Dating can be difficult sometimes. Meeting the expectations of your significant other may not always be easy. But add on top of that cultural differences and you got a whole new pandora’s box. Read on to see what to expect if you want to date in Korea!
1. How to Meet Korean Singles
Meeting singles in any country can be a daunting task. That’s why in Korea, most of cupid’s work is done through friends. Instead of leaving things up to chance encounters (which can result in murderous strangers), Koreans prefer potential mates to have a reference to make sure both of you will be (to some degree) a match. Having that friend as a buffer will make sure he/she isn’t some crazy drunk that’ll come banging on your door at 3AM. Blind dates in Korea are extremely common and one of the most common ways to meet people in a relatively ‘safe’ way.
Note: Of course, this is not the only way Koreans meet potential baby mamas and daddys. People meet at schools, work, random encounters on the streets, etc. But sogaeting is one of the most preferred ways to meet other singles.
There’s even a few other “types” of blind dates, but those are specifically for different purposes:
미팅 (meeting) – A group blind date, mostly for young college students. A group of guy friends will meet a group of girl friends to hangout and have a good time.
선 (seon) – A blind date arranged by parents. This is a very serious date, where both parties have expectations of marriage right from the beginning (including/especially parents).
Here’s our video on “How to Meet Korean Singles”:
2. Public Displays of Affection (PDA)
Public displays of affection in Korea isn’t as open as it may be in other parts of the world. Although the younger generation’s mentality is undergoing a change, many Koreans are still not open to kissing in public. Simple pecks might be tolerable to some, but most Koreans will refuse to be seen in public participating in one of those movie-style open mouth kisses. Even something as simple as hugging significant others may be a bit more awkward than what you’re used to. You might be told to chill out if you’re being too affectionately touchy on a Seoul subway. Holding hands and linking arms, however, are quite common.
Want to read more about hugs in Korea? See your homie’s personal blog about Hugging in Korea.
3. Splitting the Bill
If you’re hanging out with Koreans, you might want to split the bill the Korean way. That’s when one person pays for the bill and another person will pay for the next round. Some contemporary Koreans prefer to split the bill evenly, and that’s cool if you’re friends and all. But if you’re dating in Korea, that’s kind of a big nono (probably related to that complicated concept of jeong). When going to a restaurant, cafe, movie theater, or ice cream shop, it’s common practice for 1 person to pay at each of those stops. Now, who pays for what is up to debate for all couples around Korea. Some old school Korean dudes pay for everything, but recently, many Korean women have been offering their share, too. So it really depends on the person.
4. Lots of Couple-y Stuff
Couple culture is huge in Korea, and if you’re here with your Korean shorty, you’ll have the chance to enjoy all the perks of being part of a couple in Korea. To the dismay of lonely single people in Korea, couple shirts are all the rage and are very visible anywhere you go. It’s a clear declaration to the world to say “You’re MINE” (optional addition: “MUHAHA”). You might get a couple ring for your 100 Day Anniversary (see below), to declare your love in ring form. Being a couple can be a highly public affair. With that said, that’s the highly visible side of dating in Korea. There are many people in Korea that aren’t fans of being over-the-top couple-y, and refuse to get couple shirts and rings. Yea, it’s a little too much for some Koreans too
See this Korea Q&A about why Koreans wear couple shirts!
5. Celebrating Every 100 Days
People around the world celebrate yearly anniversaries; really lovey-dovey couples celebrate monthly anniversaries; and unhealthily obsessed teenagers celebrate even more often. But in Korea, it’s a little bit different. Of course the big yearly milestones are celebrated just the same. But instead of counting months, the Korean equivalents to the lovey-dovey couples that celebrate monthly will instead celebrate anniversaires in denominations of 100 days (i.e. 100, 200, 300, 500, 1000). It’s more common for younger and more affectionate couples to celebrate this way, so not everyone pays attention to this. But this is definitely a Korean way to celebrate being in love.
Note: Before you bust out your calendar to start counting each day, just use the 100 day calculator on Naver!
Keith Kim is a Korean-American living in Seoul, Korea. He likes espresso shots, photography art and he loves his Playstation 3. He started seoulistic.com as a hobby site, and is now in the process of turning it into a full-time business. Wish him luck! Check out his blog for an uncensored view on entrepreneurship, dating and life in Korea. Personal Blog: gyopokeith.com Facebook: facebook.com/gyopokeithkim Twitter: @gyopokeith Youtube: "Gyopokeith e-mail me anytime at: gyopokeith [at] gmail.com