Dating-related fatigue and frustration are common among single-but-trying-to-mingle people. And with certain aggravating dating trends becoming increasingly common — like "benching" and "stashing" — it's not hard to imagine why. If that's the case for you, you may want to take some dating tips from other countries. Maybe, you'll find that the laid-back dating style of people in Sweden or the structured dating rules of Japan jive more with your expectations.
Obviously, there is no way to accurately describe the experiences of every single person who has ever been on a date in any country, so these are all generalizations. All the same, they can help paint a picture of the overall idea of what you might expect should you go on a date during your next global adventure. Here's what dating is like (for the most part) in 20 different countries around the world.
1. Dating in the United States is usually casual.
People in America tend to meet potential romantic partners by one of three ways — at a bar, through friends, or from an app, according to a Reddit thread on the subject. First dates are often casual (meeting at a bar or coffee shop are some of the most popular options) and get more formal, adding dinner and events into the mix, as time goes on. Dating is also often low-commitment in the states — it's more common, especially in one's early 20s, to be dating just for fun than it is to be dating with the intention to get married ASAP.
2. In China, dating schools for men are a rising trend.
China has a hefty gender imbalance — in 2016, there were 33.6 million more men than women in the country — which, unsurprisingly, takes a toll on men who seek out relationships. Because of this, "dating schools" for men who have never been in a romantic relationship have begun to crop up in China, according to the New York Times. Speed dating events for single men and women in their late 20s and early 30s (who are generally thought of as being "leftovers" in Chinese culture) have also become common. But not everyone needs such practices. According to Quora forum, if a person is single and has a "good job," older people in your life will set you up on blind dates.
3. Dates in the UK will probably be at a pub.
Dating in the UK is fairly similar to dating in the US — with a few major differences. In general, Brits rely more on to get through dates, have more relaxed and low-key dates, and have fewer qualms about sleeping with someone early on into the relationship, as INSIDER previously reported.
4. In Japan, group dates are very common.
When a person enters the dating scene in Japan, it is understood that the ultimate goal for everyone involved is marriage, according to Quora.Some people go about this is by partaking in goukon, or a small singles gathering, as INSIDER previously reported. Goukons occur when one person invites a few of their single friends out, and another person invites a few of theirs. Then, the group will meet at a restaurant or pub and have dinner. If everything goes smoothly, they might go to a bar or karaoke after dinner, and, if that goes well, the couples that hit it off will exchange numbers.
5. People in France don't technically have a word for dating.
Dating in France is, perhaps unsurprisingly, much more laid-back than it is in many other countries. It is so laid-back that, as INSIDER previously reported, the French don't even have a word for "date" — instead, they prefer to say something like "I'm seeing someone." French people also manage to avoid the dreaded talk in which a couple has to "define" the relationship — AKA decide if they are exclusive. For the French, the mere act of going on dates (or, rather, "seeing someone") generally means that you're committed to someone.
6. Meeting your partner's family in Spain is a big deal.
Much like the French, people in Spain don't really date. According to Living Language, there isn't even a word for the act of dating — the closest equivalent is the verb salir con alguien, which means "to go out with someone." Most Spaniards live with their parents until marriage, but don't expect to meet their family right away — this is something that they wait to do until things are serious. But, when you do meet their family, you can expect to meet the whole family.
7. Dating in Sweden revolves around a lot of casual coffee dates.
If you're looking to move to Sweden specifically to find love, you may want to reconsider. According to BBC, Sweden is one of the hardest places to find a romantic partner because of the country's many cultural norms, such as affordable single living homes and a general spirit of independence, that seem to promote staying single. That said, dating in Sweden isn't impossible. It does, however, have different rules than other countries. According to The Local, the best way to be successful at dating in Sweden is to keep it casual — don't call anything you do a "date" (Swedes apparently prefer simple coffee outings to dinners and movies) and start and end the hangout with a hug, not a kiss.
Oh, and if you're getting a "fika" (which is Swedish for coffee) with someone, you shouldn't get it with anyone else. Once you start dating someone in Sweden, no matter how casual it feels, it's assumed that you are exclusive.
8. Couples in Mexico tend to engage in a decent amount of PDA.
According to Our Everyday Life, people in Mexico tend to stick to more traditional gender roles which, for people in relationships, is reflected in their dating life. Men make the first move, men pay for the women on dates, and men make the followups to ensure that there will be more dates. Mexicans are also more affectionate and prone to PDA than some other countries, which means that it's not uncommon to see couples kissing and holding hands in public.
9. It's easier to ask people out in the United Arab Emirates because many are foreigners.
Public displays of affection and premarital s-x are technically illegal in the UAE, according to the Birmingham Mail, which definitely has an effect on dating culture. But that doesn't mean dating doesn't happen — according to one expat's account in the Telegraph, living in Dubai can feel like a college freshman orientation. A large portion of the city's population are foreigners — 85%, to be exact — so it's expected that most people are new to Dubai. This means that it's easy to strike up a conversation with anyone, and, subsequently, ask them out. (According to this particular expat, men almost always do the asking and the paying.) Dates will usually be at a bar, movie theater, or, if you're lucky, an indoor skiing arena.
10. Dating in Australia doesn't have many rules, but that doesn't mean that anything goes.
According to Insider Guides, dating in Australia doesn't have a ton of rules. Pick-up culture isn't big, so most people meet through mutual friends, school, or work, and start a relationship only after hanging out with one another in big groups. Official dates, then, may not happen until two people have been seeing each other for some time, which means that deciding where to go on a first date is less of an issue in Australia than it may be in some other places.
