Are Korean People Friendly? Talking to Strangers in Korea – Seoulistic

Are Korean People Friendly? Talking to Strangers in Korea

If you’re a foreigner in Korea, you’ll definitely stand out, and you’ll have a different experience of talking to strangers than Koreans! Watch this video to see a few different examples of what you might experience if you come to Korea!

Covered in this video:
Talking to strangers as a foreigner
What Korean people feel about talking to strangers (other Koreans)

What’s it like to talk to strangers in your country? Let us know!

Keith Kim is a Korean-American who has been living in Korea for almost a decade. Being in a unique position as both a Korean and a non-Korean, he's put all his experience and knowledge for surviving in Korea in Survival Korean . Read it to learn how you can survive in Korea. Follow him on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.


  1. Rene says:

    Hi, I’m from Malaysia. Well actually Malaysian people are friendly so when it comes to foreigners it’s nothing to us in fact we love to treat foreigners. We, as Malaysian, do know how to speak English, but some of them aren’t that fluent. Besides, in Malaysia there are many ethnics & of course, it means we could speak many languages. I could say that Malaysia people are very friendly since we’ve a lot of foreigners here. Even at my school there were some foreigners that lost & we helped them. It’s actually weird for a 14-year-old girl like me to tell about my country but I found it is good to share.

  2. Anon says:

    Rene, that’s because your country is in Southeast Asia which is a place that knows the value of compassion and friendliness, of welcoming strangers without prejudice and fear. Korea is devoid of that sadly, because they are intuitively wired to be fearful of outsiders and regularly stereotype, assume and sadly have to cohabit in a society run by greed, selfishness and a desire to annihilate the competition because what matters first is “me, myself and I”. So stabbing people in the back and fakeness is very rampant. Younger Koreans are always complaining about the heirarchal system and there is a reason when they go abroad that they never want to come back. I am constantly being reminded by my Korean friends here and back home how lucky I am that in my society we don’t have to deal with this rudeness. Koreans, as friends, on the other hand, are amazing people, very giving and usually quite sane. To strangers, it’s horrible. I have family visiting and I am embarrassed as they are very outgoing and friendly too and will be shocked when they arrive and say good morning to someone, even if it’s in Korean. Korea could learn a lot from other countries about being welcoming. Back where I come from, and ina lot of the countries always say they visit, people stop to ask you where you’re from and if you’re enjoying the country. Here, people don’t want to sit next to foreigners on the train, pretty much run away when you try to ask them for help and look at you strange when you smile or say hello. Hiding behind “cultural differences” is poop. It’s rude here, on the whole.

    • Anon says:

      I would also like to add, being fearful of speaking English is not an excuse also. I have been to many countries where English is not a first language and people still make the effort to help you out. The Japanese will take you down the street to where you need to go to help you, not spit on the floor in front of you and push you out of the way before you can say two words. The Chinese and Vietnamese laugh a lot in embarrassment because they cannot speak English but they invited me into their homes. South Americans let you share family meals and Greek people pour you a glass of something and tell you to sit down next to them, even if they cannot speak a word. Kenyan people have given me their last few coins to help me get on the bus, to which I obviously declined and Egyptian people have shook my hand many times for asking them about where they live. I have experienced kindness from Koreans here, of course. And I am not naive enough to generalise that there aren’t Koreans who know how to be hospitable, but sadly, on the whole, Seoul (particularly, it does get better as you go outside) is a hive of rudeness, ignorance and disrespect, especially towards foreigners.

  3. Justin says:

    From my experience with random korean not in korea though, many do not seem to reciprocate the warmth and friendliness i show. Some of course are better, but from my overall impressions i can say there is some barrier.

  4. Antonio says:

    Koreans have no class and no manners. Needless to say that they are rude, racists, etc. All those Western guys telling us how “beautiful” South Korean girls are, etc., suffer from the illness yellow fever. I don’t find most Korean people “beautiful”. I mean, they must all go to the same cosmetic surgeon as they all look copies of each other. In short, South Korean girls don’t do anything for me as they leave me as cold as ice. Now I do find North Korean girls hot and sexy with brown skin, militay uniforms, pistols, etc. I would not mind a North Korean girl arresting me. South Korean girls look awful with their white cream on. I do not know about you but I like some colour in my life (not the colour of the morgue). All those Western guys living in Seoul are losers and that’s why they live in a country with the air full of pollution, no anti-discrimination laws, etc. I live in Japan because I am treated with respect and the Japanese girls are hot, polite, charming, impeccable manners, lots of fun to be in their company, etc. Why drink water when you can drink champagne? That’s the question

  5. Wyler dela Cruz says:

    Hi! I am a Filipino and thanks to my daughter who is hooked on K-pop and K-Dramas, I am now also watching Korean shows. Just recently I watched Produce 48 till the end ( all my bias are in the 12 finalist ) and watching Korean show has left an impression that they are nice and polite. I don’t know If the show was scripted, but if it was held on other countries it might turnout like the Survivor Series where everyone was working for their own benefit and cutting each other throats out just to secure a place in the finals. There a lot Koreans here in the Philippines but I have never had a chance to talk to one. Foreigners here are very much welcome . We are warm hearted and friendly and we love a good chit chat. I have been to the Middle East UAE, OMAN and Malaysia and never had experienced being rude at. It simply knowing their culture and respecting it. Its like staying in a neighbors house and respecting their rules. I hope in the future I could visit Seoul Korea and enjoy what Korea could bring new to my life.

  6. Wyler dela Cruz says:

    BTW.. All your variety shows are funny.. not in a slapstick way but in a genuine innocence way in reacting to a situation. I find it amusing.

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