Should my Korean Language be Fluent to Date a Korean

Should my Korean Language be Fluent to Date a Korean

KOREAN LANGUAGE WHILE DATING

Sometimes, as fate may have it, the love of your life speaks Korean… and you kind of.. sort of.. don’t. What happens now? Should you take a leap of faith and see if things work out or not even try?

Introduction to Korean Dating Culture

If you have your eyes set on this Oppa that you just met either online or your eyes locked on the subway, and you see a future for both of you, then you’ll need to know about the Korean dating culture before making your move. Unless he makes his move first! In that case, you need this information asap!

 (Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

The Korean dating culture can be a little different from the Western way of dating. In Korea, couples put more importance on contacting each other often and updating each other on what they’re doing, feeling, and experiencing throughout the day. It’s kind of cute if you ask me, but some people can find that overwhelming.

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In Korea, the concept of blind dating is very common. Usually, a friend would introduce you to someone that they know and think is a good fit for you. Then you set up a date and meet at a café or a park and get to know each other. After the date, if he sends you a message asking to meet again, it’s a green light. If your phone’s been quiet all night and still quiet the next morning… that’s okay… there’s plenty of kimchi in the freezer, as they say. It’s quite seldom that strangers would meet at a coffee shop and fall in love.

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Once you meet a couple of times and conversation is just flowing, sparks are flying, then there’s a confession coming soon! You can make that move first if you like. It’s where you finally confess your feelings and make it official. If your relationship has gotten to this point, congratulations on finding love!

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Now you can get each other couple rings and couple outfits which is a popular way of expressing how much you like each other. Whenever you’re apart, it’s important to text each other often, especially in the morning, during breakfast, during lunch, during dinner, and just before bed. It’s really about sharing the trivial things in life that make you feel closer to each other.

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As things get more serious between you two, the topic of parents may come up. In Western culture, it’s less of a big deal meeting the parents, but in Korea, it’s often said that if you meet the parents, things are really serious between you two... marriage-level serious. So be cautious about bringing the topic up if you’re not ready.

Should your Korean be fluent to date a Korean?

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When dating a Korean, one thing you may be most worried about is the language barrier. If he can speak fluent English, the problem is solved. But if he can only speak Korean and you can only speak English with a dash of Korean, then this might seem like quite the barrier to overcome.

A common experience for international couples who don’t speak each other’s language is miscommunication. You might end up using phrases that have negative connotations in Korean and now you have no idea why he’s in a bad mood. Or he might say something to you that’s offensive and now you don’t want to speak to him for 3 days. You might say, let’s meet at 9 pm, but what he heard was 9 am. It’s small things like these that can add stress to the relationship. This is where that patience and tolerance play a big part in keeping the peace.

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Then you get to the social part of dating. It’s always daunting meeting your boyfriend’s family and friends, and this can be doubly daunting if you don’t know how you’re going to communicate with them. It helps when you can score some brownie points with people that he cares about, and this can be difficult if you’re not fluent in Korean. But there are always two sides to any situation. The amazing thing about people is they can sense your sincerity without having to say much. It’s going to be a lot of body language and facial expressions, but you can get the message across that you want to get along well with them.

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Now one situation that may affect the dynamics of your dating is the shared experiences that come from speaking the same language. It may be difficult to watch his favorite Entertainment shows or movies together if there are no subtitles available. You can’t listen and appreciate the depth of Korean ballads or laugh at the same jokes if you don’t understand what they mean.

What happens when you’ve been together long enough, is you start understanding each other without needing to say actual words. You express yourself more with actions like a reliable squeeze of his hand or a warm cuddle when you’re feeling down, and sometimes, that’s all you needed. He starts understanding how you feel and what makes you frustrated or angry.

As your love grows, there’s more compassion and patience for each other. And as you’re making a little more effort to understand each other, your Korean gets better in the process and the language barrier doesn’t seem like something that will stop you from seeing each other anymore. Sure, being fluent helps speed up the process of feeling closer to each other because you can communicate exactly how you feel, but it’s not that you have to speak Korean fluently to have a successful relationship.

Why it doesn’t matter?

It’s becoming more of a global society. We’re seeing international relationships more commonly and there are countless examples of international couples who’ve made it work and have been together for 5 to 10+ years. The truth is, if you’re sincere about each other, you’ll find a way to be together. Any relationship is work in general.

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You’re introducing someone new into your life and space and that can take some figuring out together. Now add the cultural and language barrier, and it can feel stressful to try and not step on each other’s toes. It may hard at first to share exactly how you feel and sometimes your words might be misunderstood. The Korean language can always be learned, so that should never stop you from opening up your heart to someone new.

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

(Image: Credits to the rightful owner)

Author: SUJI SOHN

About the author: Suji was studying in London in the year 2019 and, although being separated from her family, her passion for Korea was growing. She noticed that a lot of her close friends loved Korean culture, food, music, and dramas and gradually started to fall in love with Korea, but there weren't many opportunities to actually "experience" this wonderful nation!

Suji was aware of what she needed to do to introduce Korea to her friends' lives and, conceivably, to those of everyone else who was curious about a piece of Daehan Min-guk.

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