KOREAN DATING CULTURE
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Love is an important aspect of life in Korea, as it is in many cultures around the world. Romantic relationships are valued and people often spend a lot of time and effort finding a suitable partner. Family and relationships are also highly valued in Korean culture, and people often prioritize the needs and happiness of their loved ones over their own. Love and affection are often expressed through acts of service and gift-giving, and couples often celebrate anniversaries and other special occasions with romantic gestures.
It is not uncommon for Koreans to give small gifts to their romantic partners during a date. This can be a way to show affection and can be a thoughtful gesture. Popular gifts to give on a date include flowers, chocolates, small trinkets, and Korean snack boxes. It is also common to give a gift that relates to a shared interest or activity that you did together. However, giving gifts during the early stages of dating is not a strict custom, and it depends on the couple's preference. It is more common to give gifts as the relationship progresses and becomes more serious.
In Korea, dating culture has unique characteristics that are different from other countries. Here are some things to keep in mind when dating someone in Korea:
- Couples tend to quickly declare themselves as boyfriend and girlfriend after only a few dates.
- Matching outfits and accessories, such as rings, are popular among Korean couples as a sign of their commitment.
- Anniversaries are celebrated frequently, usually in 100-day increments starting from the first day of the relationship.
- Couples often engage in cute and romantic gestures, such as taking pictures together, buying each other candy, or going to pink cafes, which is known as "Aegyo (애교)".
- When eating out, it's common for restaurants to serve dishes meant for two people and some may not even allow single diners.
- Gift-giving is an important aspect of the relationship and couples often surprise each other with small gifts such as flowers, chocolates, and cute trinkets.
- Couples stay in touch constantly through phone or text messaging, as WiFi and data are widely available in South Korea.
Korean Dating 101
The dating scene in Korea has its unique customs and protocols that may be unfamiliar to those from non-Asian backgrounds. To ensure a successful date, it's important to familiarize oneself with the particular idiosyncrasies of the Korean dating culture. Before asking someone out, it is beneficial to have a good understanding of the dynamics involved in dating in Korea once you have a good command of the language.
The ways of meeting potential partners in Korea are similar to those in other countries. It's possible to date a classmate, co-worker, friend, or even a stranger you happen to meet at the mall. However, one popular method in Korea is through "소개팅" or blind dates set up by friends. This is a common practice in Korean dating culture because it allows individuals to have a mutual acquaintance who can vouch for them and make them feel more comfortable meeting each other. However, it's important to note that this method doesn't guarantee compatibility, and your friend may not always consider that when setting you up. But, if you're open to new opportunities, it may be worth a try.
Paying the Bill
While customs may be changing, particularly among younger Koreans, it is still generally expected that the man will pay on the first date and possibly even in the early stages of the relationship. As the relationship progresses, the practice of splitting the bill becomes more common. Some couples may also establish an alternating payment system, where the man pays on the first round and the woman on the second, and so on. Additionally, more and more younger generations tend to split the bill right from the start.
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Affection in Public
Public displays of affection (PDA) are common among Korean couples. While more intimate physical contact is typically kept private, holding hands, a peck on the cheek or a kiss in public is considered normal in Korean dating culture. The level of PDA that is considered acceptable in South Korea may be higher compared to cultures like Europe or America, as Korean couples are more inclined to express their affection for each other in public.
The "three-day rule" popular in Western cultures, where it's considered appropriate to wait three days after a first date to contact someone, does not apply in Korea. In fact, not contacting someone immediately after the first date may be seen as a sign of disinterest. Koreans tend to communicate with their romantic partners more frequently than in other cultures, and it's important to show that you care by asking about their day and sending cute messages.
However, it's important to note that just because someone doesn't contact you as often, it doesn't necessarily mean they're not interested. Some people may simply not like spending much time on the phone. Additionally, If you notice a decrease in the frequency of communication, it may mean that the person is losing interest but doesn't know how to tell you. This is common in Korea and some people may choose to "ghost" someone if they lose interest, although it's not well received.
In addition to Valentine's Day, which is celebrated similarly to Western cultures, Korea has many other holidays that are dedicated to celebrating romantic relationships. Some of these holidays include White Day, Pepero Day, and Christmas. Additionally, the 14th day of each month is also set aside as a mini-holiday for couples, with each month having a specific theme. Some examples of these holidays include:
- Diary Day (January 14): Couples exchange diaries and plan events together.
- Valentine's Day (February 14): Similar to Western cultures, only women give men gifts.
- White Day (March 14): Men give gifts to women on this holiday.
- Black Day (April 14): A holiday for single people who didn't receive gifts on Valentine's Day or White Day.
- Rose Day (May 14): Couples exchange roses.
- Kiss Day (June 14): Couples kiss on this day.
- Silver Day (July 14): Couples exchange silver accessories.
- Green Day (August 14): Couples go on picnics and drink soju together.
- Photo Day (September 14): Couples take pictures together.
- Wine Day (October 14): Couples drink wine together.
- Pepero Day (November 11): Giving a box of Pepero sticks to love interests is traditional on this romantic holiday.
- Movie Day (November 14): Couples go to the movies together.
- Hug Day (December 14): Couples hug on this day. It's worth mentioning that finding seats in the theaters on these holidays may be difficult.
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