I recently conducted a survey of 100 students concerning the common dating practices of college students who live in the South and Midwest. Here’s what I found out:
1. Of these 100 students, 81 percent believe that the male should ask out the female on a first date and pay for the entire date. Respondents had differing views of what a first date should entail, but most agreed that it should be fun, simple, and not too serious. Basically, they felt that a first date should be an opportunity to get to know the other person better in a low key, fun setting. Activities recommended were dinner and a movie, attending sports games, and coffee or cocktails, depending on the age of the couple.
2. Concerning interracial dating, 99 percent said it was either acceptable or very acceptable. However, when asked how important it was for them, personally, that someone they were dating was of the same race as them, 50 percent said it was important that the other person be the same race.
3. Over 85 percent of respondents said that practicing premarital sex was a common behavior, and 76 percent said it was a culturally acceptable behavior. However, only one-third of respondents thought it was a good idea to have sex before marriage in their own lives.
4. The three most important traits that respondents look for in a person to have a potential relationship with are level of intelligence, common interests, and religious beliefs. Similar age and race were viewed as important factors, but not necessary factors for dating someone. Basically, they were not “deal breakers.” Other important traits included sense of humor, compassion, physical attractiveness, trustworthiness, and ability to be friends.
“He has to be smart, funny, and loving. Funny is a big one; if you can’t make me laugh, then see ya.” -Female, 22
“The overall way they carry themselves is important. Also, the amount of baggage they have and how well they fit you.” – Male, 21
“I want someone I can trust and consider my best friend.” – Female, 23
Based on personal interviews and research, I also learned that most people want a partner who is compatible to their lifestyles. The saying that opposites attract can be true, but most people look for someone who has similar interests and values as themselves. Most college students are not seriously looking for someone to marry at this time in their lives, but they do want someone they can consider their best friend and spend large amounts of time with. Females tend to want more of the fairy-tale romance than males do, but that is not to say that males are not romantic. Many males confessed they secretly love chick-flicks and planning romantic surprises for their girlfriends.
I hope this research helps you gain a better understanding of common dating practices and the views that college students have concerning relationships. If you want to gain an even better understanding of common dating practices, I recommend talking to your friends about it and not watching chick-flicks. That was my original MO and I didn’t get very accurate results. Who knew that most guys don’t train their high school marching band to serenade their girlfriend when she gets a little cranky? (10 Things I Hate About You…just saying!)