Posted inLifestyle

The Dating Rules of Oxford

Illustration by Isabelle Kori

Hey there my fellow singles!

With Valentine’s Day looming, it is a time for many of us to ponder on our relationships – or rather lack thereof. Coming to a new city, whether for university or for work, seems to make us think that we can do anything. We are new people, we have turned over a new leaf. All the clubs, parties, and cute trips to the library have still led us to the same exact spot: watching silly rom-coms on Valentine’s and secretly wishing it were us. It’s even harder when we have been launched into a university with very particular dating rules… 

So, what are the top 3 rules of dating in Oxford?

Rule 1: Flat-cest is a no-go

It’s a beautiful Monday night, you’ve come back from the truly romantic Atik, and after several vodka lemonades… it’s inevitable. Well, not in Oxford! Flat-cest disturbs the natural habitat of already incredibly-stressed students, making breakfast awkward, wrecks routines and results in people taking sides… When you already have a pile of work that’s overdue, extra drama is just no help.

Rule 2: college family incest is also forbidden fruit

When joining Oxford, the whole college family tradition feels a little cheesy. But as time goes on, it feels more and more like they truly are your own little family. So, to avoid awkward Sunday dinners, college families have to be off-limits!

Rule 3: The Rule Of 3

A wise friend once said you should never date people who have three or more key things in common with you. For example, someone who is in your college, in your year and in your course should be avoided, for sure. Whilst having many things in common with someone could make it easier to be with them, someone with key differences makes dating just a tad more interesting and is an easy conversation starter on first dates. And, needless to say, dating someone with quite so much in common makes interactions post-breakup extremely uncomfortable.

Just some friendly advice

Clubs and Dating

Now, clubs: in my opinion, whilst they may be fun for a thrilling one night stand, most of the time, unless you really are one of those lucky ones… it won’t lead to the true love and relationship you are envisioning.


This perhaps may not be something everyone thinks about – but once you do, it does make a lot of sense! From experience, I can say that dating someone who has the same name as a previous romantic interest is not ideal either. Your brain is bound to make comparisons between these two, and inevitably this will cause arguments and discomfort in a new relationship. 

A Safe Date

It’s always good to go to crowded places where there are lots of people, possibly in daylight, for first dates. You should also let at least a couple of people know where you are going and when you are expecting to come back. We have all heard this a thousand times, but it’s good to be safe out there! 

Just a couple of last words from me: dating is a challenge for anyone, and being in a new place where you still don’t know the best place to go on first dates is always a struggle. So, no matter how far you’ve come and whether or not you think you’ve found the love of your life, give yourself some credit. Remember to take breaks too – at times, continuously dating on the quest for true love can be exhausting and can result in you losing pieces of your true self, your worth is not measured by how many dates you go on, or how long you have been with someone… At the end of the day, you are the person that will be in your life the longest. So, give yourself a break and remember you are doing well: some things just take time. 


Another hopeless romantic