New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Relationship roulette: Detecting the red and green flags at NYU

Dating at NYU is its own ball game. Our school color might be purple, but we all have our fair share of red and green flags.
Candice Yao
(Illustration by Candice Yao)

Dating at a college like NYU can be a thrilling adventure, whether you are swiping on countless dating apps or exploring new parts of Bobst Library in an effort to find your class crush. But, in such a populated and fast-paced environment, it can also be challenging to connect with someone. And when you finally do make a connection, it becomes a matter of finding the potential partners among the heartbreakers. As we settle into cuffing season, here are some notable red and green flags to help you discern a Bobst Bae from a Bobst Bye.


Red Flags:

Their study-abroad experience two semesters ago is their only personality trait

We get it — London is an amazing city and Paris is so chic. But if your date is constantly bringing the discussion back to their study-abroad experience from two semesters ago, it’s time to pack your bags and to move on. Ask a question about me for a change.

Making seemingly intentional mistakes midway through a conversation, like “Yeah, the Tube — I mean the subway — was taking forever,” as an excuse to talk about their semester in London is a segue I’ve heard one too many times. If you find yourself talking to a self-identified culture snob who picked up an affinity for cigarettes and learned a few words in French while abroad, steer clear while you’re ahead. If not, you will hear about their favorite Parisian cafe on every date night.


They talk to you as if you’re a LinkedIn connection

LinkedIn might be a helpful social media platform, but there is a time and place to network, and a date is not it. If your date’s approach to flirting is a dry, getting-to-know-each-other Q&A, run while you can.

Imagine you’re at a party, and you’re being bombarded with interview-style questions accompanied by alcohol breath in your face. No thanks! Save the LinkedIn talk for your professional connections — dating should feel natural. Using a social event to market yourself to potential partners screams self-centeredness. I want to know what they like to do on weekends, not how difficult it was to get their Goldman Sachs internship. They can save that for the career fair.


San Marzano is their go-to first-date spot

If your date proposes dinner at San Marzano, you have a lot more to worry about than a potential upset stomach after eating the shrimp scampi. Everyone and their mother knows about San Marzano. That’s not to say it isn’t great. But, it’s neither an impressive, nor an intimate first-date destination. Not only does it show a lack of creativity, but it also shows a lack of effort. A first date is an opportunity to have fun with a potential partner, so I’d hope for something a little more original. If your date proposes a restaurant like San Marzano — or any other common spot for that matter — take that as your cue to politely pass.


Green Flags:

They know the dining hall or campus staff workers by name

A small, saintly segment of the NYU population befriends the noble workers who serve our food and clean our halls. If you’re on a dining-hall date or are casually strolling through campus and your date strikes up a conversation with the cafeteria workers or security guards like they’re old friends, congratulations — that is a major green flag.

Learning and using the names of campus staff is a clear sign of respect and appreciation. It shows that they are caring and polite. It should be a given for every student to take the time to greet staff properly, but it unfortunately isn’t. If your date takes the time to acknowledge and greet the workers, that person is a keeper.


They prefer Tompkins Square Park over Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park is basically the fast food joint of New York City parks — it’s convenient and reliable, but there are always better and more quaint options. If your partner proposes a picnic date at Tompkins Square Park, it is already starting off strong.

Tompkins offers the ability to engage in personal and intimate conversations without having to worry about being interrupted by an influencer dying to ask you an oddly personal question. If they suggest a place where you have to scream over street performers to tell a story, it can make you wonder if they cared to talk much anyway. Tompkins in the East Village provides a calm setting and charming ambiance that you can’t really have in the middle of the overwhelming and overstimulating Washington Square Park.


They study in a quiet room at Bobst

Working on a quiet floor at Bobst shows that someone is hard-working, diligent and focused — all desirable traits for a romantic partner. Instead of heading straight for the fifth floor to chat with friends, they are ready to hunker down and get work done. With the new first floor, which is a prime people-watching spot, this is especially admirable.

Plus, studying in a quiet room and maintaining a relationship both take commitment. Next time you’re at Bobst, you can kill two birds with one stone by getting your work done and finding a new Bobst Bae on the eighth floor.


An honorable beige flag:

If you’re on a date with someone and one of the first questions they ask pertains to your zodiac sign, it doesn’t justify ghosting, but it might be worth noting. Why should it matter that I was born in November? Surely the month I was born in isn’t the sole reason why I’m a picky eater. You might enjoy checking out your horoscope or learning about your moon sign, but be cautious. It’s all fun and games until they blame a disagreement on you being a Scorpio.

Contact Chinara Dorancy at [email protected].

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  • G

    GhasagNov 10, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Wow, this article is truly impressive! Your insights are not only thought-provoking but also eloquently expressed. It’s evident how much effort and passion you’ve poured into this piece. I’m genuinely proud to know someone who consistently produces such high-quality content. Keep shining and inspiring Chinara!

  • J

    JPNov 10, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    WSN more content from this writer, please! I have never been more entertained by an article from this esteemed publication. This was quality, class, and all of the above. A standard of excellence. No one is doing it like Chinara Dorancy!

  • L

    LucasNov 10, 2023 at 7:04 pm

    Max Astrachan sent me this article. Was he the inspiration? Love it keep writing girl!!!