11. Dating in India is more conservative than many other countries.
Dating in India is more conservative than it might be in some other countries, especially because arranged marriages are still common for some couples. This means one's family has a large influence on who a person might date from the start. In a Quora forum on the topic, one Indian said that casual s-x is almost unheard of and getting in a relationship means that there is an "intent to marry."
Since marriage is the goal of most people in a relationship, it tends to happen quicker, sometimes within a few months or a year of a couple meeting. Despite the relative conservatism of Indian dating, there is evidence that things are changing for some couples — according to the Guardian, Tinder is growing in popularity among 20-somethings in India.
12. Relationships in Italy are heavy on the romance.
Romance plays a large role in Italian dating, but it's essential to resist the urge to get too weak-kneed around just anyone. As Ilaria Perrone, an Italian columnist, said in an interview with The Cut that, "Italian men are romantic, but they are also liars." S-x is also more casual in Italy than in some other countries. According to Perrone, often happens before an official date, and , which is generally less of a big deal than penetrative in the US, is only done when the relationship gets more serious.
13. In Brazil, casual dating turns into relationships quickly.
According to Living Like A Local, people in Brazil like to make things official quickly — if you've been on a few dates with someone, you can expect to have a relationship talk with them sooner rather than later. According to one writer, she and her ex-boyfriend only waited about 10 days after they met before deciding to make their relationship official. (And that was slow — he waited that long, apparently, because she was an American and might not be accustomed to the typical quick relationship turnaround in Brazil.)
14. Dating in Russia relies heavily upon the concept of male chivalry.
According to Mezzofanti Guild, dating in Russia has a strong focus on male chivalry — which, for women who are trying to date men, can have both negative and positive consequences. Men will almost always hold doors open for women and help them off of trains and buses (which is especially helpful for expats who aren't used to Russian snow and ice), but women are also expected to spend a significant amount of time on their appearance and to fill traditionally "feminine" roles like cooking and cleaning for their partner.
15. Weddings and singles mixers are some of the best places to find a partner in Nigeria.
Tinder is not the place to go to find a serious relationship in Nigeria, according to The Economist. On the app, it's more common to find already-married men or women who are openly looking for sugar daddies than people who are actively looking to date. So, to find partners, some singles will attend singles mixers at churches or mosques, or, for a more secular approach, survey the crowd at weddings.
16. If you live in South Africa, your married friends will make a lot of attempts to set you up on dates.
Dating in South Africa isn't too different from dating in the United States. Men usually pay for the first date, married people like to set their single friends up, but meeting significant others through apps like Tinder and OKCupid has become increasingly common, according to TimesLIVE of South Africa.
17. The concept of courtship is important for dating in the Philippines — but maybe not for long.
According to a Reddit thread on dating in different countries, dating in the Philippines resembles traditional courtship. In the Philippines, there is a custom called "ligaw" in which it is one person's job (traditionally a man pursuing a woman, though it can also apply to same-relationships) to show the person they wish to date that they care about them through certain romantic acts like sending love letters. This isn't always the case, however — as is true of many different countries around the world, hookup culture in the Philippines has become increasingly popular in recent years.
18. A vibrant expat culture in Singapore means that there are always new people to meet.
Dating in Singapore is similar, in many ways, to dating in the United States — most people meet through apps or at bars, and a vibrant expat culture means that there are always new and exciting people to meet. But, perhaps due to the transient nature of the country, many Singaporeans have difficulty finding lasting relationships, according to SG magazine. This may be due to the fact that Singapore is significantly more expensive than other countries, which means that many non-expat singles still live with their parents, making dating difficult.
19. PDA is standard in Argentina.
Dating in Argentina can be high-drama, according to the Telegraph. Dinner typically isn't until around 10 p.m., so all dates start late at night, go until the early hours of the morning, and PDA is standard. Family is also important in Argentinian culture, so most Argentinians live with their folks until they get married. This means that many young couples check into "telos" (pay-per-hour hotels) if they want to get romantic without having parents and siblings close by.
20. The topic of marriage comes up quickly in Ugandan relationships.
According to the Telegraph, one of the most common questions to ask someone on a first date (or, possibly, when asking someone out on a date) in Uganda is whether or not they have had kids. Then, depending on the answer, the topic of marriage may or may not come up. But even if someone makes a marriage proposal, it isn't meant to be taken seriously — rather, it indicates that marriage is something that is on a lot of people's minds people's minds most of the time.
This is how people reacted to this post:
H.m - what dating is like in my traditional South Asian family: nothing bc we gon’ get an ass whooping for tryin anything besides an arranged marriage
Dainel - Awesome idea. A bit difficult to base it on one person to talk about the dating scene though.. as it does tend to differ and it would have been nice to see more countries represented. Ex. France has no 'dating' in their vocabulary. But overall, interesting to hear the different perspectives!
Anna - as a brazillian girl i'll tell you, don't marry a brazillian guy unless you know his mother and you're aware that he 'helps' her around the house, if he doesn't RUN cause he'll treat you like a mother
R E A - In Slovenia, we usually don't even call it a date, it is more like going out in the evening and grabbing a coffee or tea and later having a walk around the city. A lot of talking is involved and based on the conversation and chemistry is how we decide whether there will be another date or not. :)
This Article Was First Published on insider.com