top of page

Love, Kimchi, and Soju Shots:
A Foreigner's Guide to Dating in South Korea

korean girl.jpg

Welcome to the whirlwind world of dating in South Korea, where love comes with a side of kimchi and soju-fueled adventures. Whether you're a foreigner seeking romance or already head over heels for a Korean oh-ba or sweetheart, buckle up for a rollercoaster ride through the unique Korean dating culture. In this article, we'll dive into some practical tips to help you navigate the maze of love. Even if you don't plan on dating in Korea. You'll discover facts related to romantic relationships between foreigners and Koreans."  We hope you find them beneficial and interesting:)

1. Dress Code?

korean girl outfit

When it comes to prioritizing appearance, South Korea ranks among the top globally. Men are keen on fitness and grooming, while women embrace makeup and cosmetic enhancements. South Koreans seem particularly fixated on the pursuit of beauty, adhering to a distinct Korean style characterized by simplicity and elegance, which is universally appealing. Their fashion sense is highly influential, offering valuable inspiration. South Korean girls seldom go wrong with their attire, maintaining a consistently high standard.

Matching Couple Outfit

In South Korea, individual style takes a backseat. Now, it's all about coordinating your outfits together and showcasing your status as a couple whenever you step out in public.

For decades, Korean couples have placed great importance on matching attire. Today, this tradition extends beyond just newlyweds, with couples opting to dress alike to signify their union.

For foreigners dating Koreans, it's crucial to ensure that their partners don't have any peculiar fashion tastes lurking in their closets! Let's hope there are no matching hairstyles in the future either.

korean outfits

Let's dive into how they effortlessly exude Korean fashion chic:

Low Saturation Colors: Opt for muted tones and understated hues that complement each other harmoniously, adding depth and sophistication to your look.

 

Emphasis on Accessories: Elevate your ensemble with carefully curated accessories that accentuate your outfit without overwhelming it. Think minimalist jewellery or a statement bag to add flair.

 

Essential Blazers: A well-fitted blazer is a wardrobe staple for both men and women. It adds a touch of refinement and versatility to any outfit, effortlessly transitioning from day to night.

 

Monochromatic Styling: Embrace the simplicity of monochromatic dressing by pairing pieces within the same colour palette. This creates a sleek and cohesive look that exudes effortless sophistication. By incorporating these elements, you can effortlessly channel the essence of South Korean fashion and elevate your style game to new heights!

korean men fasion

2. Love on the Express Lane

korean dating

How Korean Guys Roll!"

Ever felt like love is served faster than a Korean barbecue? In South Korea, the dating game is all about speed! Picture this: a guy catches even a whiff of interest in a girl, and bam! He's already making his move, leaving her thinking, "Well, that escalated quickly!"

Korean guys don't waste time with wishy-washy feelings. Nope, they're more direct than a K-pop dance routine! And forget about group dates – it's all about that one-on-one action. Coffee dates, movie nights, and dinner dates are the norm. If sparks fly and both parties are vibing, they don't hesitate to jump on the relationship train faster than you can say "Kimchi!"So buckle up, because in Korea, love waits for no one – it's LOVE on the express lane!

korean dating

3. "어장관리""Fish Management"

fish management

"Fish Management": Are You the Angler or the Catch?

A Korean friend once joked that the "썸" stage is like managing a fish farm, known as "어장관리" (fish farm management). This concept is similar to keeping "backup" relationships, but instead of maintaining friendships, both parties act like a couple. If someone has multiple ambiguous relationships, it's said that they have many fish in their pond. To keep these relationships alive, they must continually "feed" different fish with ambiguous conversations or dates.  

kakao talk

A KakaoTalk conversation between two in a “sseom” relationship.

Koreans focus on the time interval between messages. Many users deliberately reply late to keep their partners hanging -- and keep the upper hand.

Spend "time" on you

For girls, the goal is to avoid being just one of many fish. How can you tell? Korean girls say the simplest way is to see if the guy is willing to spend "time" on you. If a Korean guy genuinely likes you, he will contact you daily and find time to meet on weekends or holidays without fail. Weekly meetups are the norm if distance isn't an issue. If he frequently says he's too busy or tired, it might be a sign he's not genuinely interested or is seeing others simultaneously.

couples-embracing-near-sea.jpg

4. The Unwritten Rules: Celebrating Every Milestone

couple-embracing-street-man-holds-rose.jpg

One quirky aspect of dating in Korea is the importance of marking your relationship milestones with precision. Thanks to the fast-paced nature of Korean dating, reaching 100 days together is a big deal. Hence, Koreans celebrate 100 days, 200 days, 300 days, 500 days, 1000 days and so on.

