I have a friend who goes to University at Buffalo, and he’s dying for some action. After breaking up with his girlfriend of three years in his freshman year at UB, he’s endured a struggle to find another girl who he can date or at least hook up with. So far, he has had barely any success. Every time he mentions this problem to me — and, trust me, it comes up quite a lot — he always cites one reason above all others for his bad luck: Everybody at UB drinks, and due to some medical problems he’s had throughout his life, he couldn’t drink even if he wanted to. And so he never goes to parties. Therefore, no action. Says him.

“Everybody” drinking, of course, isn’t exactly a quality exclusive to UB. But the aforementioned complaint isn’t exclusive to my friend either. I’ve frequently heard from several single and (voluntarily) non-drinking friends that they feel their alcoholic abstinence is the main culprit in why they can’t get laid, find a girlfriend or boyfriend, spend every weekend playing RPG’s, etc. They’re uncomfortable with drinking and social events constructed around it, and yet they feel like they’ll just have to cave in someday if they ever want to meet someone special.

Of course, there are some harsh truths to those worries — alcohol certainly brings about plenty of weekend hook-ups (if not exactly ‘til-death-do-we-part love affairs), and for the 18-to-22-year-old crowd, it’s as big a conversational catalyst as words are. Foregoing the college party circuit can certainly limit your chances of meeting someone new. But that harsh truth is hardly the rock-solid one my UB friend thinks it is.

Sure, a lot of students at any college think a weekend without alcohol is like a weekend without food, and they’re totally comfortable with intoxicated social situations. But, come on now, we all remember middle school health class: You don’t have to do it just ‘cause the cool kids do! There are just as many students who have no interest in drinking or partying. Maybe they have medical problems. Maybe they don’t want to feel sick all night or the next morning. Maybe big, noisy crowds just aren’t their thing. Maybe they simply aren’t interested. Either way, it’s not good to still harbor the high school mentality that you’re outside of the “social elite” because of your personal decisions. You stand as a good a chance of meeting someone in your morning class, or just through a friend of yours, than you do if you were to party every weekend. Maybe it doesn’t feel that way at all, but that’s one of the coolest things about new relationships: It’s impossible to tell where they could come from.

When you’re desperately single, you hold the slightest hope of finding a romantic possibility anywhere you go — the Hive, the laundry room, the bookstore, an elevator — and you should want to give yourself plenty of additional opportunities. Still, there’s no reason to purposefully make yourself uncomfortable in pursuit of a relationship. If you like getting shit-faced on the weekends and meeting people at parties, do your thing. If the idea of trying that makes you squirm, don’t bother pushing yourself. Looking for a random hook-up is one thing, but if you’re really looking someone who’s right for you, that person — whoever he or she might be — will start things off right by making you feel comfortable with whatever you want to do.

And really, who would want it any other way?

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