Photo of two people laying together in the grass as they look at each other.

You might want to date to get to know new people, start a relationship or casually hang out. It’s also okay if you’re not looking to date or hookup. Sometimes, it’s nice to focus on friendships instead. If this sounds like you, check out these tips for making friends on campus

If you are interested in dating during your time here at CU, here are some tips for making dating fun and meaningful. 

1) Communicate your intent 

To get the most out of dating, consider what you want from the experience. For some people, this may look like casual dating, while others may desire a committed relationship. 

Ask yourself these questions to get started: 

  • Do you only want something brief and casual, casual but consistent or more serious? If so, are you open to different outcomes? 
  • Does sharing similar political views, aspirations, lifestyle or other factors matter to you? 
  • What expectations do you have for who will pay on the date? Can you clarify before the date begins? 

If you're using dating apps, these questions can help you tailor your profile and create meaningful filters. For instance, if you’re looking for something casual, you may want to consider filtering out people who are looking for a relationship or vice versa. Using these features and being honest about what you want allows you to set clear expectations and match with people who want similar things. 

Dating and communication also require vulnerability. A prospective date might reject you for having wants that don’t align with your own, which can be a difficult experience. However, keep in mind that having someone clearly communicate their intent, even if it turns out to be rejection, can still be a better outcome than being led on or having a date end poorly.

2) Embrace authenticity and connection 

We are all hardwired to seek clarity, safety and stability in our relationships. However, modern dating culture often emphasizes more casual interactions and low accountability. We may feel pressured to play it cool, be chill, minimize what we want/need or avoid committing too early. Ultimately, these dating norms and expectations can cause increased anxiety and uncertainty in our relationships. 

One way to combat this is to embrace authenticity and connection intentionally. Allow your true self to shine through, whether you’re dating online or in person. If you prefer apps, build a profile that reflects who you really are. Don’t be afraid to showcase your personality through photos, questionnaires or your bio. Staying true to your authentic self can also help you be more open to making meaningful connections. Seek out people who allow you to be yourself.  

Remember that you can take your time when dating. Spend as much time as you need to get to know yourself as a dating partner and to learn about others. 

3) Determine and communicate your boundaries 

Boundaries represent the limits, rules or expectations we set for our behavior. Setting healthy boundaries can help us navigate relationships in a more positive way and avoid feelings of anger, resentment or burnout. 

Here are a few examples to consider: 

  • What physical touch are you comfortable with on a first date (e.g., handholding, hugging, kissing, sex, etc.)? 
  • Are you comfortable dating someone who may be seeing other people at the same time? 
  • Do you want to get to know someone over text before meeting up or meet up right away? 
  • How do you feel about going out with someone who has previously dated a friend or acquaintance? 
  • Are there specific activities you’d like to avoid on dates (e.g., drinking, expensive outings, group events, etc.)? 

Communicating our boundaries helps establish a healthy relationship with ourselves and with potential dating partners.  

 Potential conversation starters: 

  • “I am feeling uncomfortable. I may need to go, or is it okay if we do something else?” 
  • “I’ve never done [activity] before. I’d like to go on a date with you, and I am down to try it. But if I end up not having a good time, can we do something else instead?” 
  • “You’re hot, but I don’t feel ready to have sex with you yet. Do you still want to meet up, or does that change your interest in going on our date?” 

Be honest about your expectations and trust your gut. If someone dismisses your boundaries or pushes you to do something you’re uncomfortable with, they’re probably not a good fit.  


While relationships may feel easy and great, they can also be rocky or challenging. There are resources available for relationship support, self-exploration and more.

Let’s Talk

Let’s Talk is a free service where CU Boulder students can meet for an informal, brief and confidential consultation with a CAPS counselor. Let’s Talk counselors can help provide insight, solutions and information about additional resources. Students commonly visit with concerns about stress, sadness, worry, relationships, academic performance, family problems and financial struggles.

Group therapy

CAPS offers process groups that provide a supportive space for students to deepen self-understanding and explore ways of relating more comfortably to others. This group is also designed to help students learn to deal with feelings of depression and anxiety, family dynamics and other personal concerns.

Office of Victim Assistance (OVA)

OVA provides free, confidential trauma-focused counseling, advocacy, information and referrals for all CU community members, including undergrad and graduate students, staff and faculty. They specialize in addressing current and past life-disruptive events, including but not limited to, crime, trauma, sexual assault, partner abuse, experiences of bias, harassment, discrimination, assault, other abuse  and violence.

Peer Wellness Coaching

Peer wellness coaches are trained students who can help their fellow Buffs navigate their time at CU. They are here to help students set and achieve their goals related to academic success, relationships, time management, personal wellness and more.