South Korean Dating Culture: All You Should Know About Dating In South Korea
South Korea is an extraordinary place. On the one hand, Koreans get less motivated to start a romantic relationship because of a lot of pressure they experience at college and at work. On the other hand, having a relationship is considered one of the best things in life. In fact, there’s the entire romantic industry for Korean couples, many local Valentine’s days, and special dating customs. In this guide, we’re going to talk about South Korean dating culture in detail and reveal all the secrets that every foreigner should know.
5 interesting facts about dating in South Korea
Let’s start with a few interesting facts about Korean relationships that can help a foreigner better understand what dating in this culture is actually like.
- Some Koreans may abandon the idea of starting a relationship but only because of too much pressure and challenges. Yes, the statistics show that fewer Korean women and men start families, especially at an early age. This, however, happens because of external factors like the incredibly high competition. The desire to have a relationship is very strong, it’s the entire culture in culture—some singles just can’t afford to start it because of the lack of time.
- Romance or public romance, to be exact, is literally everything. Going to cafes for couples, wearing matching outfits, and sharing photos with your partner on social media—such things are incredibly important for Koreans.
- South Korean couples want to look cute but “explicit” behavior isn’t appreciated. Holding hands, hugs, and showing others that you’re in love is common, but other public displays of affection are socially discouraged in South Korea.
- There are a lot of holidays for couples. In South Korea, it’s not just Valentine’s Day, but also Rose day, Kiss day, Green day, and even Silver Day when couples exchange silver accessories. That’s a huge part of local culture and it actually shows how important romantic relationships actually are for Koreans. So, if you’re going to date someone from this country, make sure you won’t miss a romantic holiday.
- Care, support, and tenderness to a partner are the way to express feelings. That’s another crucially important thing—partners can even change their voice when speaking to their soulmates to show how much they care about them.
So, these were the basics of Korean culture. Dating in Korea isn’t always easy but always satisfying, so a lot of people would like to find a date in this particular country. Should you make Korean friends to find love and are there other alternatives? Let’s find out.
Where to meet South Korean singles?
Those who don’t live in South Korea but want to meet and date Korean singles can choose between two main options—search for Korean women or men online or try to find a Korean girlfriend or boyfriend offline. Both options have pros and cons, so consider them before you make a choice.
💬 💑 Online dating in South Korea
Online dating in Korea is pretty common. According to statistics, the number of South Korean online dating users is expected to be over 5.7 million users by 2027, which means everyone has a pretty good chance of meeting Korean girls and guys online. Basically, all the platforms that a foreigner can use to start a romantic relationship with someone from this particular country fall under two main categories:
- Mainstream global dating apps like Tinder or Badoo. Many Korean guys and girls prefer to use such mainstream platforms to meet someone special. Also, there are Korean dating apps like Amanda that are very popular among Millennials and Gen Z. Such platforms usually work great, but there’s one significant drawback—they work perfectly if you’re already in South Korea and are way less effective for foreigners who’d like to find a long-distance partner and then meet in real life.
- Niche dating websites designed to help foreigners find a Korean partner. There are Korean dating sites that accept Korean singles and people who’d like to meet them. Such platforms usually have a lot of special features that help users build a deep emotional connection before they get close enough to each other and start planning a date in real life.
Niche Korean dating sites work better for foreigners—as we’ve noted previously, on global platforms, it’s harder to find someone who’d be interested in starting a relationship with someone living thousands of miles away. In the best-case scenario, you can expect to find only a few dates, so if it doesn’t work for you, you can join one of the best niche sites for foreigners, and here are the top options to choose from.
🍸💑 Offline dating in South Korea
Here’s the most important fact you should know about offline Korean dating culture. A lot of Korean couples meet offline, but they are introduced to their future partners by their friends, and it’s called “소개팅 (sogaeting).” Such matchmaking is absolutely socially accepted, blind dates are very common, and friends who connect singles usually try to ensure that a man will meet the expectations of a Korean girl and vice versa. So, if you want to meet someone in South Korea, just socialize, and make new friends.
Of course, you can still meet someone attractive in public places, and you’re going to get some extra attention as a foreigner, so this can be your advantage. If you are already in the country, just visit as many public places as possible. This can be yoga classes, adult classes, bars, restaurants, gyms, coffee shops, etc.—any place where you can easily start small talk with a stranger will work.
Differences in dating customs between the United States and South Korea
Let’s say a foreigner met a Korean on a blind date or online. What’s going to surprise them? Here are the things that show that Korean dating culture and American dating culture are pretty different:
- The getting–to–know period is much shorter. Locals don’t go to Korean restaurants for weeks and months before they ensure they found the right match. Three dates are usually enough to understand whether they are ready to start a relationship or not.
- Calling and texting are even more important than dates IRL. That’s pretty common for many Asian nations—relationships are about attention, and if one of the partners doesn’t give enough of it, that will cause problems. Korean couples are always in touch throughout the day.
- Couple items are a thing. Various symbols that show everyone you’re in a relationship are incredibly popular—wearing matching rings, T-shirts, etc., is one of the most common dating habits.
- Opposite-sex friendships aren’t appreciated. It’s pretty weird for Koreans to find out that their partner has an opposite-sex friend. Many of them think that’s not appropriate and even unnatural.
- Korean parents can destroy or approve of a relationship. Not only women but also men rely on the opinions of their parents, so if they don’t like you, there’s a big chance a relationship will be over.
As you can see, differences exist, but if you know them, you’ll be ready for surprises and will be able to do everything right to make a good impression.
How to succeed in the South Korean dating scene as a newcomer?
If you’re going to find a date in this country, you should learn a bit more about Korean dating culture. Relationship will start way easier if you consider the following.
- Always dress to impress. Both Korean women and Korean men seriously care about trends and look at large. You won’t succeed if you’re untidy and look like you don’t care about the date with your Korean mate overall.
- Be ready for a roller coaster. If a partner seems to be losing interest in you, it’s not always the case. That’s also part of local dating culture—the push and pull thing is aimed to keep you interested.
- A man pays the first bill. No matter if it’s a blind date or not, a man pays the bill on the first date, but then, most Korean couples start splitting the bills.
- Remind yourself of all the rules of old-school dating. A guy gives flowers and holds the door for a lady, and the lady has to be cute, smiling, a bit shy, and incredibly feminine. That’s just part of etiquette.
- Show your date you want to spend as much time with them as possible. Korean couples are going on dates regularly, and they are supposed to be interesting and romantic—not just a night out at a local bar you go to every Saturday.
As you can see, there’s nothing incredibly complex, but if you’re going to date a Korean, you should follow these rules.
Our editor’s conclusion
“Korean culture is unique, and so is Korean dating culture. It’s absolutely special and different even from Korean-American dating culture, so every foreigner who’s going to date a Korean guy or a Korean girl should do some research and remember all the key rules. Everything from matching outfits to paying the bill on the first date matters, but if you know enough and don’t ignore the local dating customs, you’ll easily win the heart of your perfect Korean match. “