- “Dating used to be such a status thing for me. I think teenagers in general can be really shallow. Not that I was an asshole or anything, but I think I missed out on a few really good opportunities with people I had a real connection with just because they weren’t what I thought of as ‘my type.’” —Keith, 28
- “Slow down and relax. I felt like I was in such a rush to get a girlfriend and date and lose my virginity. It’s really not that big a deal. It all comes in time.” —Marc, 29
- “Everyone is lying to you. They’re not all having sex or doing whatever. Well, maybe not everyone, but still. I’d definitely let my younger self know that he’s not as weird or behind everyone else as he thinks.” —David, 27
- “Take more risks. Looking back, there were definitely a few girls who put the moves on me or really put themselves out there and I was so oblivious. Sometimes I remember those moments as I’m falling asleep. And then I don’t sleep.” —Luke, 27
- “I was an asshole. I was just an asshole when it came to relationships growing up, and it took me a long time to grow out of that. I think even when I started to find women I wanted to be with, I was so set in my ways I’d fuck things up inadvertently just because of all my bad habits. I’d definitely tell myself to knock all that off.” —Jake, 26
- “Don’t get so hung up on one girl. I think when I was younger I was always so focused on one person even if it was blatantly obvious she wasn’t into me. It’s really, really not the end of the world.” —Charles, 27
- “You can’t force it with someone. I tried so hard to get certain girls to like me in high school and college. I was the kind of person that would change myself to fit in and that was just… dumb.” —Sam, 28
- “Things get way better. High school was a nightmare for me in terms of trying to date and not be hopeless. I was definitely an ugly duckling. If I knew how much better things got in a few years, I would’ve felt a lot better about myself.” —Matt, 28
- “Just because she’s your first doesn’t mean you’re missing out. I had a high school sweetheart and we were dating well into college. We were each other’s firsts. I got so hung up on what else was out there that I broke up with her and basically burned all my bridges with her. I don’t know that we would’ve gotten married but I do sometimes think about what might have been with her. The grass is always greener, etc.” —Jay, 27
- “If I could sit myself down now, I’d probably tell myself to slow down. I was always in such a rush to grow up, basically. I wanted to be like my older brother and all his friends. So I just wanted a girlfriend and that experience as fast as possible. In hindsight, I wish I obsessed over that a bit less and goofed off for longer, if that makes any kind of sense.” —Garrett, 28
- “Calm down and relax. Dating is weird and awkward and everyone gets those jitters. Just be as confident as you can.” —Tim, 27
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.