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What’s the one thing that turns you off?

We all have them: little checklists that we mentally tick off when it comes to our ideal romantic partner. Finding people who fit all these qualifications can be exhausting—no wonder there are so many dating self-help guides out there. But while our lists may become different or more complicated as we grow, there’s one thing that seems to never change: our dating deal breakers. They’re the one quality about a potential partner that instantly turn us off—the one quality that can ruin an otherwise perfectly good chance at love. Whether it’s smoking, incompetent texting, or even height, dating deal breakers all make us say no way, and bring us back to square one.

Learn 2 txt, pls

This should come as no surprise given I’m an editor for a newspaper, but I’m obsessed with using proper grammar. When it comes to guys I’m interested in, knowing the difference between an en dash and an em dash is right up there with having six-pack abs. However, I understand that not everyone cares about whether or not the Oxford comma is obsolete (it isn’t, by the way).

People seem to be under the impression that grammar is optional while texting—that includes you, Mom. For me, using commas, periods, and proper capitalization is a must when sending a text, and the same goes for anyone who wants to date me. If you’re a guy I like and I text you, “Hey, how’s it going?” and you respond with, “good how r u,” chances are my crush on you will go the way of RIM: down the toilet.

I’ve met stunningly attractive and intelligent men who turn into neanderthals via text. If you communicate effectively in every other aspect of your life, why dumb yourself down on your phone? Smarts are an absolute necessity for me in any relationship, so if a guy sounds dumb in his texts, that’s a deal breaker.

—Darren Sharp


Back it up with brains

I will admit, I’m often the first person to act a bit goofy and silly and will sometimes even dumb down my intelligence; however, my number one dating deal breaker would be someone who cannot hold an intelligent conversation. I find that so many potential relationships are ruined by the other person’s inability to say anything smart. Yes, we are on a university campus, but that doesn’t mean the people around here are rocket scientists. The amount of people I come across in my day who are just plain old stupid is unbelievable. I may be sexually attracted to a girl and I may even want to have a brief fling with her, but I could not bear to date her long term. Sex and cuddling occupy a very small amount of time in a relationship—the rest of the time is talking. If you can’t say something thought-provoking, I’m sorry, but you’re not the girl for me.

—Andrew Ikeman


No smoking, please

There are very few things that will immediately sour me on a date. After all, it takes time to get to know a person and see what they’re like, so you really shouldn’t rush the process. However, if there’s one dating deal breaker that absolutely turns me off instantly, it’s smoking. I don’t smoke, but I’ve been around enough people who do to know that I don’t like it. Prolonged exposure to the smell alone sometimes makes me nauseous. I’ve had friends who smoked intermittently around me, forcing me to begrudgingly adapt to the smell, and after we parted ways, I would often smell enough like an ashtray that people noticed. Smoking is simply not pleasant to be around, and it makes for less-than-pleasant kisses. I generally would prefer not to kiss a chimney, but that’s just me. So put down the cigarette and we’ll have zero problems!

—Max Szyc


Tall girl syndrome

I know it’s a faux pas to say, but really, height matters in the dating world—to me, at least. I’m a pretty tall girl. At five feet nine inches, I tower over most of my girl friends. I’ve never needed help to get an item way up there on a shelf. Going out and hitting the bar scene has usually ended up with me in ballet flats and lusting after the sky-high heels my shorter friends get to rock. Point is: I’m tall. Now, being this tall isn’t a horrible thing. In fact, I’m proud of my statuesque body and long limbs, but they definitely seem to narrow the dating pool for me.

I know, I’ve heard it all the time: “Height shouldn’t matter.” I’ve been told this phrase ad nauseum whenever I disclose my one dating deal breaker, but you shorter people just don’t understand. I want a partner who I can look up to, whose eyes I can gaze lovingly into. I want someone who I can wear massive heels around. I want someone who’ll make me feel petite for once in my life. That’s my one rule and the only one I’ll stick by. So if it means being single for a little while longer, I really don’t care. As long as my prince charming could double as an NBA guard, I’ll have no troubles.

—Weris Dualeh