6 Tips For Finding A Boyfriend In College Without Engaging In Hookup Culture

It’s really not impossible — it just takes some intentionality.

By Keelia Clarkson4 min read
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Going to college is all about new beginnings — you’ll be exploring a new city, decorating and living in a new dorm, making new friends, getting used to a new campus, enjoying your newfound independence and freedom, and hopefully meeting a new guy.

It’s no secret that one of the top priorities on the mind of a single girl who’s going into college (obviously aside from passing her classes!) is finding a boyfriend. After all, with a whole new crowd of guys to meet, there’s bound to be one she clicks with.

But it’s an undeniable truth that the majority of college campuses are dominated by hookup culture, whether that looks like a one-night stand or a short-lived casual relationship; in fact, according to one study, around 80% of college students had engaged in hookup culture by the time their senior year rolled around. 

So where does this leave the girl who doesn’t want to get involved in hookup culture, but instead wants to find romance? How do those of us who want a committed, long-term, serious relationship over a meaningless fling even come across a guy who wants the same thing, especially in an environment so heavily saturated with hookup culture?

Know What You’re Looking For

Maybe you dated a little bit in high school, had a long-term boyfriend, or didn’t date at all. No matter which of these is true about you, what’s also probably true is that it would be a good idea to reassess what your ideal boyfriend would be like.

It’s hard to find a guy we truly click with when we don’t totally know what we’re looking for. So before you even start putting yourself out there, get a clear picture of what type of guy you’d go for if given the opportunity. Knowing what you value, whether that be a good sense of humor or similar ideas about religion, you’ll be less likely to fall into the trap of settling for a guy who isn’t right for you. 

Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People

We’ve all heard it said that we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with. So as you arrive at college and search for your crew of friends, it’s important that you choose quality over quantity — that you care more about who you’re surrounding yourself with than anything else.

Get a clear picture of what type of guy you’d go for if given the opportunity.

After all, college isn’t just for finding a new romance — it’s also for finding a new community where we feel at home, understood, and valued. Even just a friend or two who share similar temperaments, values, and ideals will help boost your self-esteem, inspire you to stick to your ideals, and make you feel less alone. Being in the presence of people you truly like and admire will keep you from searching for validation elsewhere. Plus, you never know — maybe your new friend will have a cute guy friend to introduce you to!

Avoid Hookup Apps and Rowdy Parties

When everyone else is on hookup apps disguised as dating apps and going to all the “epic” weekend parties, it can be tempting to join in, just to see what all the fuss is about. We worry that we’ll be missing out on the true college experience without these things — and what if we meet our dream guy at the party?

But dating apps that are known for hookups more than anything else and crazy parties most likely won’t attract the kind of guy you’re looking for. If you’re searching for a future boyfriend, you’ll want to focus your time and energy on getting involved in a wholly different kind of scene — which brings us to the next point.

Join Clubs and Groups That You Actually Like

As wonderfully simple as it would be, we can’t just sit around in our dorm and hope that the perfect guy will come knocking. And if you haven’t come across any cute guys in your classes, it could be time to expand your horizons.

Getting involved with clubs and groups that you enjoy, like a book club, a theatre group, student government, debate club, a community service group, or anything else that speaks to you will give you a far better chance of meeting a guy you actually have something in common with. Don’t be afraid to try something new, either. The point is to shake up your schedule and create more opportunity for sparks to fly with someone. 

Don’t Settle for “Hang Out” Dates

When did our collective idea of an acceptable date become a guy texting that you can come over “if you want to” and turning on Netflix the moment you walk through the door? We can’t think of anything less romantic for a first date.

The best way to avoid hookup culture in college is to expect a guy to take you out on a proper date.

The best way to stay away from hookup culture in college is to expect a guy to take you out on a proper date and not settle for a “hang out” at his place. The guys who aren’t interested in a relationship won’t bother, and the guys who are will happily do so; they also won’t be expecting you to come back to his place, but instead, will show interest in setting up another date.

Don’t Go for a Guy You’d Have To Change

Maybe you’ve already come across a guy who made you get butterflies — sparks flew, you’ve kept on thinking about him, and you can’t shake the feeling that he could be the guy you’ve been looking for…and then, you find out that he’s not exactly interested in a committed relationship. Instead, he’s showing all the signs of a guy who’s really just looking for a hookup. But you’d felt like he was different.

What’s crucial to remember is that our feelings about someone don’t always tell the truth about who they really are. We might be attracted to a guy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’d be the right one to try to date. And the trap far too many young women fall into is the I can change him trap. 

When we tell ourselves that once this guy gets to know us, once he falls for us, he’ll change for us, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment and heartbreak. We can’t control or force someone to change — and this says a lot more about the other person than it does about you or your worth. In this scenario, it’s best to walk away and choose to wait for a guy who sees the value in commitment.

Closing Thoughts

It can often feel like college and hookup culture are synonymous — and for many, that’s the case. And that leaves the girl who doesn’t want a hookup, but is hoping for a boyfriend, in a tough space. But finding a guy in college without getting involved in hookup culture isn’t impossible — it just takes a bit more intentionality.

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