept that there will always be other people out there, and an unhealthy amount of jealousy isn’t okay. Stop feeling so crazed about girls who show off their bodies or celebrities or girls who are confident or ex-girlfriends or anyone else. It’s okay to be jealous sometimes, but don’t let it control your life.
20. Spending time together 24/7.
When I was in high school, I dated this guy and wanted to be with him constantly. I was with him almost every day. It was not healthy! Don’t do this as you get older. Make sure your life is full of other things, and not just the person you’re dating. It will make you so much happier.
21. Accepting jealousy like it’s normal.
I know that, at a certain point, jealousy from a bae is considered kind of “sweet.” Like, you think it means they care so much about you that they’re jealous. Uh, that’s not always true. Again, some jealousy is normal, but an over-the-top amount (and you’ll know when it’s that way) is not okay.
Which one of these habits do you have? What did we forget? Let us know in the comments.