 

These celebrations often fall on the guy to plan. Expect flowers, gifts, dinner reservations, and a fully planned date—all expenses likely covered by him. Plus, don't forget the big holidays: International Valentine's Day, White Day, and Christmas!

5. PDA in South Korea?

PDA in Korea vs. the West

In Korean dating, public displays of affection (PDA) are generally more reserved compared to Western norms. Passionate kisses and lingering hugs are considered moments to be shared privately. In Seoul, it's common to see couples holding hands, hugging, and occasionally sharing small pecks. More intimate acts, like squeezing each other’s pimples, are also observed but are less common.

korean-couple-intense-kissing-8rxm2drldl29vm44.jpg

6. Get Ready for Some Serious Couple Cuteness: Nicknames!

Brace yourselves, everyone! The cuteness overload is coming! ❤️

We're looking into the super affectionate nicknames Korean couples use and their meanings!

"Joo Joo" (Piggy) Many Korean couples call each other "my piggy" (우리 돼지). The hidden meaning? "You look so cute when you eat!" This term is both intimate and playful.

 

"Hubby" / "Wifey" It’s common for Korean couples to call each other "hubby" (여보) and "wifey." Hearing Korean girls say "여보" is enough to melt my heart! This term usually indicates a desire to marry, as it’s typically used after marriage.

 

"Dear" / "Darling" Calling each other "dear" (친애하는) keeps the spark alive, reminiscent of the early days of the relationship. It’s super sweet, though a bit cheesy. I think it’s especially charming when a younger guy calls an older girl this—it’s got a unique charm!

"Oppa" (오빠) and "Annie" (언니) are often very dependent on each other, seeing the other as their haven. It’s full of hope for the future. Korean guys calling their girlfriends "누나" (noona) is incredibly charming. Remember GD singing "누나 누나야" to Ji Hyo? 

"Baby" (애기) is quite common. It shows a desire to care for the other person, seeing them as cute and precious. In China, couples often use "宝贝" (baby), which sounds very sweet. But "宝贝儿" might sound a bit off—just my opinion, no offence!

 

"Princess" / "Prince" Apparently, couples who call each other "princess" (공주) and "prince" (왕자) are often very good-looking because this level of cheesiness isn't for everyone. Imagine a couple near you using these terms—it’s a bit cringey, right? But occasionally saying "우리 공주님" (our princess) in Korean can be very endearing and is sure to delight any girl!

 

Enjoy these adorable terms and maybe try them out with your significant other! ❤️

7. Centre of dating: All the Delicious Food!

Budae jjigae

After meeting new Koreans, it's about time for you to think about where to go on a date. Let me tell you now, Koreans LOVE cafes, bars and restaurants.  Whether it’s discovering a hidden gem of a restaurant in the city or exploring a lesser-known part of South Korea, dating while abroad offers the chance to have an amazing time and see the country in unique ways.

Solo dining on Korean BBQ, budae jjigae (army stew), or dak-galbi (spicy stir-fried chicken) is nearly impossible. But when you're dating, these are exactly the dishes you can indulge in with your partner. Nothing beats moving from a simple kimbap roll or a bowl of ramyeon to a steaming pot of spicy, mouth-watering goodness. These meals are truly irresistible. Don't eat too much before meeting up, so you have plenty of room to enjoy a meal together. And if your partner suggests adding cheese or noodles to your dish, you know it’s going to be amazing!

Korean Spicy Fried Chicken.jpg
korean bbq

8. Overcome the language barrier

KPop Fan Club

Dating a Korea could be completely or partially different from your dating experiences in the past and this could bring stress to both of you, especially when you can't understand the Japanese language. Here are the quick guides, I wish you success on the speedrun.

Learn the basics:

Text her in Korean:

Know more about Korea & Korean:

Musician

Don’t try too hard to impress 

You might think the only way to impress a Korean is simply by following the tips above. Sadly, you'll need more to build some chemistry. The process of practising open communication and developing trust requires time and consistent connection. Being yourself and being natural is one of the ways to get a Japanese to like you. Trying too hard to impress her may lead to an uncomfortable experience.

 

Get prepared and be confident!!

Romantic Couple

Now you have the most important things you need to know before dating a Korean! We know this can be intimidating but it is important to remember that they will respect you for trying to communicate with them in their language.

For more help mastering this situation and others, you can book some Korean lessons with one of our teachers. We also run tons of cultural experiences so get ready to immerse yourself in the Eastern world!  

bottom of page