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On Friday 13th February The Student Room were joined by Alec from the charity OnePlusOne to answer questions from some of you. Here are the results:
<h3>Should I be afraid of being rejected?</h3>
Before dating you should make sure you've taken time to get to know yourself, your likes, your desires, and your qualities. If you’re confident in your own way – but not cocky or pushy – then you’ll almost certainly find someone who matches these qualities and likes you.

Along the way some people may reject you – either because you’re not what they’re looking for, or because they’re just not in that place right now. Its important to learn to accept that is ok too. The right kind of confidence will allow you to accept that, bounce back and move on until you find someone.
<h3>When is it time to give up on ever finding love?</h3>
Love isn't simply something you can go out and ‘find’ per se. It has to occur. But fortunately there’s lots you can do to increase your chance of that occurrence happening.

One thing I can tell you is desperation will not work in your favour. The old saying holds true – no-one will love you until you learn to love yourself. So if you can learn to appreciate and respect yourself, develop a positive attitude and find hobbies and interests that allow you to meet/network with people that have similar interests, you are more likely to have this happy occurrence. People partner up and find love way into old age – there’s no age limit it has to happen by. My advice is work on yourself and don’t stress by trying to force it.
<h3>How do you ask a guy if he likes you without being desperate?</h3>
You may not even need to ask. Psychologists say that more than half of communication is "non-verbal" - meaning their actions and body language speak louder than words.

You can often tell if someone likes you (or not) simply by being around them - and listening to your gut feeling. If they smile, have open body language towards you, and perhaps gaze a little longer than most, then there's a good chance they like you. It's not 100% accurate.. but gives you a good indication.
<h3>What makes a partner feel special?</h3>
What people need to feel special differs by person. Gary Chapman’s famous book ‘The Five Languages of Love’ (Google it) reveals that most people express affection in very distinct ways, and feel it returned most when its expressed in that way back; these are: Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Serice, and Physical Touch.

What’s important is to know your main style of expressing and receiving affection, and that of your partners, and work through them. If you don’t match well I’m afraid it’s not always easy.
<h3>I am in a long distance relationship and my boyfriend has said that he doesn't want to see me for valentines as he says he has still not told his friends or parents, I don't know what to do? I really want to see him but he won't let me near.. please help</h3>
There’s not really much you can do if he’s not feeling comfortable yet to tell his friends and parents. You certainly should avoid trying to push or coerce him, and in fact that may just make him resist more.

All you can do is know yourself and be clear you’d really like to see him before long. Suggest another time soon – you might well find he’s super grateful for the little extra patience to get there. But on the other hand if he keeps being unhappy to meet up (and you keep being unhappy to not see each other), you may need to accept that you want different things - and perhaps should look for other people.
<h3>What's the best way of being more friendly around people in general without coming across as weird, with a long-term view of a close friendship with a person?</h3>
People often wonder what's the right thing to 'do' or 'say'. In fact one of the best and most sure ways to connect with any person is learning to be a good listener. People warm up to and trust someone that they think listens and takes an interest in what they have to say.

Good listening is a skill you can learn and practice. Therapists, interviewers, nurses etc. take courses on 'Active Listening'. E.g. see here: <a rel='nofollow' target='_blank' href='http://psychcentral.com/lib/become-a...tening/0001299 '>Psych Central page</a>

I recommend the value of listening to everyone - it helps you grow and form new opinions. An added bonus is that by listening and asking others about themselves you're also much less likely to say the wrong thing or put your foot in your mouth.
<h3>Is there such thing as the "Friend-zone"? </h3>
Interesting question – because what people mean by ‘friend-zone’ has changed since when I was 18 and first heard the term (I’m 26 now).

Originally it referred to a situation where you didn't tell someone you liked how you felt about them - and ended up staying as just friends until eventually they met someone else and things got awkward. It was something you did to yourself, by not being brave enough to tell someone how you really felt. Unfortunately the word has been hijacked in the last couple of years.. and to some people has become a way of blaming someone else for not showing an interest in you even if you did ‘nice things for them’ and acted as their friend.

So I’ll say this… If you really like someone then try and have the courage find a way to tell them. If they’re interested then great, and if not then that’s their choice but at least you didn't leave it to get awkward. But remember… nobody ever owes someone their romantic affection, simply because that person has been their friend or done nice things for them.
<h3>Do friends with benefits work?</h3>
The answer is they work for some people, but really don't for others.

Generally they work best for people who already have some experience with dating, and have a very clear idea of what they do and don't want. To avoid hurt feelings and get the best of it, it's important that both people have been explicit on their intentions to each other, and it's important they recognise that what they want and how they feel now may very quickly change.
<h3>I hear a lot that you need to work out what you want before you start dating or a relationship. What is the best way of figuring that out, without dating? From personal experience, I had to go through a few unsuccessful relationships before I really learned what I wanted</h3>
Yes. Part of the way to figure out what you want is simply to go through it and make the mistakes yourself. But other equally important ways include being mindful and getting to know yourself, your ambitions, your mood and tempers, your triggers and your motivations, more generally. And also equally valuable - we learn by watching other peoples relationships - seeing how they work and figuring out if there’s something you would like to do the same or differently in future.
<h3>Will guys be put off if a girl makes the first move? </h3>
Sadly, the dominant ‘cultural script’ is still that guys generally make the first move – but it doesn't necessarily always have to be that way.

The art of a good flirt is to make your interest quite clear while still leaving just enough room to plausibly deny/dismiss the whole thing. Essentially this gives the person a chance to consider their interest back, but still bow out with worrying about creating a scene if they’re just not into it this time around. Usually it involves a good bit of eye contact and some humour.
<h3>What is the best way to deal with jealousy? Should I talk to my partner about it?</h3>
The roots of jealousy are almost always in the person’s own insecurities – fear that they may be replaced or become irrelevant, and that their partner has important needs they’re not meeting. The first step is to figure out what specific things you’re most insecure about (it’s not a bad thing, everyone has them) and then the second point of action is to talk to your partner – say you sometimes worry about ‘XXX’. Most of the time you’ll find there’s nothing to worry about, and they can reassure you.

In the unlikely event they can’t, that’s not jealousy – that’s your gut telling you there’s something major that needs resolving one way or another in your relationship.

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