25 Ways You Know You Are Dating a Student Affairs Professional*

*This includes graduate students as well. Don’t get it twisted – your assistantship is 20 hours a week and you’re doing student affairs work with real, live students; hence you are a professional in my opinion.

Have you ever been on a date and realized you’ve done one of the following? Or perhaps you’ve been on a date with someone in Student Affairs and always thought something seemed off about them. Well here’s a list of the top ways you know you’re on a date with someone in SA (with special notations about #ResLife only issues)

1)    Your first date involves: Name games, free pizza, and an evaluation of what could be improved for the next time.

pizza dreams true

2)    They give you career counseling.
One minute you’re discussing your job and musing about your expectations/interests in your career, and the next they are asking you probing questions about what makes you happy, where do you see yourself in ten years, and then they proceed to advise you navigating your career.

3)    They ask what organizations you were involved with in college.
Not everyone was involved in a college student organization (or even went to college). In fact, most people were not – but try telling them this! And if you were in a student organization (student government, College Republicans, Greek, etc) as soon as you mention it a look enters their eye, they go “hmm, interesting” and you immediately know they just judged your entire personality.

loki judge

4)    They ask questions using counseling techniques like ‘probing’ and ‘reflection’.
You realized you’re doing most of the talking during the date. They skillfully navigate the conversation with relationship building skills and use counseling techniques to learn more about you, until finally you cry about some buried memory or receive an epiphany about your true purpose in life.


5)    When you answer questions about life experiences, share something insightful, and they nod sagely saying “Oh that makes total sense, and explain their understanding using various theories and catch phrases like ‘external formulas’.

6)    When you say something sexist/racist/ableist/homophobic, etc, they call you out
True story: Once I went on a date with a man who referenced his ex-girlfriend and called her a “bitch”. And I proceeded to challenge him with a “You realize you’re out with a feminist, yeah?” and ignored his mansplaining as I explained why that reference was sexist (and not okay).

new girl - fem rant

7)    They ask what your MBTI is, and if you say you don’t know they’re like “Oh, I bet you’re totally like a ___!” and proceed to conduct a personality test.

8)    When you make dinner plans they immediately write off all pizza and Subway.
When the only food your date gets is free pizza and sandwiches, then it is a terrible idea to not introduce more interesting items into their diet.
>>>#ResLife Option: On the plus side, they pay for all dinner plans. On the negative side, dinner is always at a dining hall.

treat yo2

9)    If you make the date during a break (summer, spring, winter) they are super excited to go to the bars that have emptied of college students.

10)    They have a disturbingly large supply of condoms and are more knowledgeable than most on the science of safe sex.


11)    They measure time in semesters, not years.
“So when did you visit Las Vegas?” “Oh, spring 2013 at the ACPA Convention”.

12)    They provide adequate trigger warnings and uses words like “heteronormative” and “cisgender”

13)    Good luck trying to spend time with them around the beginning or end of the school year, or any other major event.

busy potc

14)    They’re always check their phone to make sure residents didn’t burn down the building or student organizations/athletes aren’t hazing.

15)    At the end of each date they ask you to do “highs and lows” or “roses and thorns” to evaluate the experience.

16)   You can’t understand half the things they say because they speak in acronyms.


17)    When you spend the night, they have 52 free shirts that you can choose from as pajamas.

18)    Movie dates result with analyzing the film from a social justice perspective.

19)    They’re always asking odd hypothetical questions like “So, if you’re trapped in a basement after an earthquake, and have these 12 items, what would you use first?”

20)    The first time you say “I love you,” they ask you to operationalize what you mean by the word “love”.

what do you mean

21)    Your significant other’s RAs/colleagues consider you to be an honorary member of the staff.

22)    You know you should be flattered when they call you “self-authored’ but you’re unsure why.

23) They always say that you both should assess the relationship, yet never make any time to do so.

rupaul no time

24) They ask you “What does diversity mean to you?”

25) Sleepovers come with a caveat for being woken up at 3a.m. on duty nights. #ResLife


Many thanks to my lovely contributors on Facebook! They either helped inspired the list item or created it completely on their own.

1, 19-20: Eric Crumrine
8, 15, 22: Kaitlyn Yoder
10: Jason Mellen
11: Brian Dixon
12: Kelly Grab
13: Rachel Golden, James Thomas
14: Anna Dickherber
18 & 25: Lindsay Luzania
21: Jenn Paul
24: Naomi Valdez


What other suggestions would you provide? Comment or tweet me @NikiMessmore!



  1. Niki, you are brilliant and I had such a blast reading through these! Thank you for making my day. Can’t wait to share your genius idea with the masses 🙂


      1. Danny – that would be a great one to add to the list! “When you said something that your date really liked/agreed with, they started snapping uncontrollably.”


  2. This is great. But what’s the implication on the dating life when both parties are in Student Affairs? (My life) Haha That’s when things get real crazy.


  3. Too funny and all so true! Another to add would be that they should be prepared for you to be stopped by students no matter where you are to talk to you about a situation on campus or that is going on with them. Or, they just stare at you in amazement that you leave the office and have a life. Happened more times than I can count!


  4. OMG — I’m a 65 year-old retired SAP and am still snorting with laughter at these. Kudos to everyone. My personal fav was the MBTI reference — perfect!!!


  5. 26. Your significant other correctly plugs the fridge into the microwave into the wall as soon as you walk into your hotel room for a romantic getaway – then immediately checks the mattress for bed bugs.


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