Dating in Korea for Foreigners

Dating in South Korea can be difficult for foreigners as Koreans have their dating etiquette, manners, and activities. South Korea has a very unique dating culture that should be understood before dating a Korean person to make sure everything goes smoothly. Through this article, I will provide some tips for foreigners dating in Korea. I’ve also attached my YouTube video below as well. I have primarily used Tinder, but South Korea has other dating apps you can check out here. I have used Tinder in Korea for a year now, and I have picked up many things about the culture of dating in Korea and even some of the lingo. Just to be clear, these tips are 100% based on my experience, and everyone has a different experience when they come here. There is no way to generalize an entire country. 

Dutch Pay is Different in Korea 

Dutch pay is a little bit different in Korea. Back home in North America, Dutch pay usually means the bill gets split in half. For example, if you go to dinner, the bill will be split, and afterward, if you go see a movie, the tickets will be split, and so on. In Korea, this style of Dutch pay does not happen as frequently.

Usually, Dutch pay in Korea means that in the first place you go, one person will pay, then the other will pay in the second place. Or it could even be that one person pays for the whole date, and on the second date, the other person will pay for the whole date. Oftentimes when I offer to pay for the meal on a first date or pay half in Korea, I will get shut down. So what usually happens with me is that I offer to pay for the last part of the evening, which could be coffee or dessert. 

Sharing Food is normal in Korea

Dating in Korea

If you go out to dinner in Korea, there is a good chance you will end up sharing your food. Sometimes you will be forced to share many dishes in Korea that are meant for sharing. This is especially true for desserts. The most popular Korean dessert is Bingsu. It is made from finely shaved ice with condensed milk, red bean, and a variety of toppings which might include rice cake, cereal flakes, ice cream, fruit cocktails, and more. Bingsu is very popular during the summer months and is always shared. 

Dates in Korea are Long 

If you are going on a date in Korea, you need to be prepared to be out for at least half a day (6 hours). A typical date involves eating something, maybe doing some activity, and eating/drinking more. Here is a typical breakdown: 

  • Meet around 6 pm for dinner
  • Go see a movie or do an activity like bowling at 8 pm
  • Check out a bar/club at 11 pm
  • Go to another venue for food and drinks at 1 am

Group Blind Dates in Korea 

There is something in Korea called group blind dates. Usually, this involves you and two friends getting matched up by a friend to go out with around three guys. Therefore, a group blind date typically will have three girls and three guys. So you eat and drink together and naturally couple off if anyone is interested. However, I have never experienced this personally. A friend of mine told me that a guy might be interested in a girl; however, the girl might want to bring 2 of her friends out and ask the guy to bring two of his friends out for a group date. Therefore, technically it is not a complete blind date as 2 of the group members have already met. 

Know your Blood Type 

In North America, it might be common to ask about your age or height. However, in Korea, many Koreans might ask you about your Blood Type. This is because some Koreans believe each blood type has its unique predictive personality and temperament. There are 4 Blood Types (A, B, AB, and O). It might be useful for you to get familiar with the personalities of these blood types according to the Korean blood type personality chart

Being in a “Some” relationship 

In Korea, there is a concept or relationship you can be in with someone called “Some.” In Korea, they have created a sort of in-between thing that is not dating, not friendship, and also not in a relationship. They call this concept “Some,” which comes from the word “something.” Therefore, there is something there. You’re not casually dating, but you’re also not boyfriend and girlfriend. You’re…” Some.” I’ve been introduced as being in a “Some” before.

So I saw a guy, and we went out and met some of his friends. I didn’t speak Korean, and his friends didn’t speak much English, so when he left to go smoke, they started a conversation with me, and one of them asked if he was my boyfriend. At that moment, I didn’t think to use the word “Some,” so I just said he was my friend. This was the wrong thing to say because I didn’t know how to say that we were friends but dating but also not in a relationship. Well, there is a perfect word for this, and that word is “Some.” So when he came back into the room after he smoked, his friends called him out on it because he told his friends before the meetup that I was his “Some.”

Lesson learned… if you are in a “Some,” you do not want to refer to that person as your friend. 

Most Korean Guys will Escort you home. 

While dating Korean guys, I’ve noticed that most would return to my station at the end of the date. This made this strange because I did not live close by. What was even stranger was that they would walk me to the door of my apartment. The first time I was super nervous because I didn’t know how to tell him that he was not coming over…the date was over…I’m going home…nothing else is going to happen. However, as soon as we got to our door, he said goodbye and left. So he genuinely wanted to see me at my door. It was the most stressful elevator ride of my life, but in the end, everything turned out alright. He just wanted to make sure I was taken home safely.

Koreans Love to Text 

I am notorious for not being a good texter. Everyone that knows me knows that I do not respond to texts promptly. Even when it comes to my family, I’m terrible at texting back. However, while dating in Korea, I had to change that behavior. This is because Koreans text a lot. There have been times when I did not reply or read a message but didn’t get a chance to reply, I would get a text message asking if something was wrong. So I have learned from my mistakes, and I now reply to every message I read, or I just don’t read it because if you don’t read it, it’s fine. After all, that way, they will know you are busy. However, if you read it, you should probably reply; otherwise, they will get concerned for your safety. 

Couple Matching is a Thing 

After dating in Korea for some time, you will hopefully end up in a relationship. My last two tips involve something couples in Korea do. Most might have noticed couples in Korea in matching outfits. This is especially common for young couples in Korea. However, couple matching does not have to involve just clothes. Couples can match phone cases and even jewelry. 

Remember all important Anniversaries/Special Holidays. 

Dating in Korea for Foreigners can be tough, especially when you have to remember every anniversary/special holiday. Moreover, this leads us to the 100-day anniversary couple rings. While you can get “couple rings” at any time, most couples in Korea get them at the 100-day mark. In Korea, being in a relationship for 100 days means you can commit. Therefore, to show your commitment, you get “couple rings.” So if you have been in a relationship for 100 days or more, there is a high likelihood he/she will suggest you get a “couple ring.” The proper way to wear them is on your left ring finger.

While the 100-day mark in a relationship is important in Korea, the 200th, 300th, 500th, and 1,000th are also important and celebrated. Add this to your first date and special holidays such as Valentine’s Day and White Day, and you have a lot of dates to remember. White Day is a holiday in Korea for couples. On White Day, the guy buys a gift for the girl; on Valentine’s Day in Korea, the girl buys a gift for the guy. With so many dates to remember, this is where your smartphone comes in handy. Add these important dates to your calendar if you see potential with someone.

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