Darya Smirnova explores the pitfalls of dating in halls; the drama, the dilemmas but maybe some solutions too. She looks ahead to the fast approaching Valentines Day and how to handle it!

With Valentine’s Day coming up, being single in St Andrews may feel rather annoying, and the pressure to swipe right on Tinder (Grindr, Scissr… or all social dating applications!) increases. For those of us living in halls, getting drunk at a hall party, hooking up with anyone and making them heart-shaped pancakes the next morning to secure yourself a Valentine begins to feel like a possibility. Whilst I haven’t exactly followed these tactics, I have managed to spend more than half of my Valentine’s Days in St Andrews being in relationships with hallmates. As much as I loved it, I will never argue that it is the best.

Dating in halls can be exciting at the very start: you see each other all the time, especially in catered halls during meals, and you always have a lot to talk about, whether it is next hall party or the latest gossip. It becomes very easy to fit your new bae into your friend group – you already are in at least one hall friend group together. It means that it would take a fair amount of effort into not sharing everything with your friends.


Halls always mean drama, and things gets worse when you let your relationship become a ‘friend group’ effort. It’s tricky to deal with a group of friends trying to manage your relationship for you. Your friends only mean well by trying to find out what your partner would like for Valentine’s, and offering to pass some ideas to them in return. However, you may end up feeling like you are a Sim couple and it’s too impolite to ask your friends to back off a little. Try to avoid that! Keep the distance between your life in hall and your relationship.

Living in halls does allow for some romantic gestures. You can discover a rose, a heart-shaped balloon or whatever sugary Valentine’s Day attribute you fancy outside your room; although that happens very rarely in my experience. It wasn’t because people I dated were bad at romance; the intensity of halls can make leaving a card outside their room seem like obnoxious PDA. Everyone would know who it was from, and I would probably end up talking about it to other people more than to my actual boyfriend, another story in the latest gossip.

Living together decreases your interest in going out for a fancy dinner/romantic walk/whatever you choose, as staying in feels so much easier. I am definitely not demeaning the appeal of ‘Netflix and chill’ if that’s what floats your boat, I am just saying that living in halls does make that a more feasible (and repetitive) option.

Once I dated a guy who had incredibly romantic plans for Valentine’s Day, but I never got to find out what they were. The finest horizontal rain became a little too threatening for a RomCom day outdoors. Most of the couples in our hall stayed in, except for my boyfriend and I. This made me happy, not because I was getting a different meal than a standard Friday dinner at hall, but because he had gone got out of his way to make it special. That is what Valentine’s Day is really about.



Don’t chase a random person just so that you aren’t date-less for Valentine’s Day. It feels a lot worse to be with the wrong person than to be alone, trust me. As sugary as it sounds, it’s about the person you are with, not the idea of giving heart-shaped cards to people you don’t actually have feelings for.

Who am I kidding though, my date for this Valentine’s will probably be my dissertation.



Darya Smirnova



Featured images courtesy of pixabay