Dating & Relationships: A CIP Student's Perspective & Advice

In our latest blog post, CIP Berkeley student, Emma, writes about her experience in the dating world, as well as what she thinks people need to understand when they venture into the world of dating. 


Dating is probably one of my favorite things to do. It’s a mixture of getting to know someone on a deep level and having fun doing so. What some people don’t quite get is that a relationship, as in, only dating one person, is much more complicated than that.


I like to break down relationships into four major categories: trust, communication, dates, and life outside of the relationship. I feel these are the four most important things for anyone to understand and be able to balance to make any relationship work. Everything said here is from personal experience and each relationship, person, and couple is going to be different.


The Act of Dating

I’m going to start with the fun stuff: dates! These are probably my favorite things to do, but first dates can be nerve-racking. Congratulations, one of you managed to get enough courage to ask the other out, that is a task not many people are up to. Here are some ideas on what to do during a first date:


  • I think seeing a movie and getting some frozen yogurt or ice cream afterwards is a good idea for a first date. Seeing a movie together gives you something to talk about, and provides an opportunity to learn about each other’s interests and hobbies. If you have something in common, and you two hit off, it will help come up with ideas for future dates.
  • Other great first date ideas are mini golfing and going to festivals and fairs. Those are always great because they allow you engage in conversation, and get to know the other person a bit more.

Most importantly though, have fun. Get to know them and let them know you.


  • A good rule of thumb is: for every question they ask about you, ask one about them.
  • Don’t make the whole conversation about you that is absolutely no fun either and makes the conversation completely one sided.

First Impressions

What you are going to wear is important too. Impressions on a first date are important, even if you’ve been friends for a long time. Dressing well shows that you care about the person you’re dating. It doesn’t have to be fancy, a nice shirt and a pair of nice, preferable dark wash, jeans or a casual dress is just fine. Dress appropriately for the weather and event. I know people have said this before but on a first date, just be yourself. They want to know the real you, who you are. Remember to take a shower, brush teeth and hair, and wear deodorant.



Communication is essential in a relationship! Communication to me is everything from casual conversation to voicing concerns about elements in the relationship. I have had many relationships fail because of poor or lack of communication between my boyfriend and me.


  • If either, or both of you, are new to relationships, and you feel there is a problem in your communication, seek out a trusted adult to help mediate your communications.
  • If you don’t want to bring an adult into it, then set aside some time where you can both meet and talk.
  • A good tip for a productive conversation is to write down a few points you want to address. Make sure to use “I” statements, and to listen holistically and patiently.

A relationship works two ways, and the only way to keep it that way is to communicate with each other.



Trust is earned, and kept when communication is present. I have also had relationships go south because trust was lost. Once gone, trust can never be fully regained. Clear communication leads to honesty, and honesty leads to trust.


Time Apart

Time away from each other and lives, outside of the relationship are also very important to the health of the relationship. You do not have to do every little thing together, to be honest; you probably want time with your own friends and family. Encouraging your boyfriend or girlfriend to have a healthy social life outside of your relationship is really important. When they gain more social confidence, the social skills and confidence in the relationship will grow stronger.

021317 BY Emma.jpgAbout the Author

Emma is a CIP Berkeley student from El Cebrante, CA. She is a studying Theatre at San Francisco State University.


Is your teen or young adult on the autism spectrum ready to date? Read our latest blog post that highlights certain social skills that can lay the foundation for healthy relationships for teens and young adults with ASD and social communication disorders.


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