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The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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What Dating Advice Would You Give Someone in Their 20s?

Find someone interesting, set boundaries, and be chivalrous were some pieces of advice
Emily Loughridge
Noah Holden brought his fiance, Abbee Mann, flowers before their date later that evening.

According to a 2023 Pew Research Center article, every three in ten Americans report being single. In 2022, only 42% of single Americans say they’re looking for either a committed relationship or casual dating, which is down from 49% in 2019. So, as Valentine’s Day draws closer this year will bouquets of flowers be bought for loved ones or will they wilt in the stores?

The day of love traditionally sees loved ones eating a special meal together, exchanging sweet sentiments, and trading heart-shaped candies. As Cupid takes aim with his arrow, it might be time to listen to advice from professionals who are seasoned in the field of dating.

Six faculty members from around campus shared their dating advice for people in their 20s. They have been married anywhere from almost a decade to almost four decades, showcasing their credibility. Topics of boundaries, expectations, and chivalry are discussed in their advice.

So, what dating advice would you give to someone in their 20s?


Dr. Kayla Hale, married for 9 years

“Keep dating until your 30s. Well, you know, I think, to be honest, you’ve got to find somebody who you can actually have a conversation with, that you can talk to and find a shared interest, and be interesting. Being interesting is so important, and a lot of people just really struggle with finding that, in my opinion.”

“My husband and I met on campus at our previous institution, and it has gone by so quickly. And I think it’s because not only do we respect each other and find each other interesting, but we’re genuinely best friends. It’s so easy when you have all three of those.”




Coach Darrick Matthews, married for 12 years

“In your 20s you are already old enough to kind of understand what you’re looking for, you should’ve already had trial and error. So, I would probably say at the point of 20s, you want to focus on someone that you can see yourself with for the rest of your life. If not, I think you’re wasting your time.”




Dr. Zach Simpson, married for 14 years

“So, like, big picture, I think that in your 20s, especially in your early 20s, you should not feel pressured to only date one person. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be monogamous; what I’m saying is if it someone’s not perfect, you shouldn’t feel the pressure to keep persisting in that relationship – or not perfect, if someone’s good enough that people shouldn’t settle. They should have the freedom to go see what else is out there. And I’m not saying to date lots and lots of people, but if that’s what it is then there’s nothing wrong with that, and there’s nothing wrong with getting to see what a bunch of other people are like. Getting married, if that’s where dating is headed, is literally the most important decision you’ll make in your life, maybe other than having a kid. Getting married, you’re picking who your partner’s going to be, you’re picking your sense of mental well-being, financial well-being; you’re putting your fate in the hands of someone else and you need to know if that’s the right decision. Sometimes you don’t know until you know. Yeah, I would say dating a diversity of people is a good thing and can be a good thing.

I’ll give advice to young men. I feel like what I observe – this is going to make me sound old – is that young men need to step up to the plate more. And women like to be asked out, they like to be taken on real dates – not hanging out at your house. If you’re not of means, just the gesture of taking someone out is a good thing, and if you do stay at home, you cook them a nice meal. You treat them like they deserve to be treated. I think a lot of young men lack that kind of, for lack of a better word, chivalry. I know we’re all equal now and whatnot, but there is still an ethic and there’s still a charm to being asked out, being romantic, taking the time and the care to do that – to not sit around and watch tv or watch a movie together – but like actually spend time together face-to-face at a restaurant or wherever, talking. I think traditional dating, of like going through the motions of going out to eat, picking each other up, doing real things together, doing special things together is really important. I think it’s really important as you continue to date to keep doing those things, like not forgetting them.”


Dr. Josh Hakala, married for 16 years

“I would recommend that you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to have a good Valentine’s Day. I mean really, in my opinion, it should be more about spending time with your partner. And just trying to have a good time with the both of you doing things that you both like or including something that maybe is really special for your partner, and coming from the heart. Going out and feeling like you have to buy this, this, and this – that might not mean a whole lot, it’s more meaningful, in my opinion, if it really comes from the heart and is something unique and kind of tailored for them.”



Dr. Misty Steele, married for 16 years

“I think one piece of advice would be to understand your own preferences and identify them as such. That sometimes when we are young adults and we are living on our own for the first time, we develop these habits that we feel are best and rigid. And when we open our lives to another person, who has a different experience and history and understanding and ways of doing things, a lot of the arguments and disagreements happen because what we think is a right way or something that is rigid – it’s really just a preference. We prefer to do things a specific way, we prefer things to be in a specific area, but being open to that other person who has preferences, and you don’t want their preferences to dominate yours, you also want to be mindful to make sure that your preferences aren’t dominating the other person. Because otherwise you’re going to run into a lot of little disagreements that feel really big, and they’ll accumulate too. So, it just feels like it’s bigger than what it really is, because, once again, we aren’t looking at our expectations as preferences as often as we probably should.”


Dr. Karen Karner, married for 37 years

“In a relationship, when you know that you are going to be seeing this person for a while, set boundaries with each other on what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior. That may sound kind of bold, but I think, nowadays especially, being comfortable in any relationship that you’re in is a very big deal. And so, knowing how you’re acting with each other or what you do with each other or what you agree on or disagree on – just setting those boundaries at some point in the relationship, I think that’s what I would advise people to do. Because once you do that, it’s liberating – there’s a freedom to it – you know that you’re free to explore the relationship as much as you want to, knowing what the boundaries are – of how you talk to each other, how you act with each other, eat with each other, whatever.”


Emily Loughridge is a third-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham


Gelles-Watnick, Risa. “For Valentine’s Day, 5 Facts About Single Americans.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 8 Feb. 2023,


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About the Contributor
Emily Loughridge
Emily Loughridge, Editor-in-Chief
Emily is a fourth-year communication major from Union City. Emily is obtaining minors in psychology and liberal arts, as well. She has been on staff for The Trend since the fall of 2021 and loves working with the writers on ideas! Emily also works in the Sports Information Department on campus as the Student Assistant. When she isn't studying or working, Emily can normally be found watching Scrubs, Reba, or How I Met Your Mother and enjoying ice cream with her boyfriend.   Experience with The Trend: Editor-in-Chief: Dec. 2022 - present Managing Editor: May 2022 - Nov. 2022 Contributing Writer: Aug. 2021 - April 2022