Dating advice for those terrified of human interaction

With the freezing winter now behind us and the green and lush spring season just around the corner, there is no question that love is in the air at Vassar. Everywhere you look, you see couples holding hands tenderly, and all your friends are pushing for you to crawl out of your cave/lair/room and have fun with a significant other instead of burying yourself in school assignments like a pre-med student during exam week.

But with absolutely no knowledge on dating or anything resembling normal social interaction with other people your age, how can a workaholic like you possibly rid yourself of that dreaded “single” status? Never fear, for I have graciously compiled the perfect list of relationship advice for people who prefer homework over romantic dates and studying in advance over forming intimate emotional bonds. With each scenario listed below, just carefully follow my guide, and even someone like you will find yourself in that “happily ever after” that everyone else seems so obsessed about.

Scenario 1: The classroom
It’s the first day of class and you’re looking around the classroom to find a place to sit, when lo and behold—you spot your crush sitting in the back row with an empty seat next to him! Now, your decision here is crucial. Once you pick a seat on the first day of class, you’re chained to it for the rest of your semester, sort of like your student loans. (Seriously, people get really defensive over one seat that in the grand scheme of things actually means very little to them. So this is serious business.) Stop and take a deep breath and relax. Then, slowly and calmly sit in the front row of the class, because your grade in this course is much more important than he’ll ever be.

Scenario 2: The hallway
All your classes for the day have finally ended, so you have the entire rest of the day all to yourself. But what’s this? Your crush spots you in the hallway and is walking towards you! Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Maybe he has somewhere to be? Wait, he’s stopping where you’re standing and is actually starting a conversation with you! Is this actually happening or is this a dream? (Is this the real life, is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality…) Don’t panic! The last thing you want to happen here is for an awkward silence to occur. What you have to do is cut him off, tell him that you’re really busy, and head straight for the library. Whew, that was a close call. This could have gotten really awkward, but you maneuvered around the issue like a champ. Now, you can get a head start on that history project due next month.

Scenario 3: On Facebook
Say you’re on your phone, just casually scrolling through Facebook, when suddenly you get a notification. Oh my God, it’s a friend request from your crush! This is huge, like really huge. In this era of technology, contact over social media is the obligatory first step towards winning the heart of another person. So if you got a friend request from him, then that must mean you have his attention! But the tricky part is the follow-up. The most dangerous risk in online messaging is that there are no take-backs. Whatever you do will be recorded in the Internet forever, so you have to make your decision carefully. Moreover, you can see if he read your message and didn’t respond, which is also risky. Should you accept it immediately or should you wait a day and then respond? The answer is neither—the best course of action to take is to realize that Facebook is draining your precious study time and to delete your account and any other social media you may have (Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Online banking, etc.) to prevent it from ever tempting you again.

Scenario 4: In the Retreat
Imagine that you’re eating at the Retreat, enjoying that turkey and cheddar on ciabatta sandwich blissfully by yourself, when suddenly, your crush walks up to you and asks if the chair next to you is free! Could it be that he wants to sit at this table, too? This is a big opportunity—surely, you want to present your nicest and sweetest side to the person you like. But how should you respond? Never fear, the solution is surprisingly simple. Just say yes and offer him the free chair. (One of them is obviously being occupied by your backpack.) Then, leave the Retreat so that he can enjoy the table all to himself just like you did. As you walk away to study for an extra ten minutes before class, he will surely be smitten by your politeness and consideration!

Scenario 5: In the Library
An important test is coming up and you decided to meet with your crush at the library to study together. While risky, there are benefits to this idea—studying with another person can ensure that you don’t miss anything, and you can quiz each other later. So, you’re alone with him in the library, and the atmosphere of the library is serene enough to calm your nerves. But just then, your crush starts asking you interesting questions about your personal life while offering to tell you more about himself! It’s…it’s as if he cares more about you than the test tomorrow! Oh no, you’re already starting to get distracted from your work! This is really bad. If this line of questioning goes any further, you might spend the rest of the night engrossed in intimate conversation. In this situation, having control over the flow of conversation is of utmost importance. That’s why you have to stop the flow of conversation entirely and tell him that his question has nothing to do with the test and is thus rendered invalid. If this sort of irrelevant conversation persists, you have two options. The first is to continue to sit there in utter silence, not responding to anything he says, until he gets the hint. Or, you could always just relocate to a different part of the library to ensure maximum study time.

Scenario 6: The “Moment”
So you’re talking with your crush like two perfectly platonic friends and everything is going so well that you feel like a normal human being for once. But then he drops the bomb. Out of nowhere and with a cute blush on his face, your crush asks you out. Oh my god. This is it. This is the moment you thought would never happen. Stay calm! This is the moment that everyone says is the most magical moment in your life, and you absolutely cannot screw this up! How you respond may change everything. It’s a little frightening, but don’t worry, because I am here to guide you in the right direction. All you have to do is say this: “I’m sorry, but I have no interest in dating anyone and I most likely never will, because human intimacy and commitment terrifies me more than taking linear algebra with Prof. McCleary.” Afterwards, exchange cordial handshakes (and possibly hand him the pocket tissues you always have handy) and get started on that essay for next week.

If you follow all the above advice, I guarantee that you’ll be satisfied with the outcome. If the target of your romantic endeavors is charmed by your independence and frankly unhealthy obsession with finding work to do, then you have succeeded. If not, then technically, you have still succeeded because who needs a relationship to drain your precious time and energy when a five-credit course semester at Vassar can already do that in spades?

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