Student Life

The art of being single: Expectations Pt. 2

I’m no stranger to writing about expectations: how they can lead to overthinking certain relationships and encounters, how they can leave you with unrealistic perspectives of people and situations, how they can just generally crush your soul, ruin your life and cause eternal instability and turmoil. In short, I think expectations suck and we should try to live life without them.

Having expectations, at least in my opinion, right when you meet someone, is a dangerous game to be playing. You don’t know this person’s personality, their attitude, the way they handle bad situations, how they treat customer service employees, if they litter, etc. All of these are very important things to consider, but that you (most likely) do not have access to. What you also don’t know is what their intentions are, unless you ask–but then you risk looking absolutely batshit crazy. Where they’re at in their lives, where they’ve been, what they’ve gone through.

What you also don’t know is what their intentions are, unless you ask–but then you risk looking absolutely batshit crazy. How many times does your heart skip a beat when you lock eyes with someone for the first time and their smile melts your insides? Exactly.

It’s easy to get swept up in the feeling and start overthinking things, start building up expectations in your mind of who this person is, what they may be like, what type of relationship you may want to have with them. It’s even more difficult to stop these things from happening when you just find them so damn cute.

To top it all off, it’s even more difficult to control your mind from creating expectations when other people jump on board—it’s one thing to talk yourself down from thinking something because you may say you’re overreacting or it’s all in your head. But when other people—especially your friends, your mutual friends—acknowledge some type of chemistry, you might think you should just save yourself the trouble and yeet yourself off a building. Don’t!

What do you do to prevent expectations from bursting in like they own the place and blowing up all chances of being mentally stable while you get to know this person? I was recently told to not have high hopes but also to keep hope—it’s that fine line of being able to go with the flow in reality and stopping yourself from overthinking and creating expectations in your mind.

Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: I just want to know

This week I have a lot to say – so here we go.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve written about a variety of topics that deal with the less *glamorous* side of the dating world, where things don’t really go as planned. With pieces like “Let it go,” “It really be like that sometimes,” and, most recently, “Stop overthinking everything,” I got pretty deep into the type of psychological strength it takes to just let things happen when it comes to dating.

And while I’ve become more inclined to take my own advice recently and do just that – just let things happen – there is a gray zone. Sometimes, the hardest part of not being able to just let things happen is the uncertainty: not knowing if the other person is remotely interested and whether or not all your interactions seem like they might mean they’re interested because you’ve overthought every detail. Not knowing if there actually is any chemistry between you or if you’re projecting because you like them, but are maybe too scared to admit it because you’re just trying to let things happen.

It’s being uncertain of if you should take the leap and potentially jeopardize whatever platonic relationship you have with someone. All this is because you’re unsure how they feel about and you don’t want to ruin what you already have but aren’t opposed to potentially having more because the chemistry is there and other people see it too.

It’s like in international relations (I’m a political science major too, okay, bear with me): in an archaic world, realists and liberals hate uncertainty because there’s risk involved. This is also in economics and free-market theories, for all of you who might relate to this by that approach.

Basically, the uncertainty of the situation – of whether they might like you, of whether they’d be down to try to build something with you, if there’s actually chemistry or if you’re projecting – is scary. The “maybe, maybe not” of it all can really wreak havoc on your mental state and can cause even more overthinking, which, as I’ve previously written, we should try to avoid.

If the whole world would just be upfront about what they wanted, we would all be so much better off. Imagine that: someone likes you? They tell you straight up. Don’t feel the same? Tell them. You have a loathing for someone’s entire existence? Woah there, but also, you do you boo, tell them and it probably won’t be such a big deal because everyone would just be telling their feelings all the time.

Honestly, all this is just to say that the gray area in any aspect of life is hard to deal with, but it can really take a toll on your mental state when it comes to relationships. Personally, I would just want to know how people feel about me to avoid the whole guessing game and to undercut all the “maybe, maybe not.”

This brings me to my next point – two for one this week! – in the case that things don’t work out as you hoped and everything goes to shit (re: “Shit happens, routines fail”), just allow yourself to feel. It sounds simple enough, but often we’re upset at ourselves for being so upset about things not working out as we hoped. Instead of being upset over actually feeling an emotion, we should just skip a step and actually just feel everything – and then move on. Trying to prevent yourself from the natural process of reacting to something, especially to something sad or shocking, will only do more harm than good and will also likely cause you to overthink.

SO, to sum all this up: 1) the gray area sucks, so try creating as few as possible to avoid heartbreak; 2) if you get heartbroken, allow yourself to feel and then just move on.


Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: Stop overthinking everything

I’ve been trying to write this article for four days: I know what I want to write about but the words don’t want to come out. I want a specific point to come across but I don’t know how to phrase it, to make it sound eloquent and succinct. 

I can’t stop overthinking.

I don’t have to tell you that overthinking is the worst possible thing you can do to yourself: it creates unattainable expectations, it messes with your perception of reality and it can cause you to feel anxious about many situations.

While I was overthinking how I was going to write this article, it became incredibly difficult for me to even think about what I was doing, about what I actually wanted to say anymore. I was so focused on trying to finish it that it prevented me from starting it.

You might be wondering why I’m talking about this article if this is a column about relationships. Well, this column and the overthinking is also a lot like navigating the dating world and is relevant to relationships.

Rather than overthinking what to write, there’s overthinking when you meet someone new or simply start viewing someone you know in a different light. You know what I’m talking about: when someone starts talking to you more often, when you spend more time together, when you start asking yourself if their lingering hug means they might like you or if it’s just because they’re becoming more comfortable around you.

You start thinking of all the physical cues that someone might show if they like you: are they turning their body towards me on purpose or do they not realize this is a cue? They’re opening up more to me, does that mean they just like and trust me as a friend or might there be something more? They bought me a coffee, but are we “there” yet in our platonic relationship? The tone in their voice changed, they message me more often, they ask for advice – what does it all mean?

All these little questions and observations are a product of overthinking and it’s honestly probably ruining your life. While it may be exciting to think that all these details may mean something, it’s best to just go as if nothing has changed. Yes, some people might try dropping hints if they like you, but you shouldn’t spend all your free time trying to analyze everything to figure out if they might.

Just go with the flow and, if they really like you, the right time will present itself and everything will work out – just like this column.

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