I’m turning 30 this year and I’ve been looking back at the last ten years of dating with a certain amount of fondness, nostalgia, and happiness that dating in my 20s is almost over. Sure, it was awesome, and I met some amazing people, but there are some things I wish I knew about dating then that I know now. Here’s what I learned about dating in my 20s. Here’s what dating between 20 and 24 years old is like:
1. Hardly anyone is looking for anything serious
Sure, you might meet a special unicorn out there who wants nothing more in life than to settle down, get married, and have kids all before their 25th birthday but chances are you probably won’t. Between 20 and 24, most people are looking for hookups or casual dating.
2. No one talks on the phone
I don’t think I spoke to anyone on the phone in my 20s besides my mother. If you’re calling to set up dates you’ll probably freak people out. The old-fashioned calling to set-up a date sounds cool, but in reality, we’re just all just way too busy to call. Hopefully you’re cool with last minute texts asking what’s up for the night.
3. Everyone is dating someone else
I’m not saying that everyone is banging everyone they meet left and right, but they’re definitely seeing or talking to at least one other person. Also yeah, they’re probably hooking up with someone else too. You’ve just got to keep your options open, you know?
4. Shots are a perfectly acceptable date drink
If you never did a shot and a beer on date in your early twenties, you were dating completely wrong. If you want to class it up, you can always opt for a pickleback. Nothing says sophisticated early 20s dater like a shot of pickle juice with your shot of Kentucky Gentleman.
5. Happy hours and open bars are your friends
Unless you’re a baller, real dating is way too expensive in your early 20s. All the best date spots for the 20-24 year old crowd are going to be places with either free or cheap drinks and food. If you can find me a date bar with free pizza with each drink I order I am sold.
Once you hit 25 years old, you’re basically past your dating prime. This is actually pretty awesome, because then you get to go after what you really want (and usually, it’s a brunch date). Here’s what dating is like from 25 – 29.
6. You’re either looking for something serious, or not
Once you hit 25 years old you either have a quarter life crisis and get on the commitment band wagon…or not. This is when the separation happens between the monogamists and the “I’m just enjoying being single” really takes places. Half the people you meet will want to get into a relationship ASAP and the other half will be just fine occasionally hooking up.
7. You’re going to have to introduce people to friends and family
God, this gets so awkward, but eventually you’ll have to introduce the people you date to at minimum your friends and at worst, your family. Don’t worry; it’s never as bad for you as it is for them.
8. Unlimited brunch becomes the best date option
Unless you suddenly became a baller between 24 and 25 years old, chances are that you’re probably doing only slightly better than “habitually broke”. This is when brunch dates become THE BEST BET. Imagine this, you get unlimited drink for at least two hours so you get drunk fairly on the cheap, you get a meal, and it’s so early in the day you could maybe go back to their place, hookup, and still go out later that night.
9. You’ll cancel dates because you’re too hungover from last night
Getting old sucks and nothing reminds you of your mortality more than being too hungover to go on a date. You’ll be reminiscing about all the times you got so wasted you blacked out, and went out the next day looking as fresh as a daisy.
10. You pick date venues based solely on how many college kids aren’t there
Doesn’t it suck when you’re on a date and some fresh faced 21 year-old couple is doing shots of cheap whiskey and drinking crappy beer and being rowdy while you’re just trying to enjoy the ambience at the bar?