Tuesday, January 21, 2014

To date Korean girls as a Westerner

I've read in other forums and blogs how dating a Korean girl is somewhat tricky in a cultural perspective. This is completely true. But you'd also reckon that it is very easy to date someone if you know your audience well.

For someone who has lived outside of Korea over 20 years, Korean girls might not be my specialty but I love them and they are the only kind I've ever dated. So being sensitive from both the Western and Korean perspective I'd like to share what it's like to date these people. Ofcourse... I will make many generalizations not intended to offend people deliberately so hopefully you would read with consideration.

First of all, like anywhere else in the world you have to accept that there are conservative girls. In Korea however, there are more of these people. But because of the economic boom over the last 20 years Korea has become very unstable in terms of their moral state of mind and their actual lifestyle. Hence they appear very paradoxical. I know you're lost, so let me explain. 

When I lived in America you could tell from what the person is wearing and their actions that they are open-minded and might be willing for a casual fling. In Korea however, it is extremely difficult to tell the difference between a genuinely conservative girl from the open-minded one. Why? Because they are so easily influenced by trends and mass com, in appearance many may portray themselves promiscuous and "appealing" in the standards to media and pop culture but actually inside their heads they have a totally different value system. More simply,  Korean girls can be naive or if we put it in a nicer way, pure. I adore our country, but this one stereotype about many Koreans tending to be deceptive and nothing deeper than surface level really bothers me so I am going to sound harsh in the following paragraph (again not everyone applies here). 

The extremely competitive education system that focuses on memorizing and neglecting the classes with more critical thinking and philosophy is one reason why girls here are so indifferent to our social problems. The second obvious reason is the family structure. Unlike Western countries, many Koreans stay with their families until they get married... Meaning it is common to see people over 30s to stay under one roof with their parents. So all their lives they have been nurtured and taken care of by their parents and this brings a very subconscious presence of immaturity and childlike personality. Lastly, Korea has sadly become a very materialistic country. The culture itself is very competitive and strives for success. In new years, Koreans would encourage each other by saying "may you receive many fortunes this year" (새해 복 많이받으세요) or "hopefully you'll earn a lot of money" (부자 되세요). But on top of that this country is becoming rich! People are not satisfied with GAP. They want Gucci, Luis Vuitton, Armani. they're not satisfied with Hyundai. They want Mercedes, BMW, Audi. Doesn't it sound like the American dream of the 20th century? 

Anyway, these circumstances will push these girls to be influenced by their surroundings instead of unleashing their potential of independence and persona. There's more but today that is not my focus...

Back to the topic... So when you date Korean girls, don't assume right away that this girl is willing to do anything out of wedlock. Their appearance and their real value systems are conflicting! Let me tell you something. The better she's been taken care of by her family and the healthier her family is, the more likely she will hold back and stick with her values. Secondly, if you are a Westerner, the only girls who will be willing to date you are the open-minded girls. No offense, Korean society is still a little sensitive when it comes to interracial marriage, although you can't really tell. The types who are willing go out with Westerners are: 

1) Those who have a taste for the Western culture and seriously want to get out of Korea and hopefully live a happy life with you (most successful couples I've met reside in this category

2) Those who are willing to try something new (curious types, this will be the majority

3) Those who have experience living outside of Korea and are more comfortable hanging out with non-Koreans.

I feel like working as an English teacher or hanging out in 이태원 (Itae Won, where most foreigners hang out in) might really boost your chance in dating a Korean. But again, dating a typical Korean as a Westerner is still quite tricky... Imagine what their parents might say etc etc, it's not as simple as you may think.

Okay, I've talked a lot about the options of girls. The personalities of girls varies, which is another whole topic alone so I'll skip. What about the actual dating? I personally don't think there is that much difference in this area. It's globally all about the same. Movies, restaurants, bowling, ice-skating, I mean you watch romantic comedies right? If there is a difference, I'd say that there are many more options available to you in Korea. I mean many shops, theaters, DVD rooms, Bars, Karaoke, CVC are open 24/7 so you don't really have to worry about time or place.

In conclusion, I just want to say that once you have made sure that this girl is open-minded to date, the next important thing for you to demonstrate is persistence, genuinity, and kindness. I still struggle with this, but Korean girls who are into serious relationships really value these three things. Good luck.


  1. Very interesting post, and nice points you addressed. There was some stuff I wasn't aware of as well, which leads me to say that this was a very eventful post, and a good read. I'll be checking out some other articles as well. When you get a chance, check out my blog Voyagetoasia.com

  2. Is this blog still open?

    Here's my story: I met a very nice Korean girl while on business in Seoul. We agreed to meet up the last night I was there to just hang out. She told me she had a boyfriend living elsewhere and was only searching for a friend. I agreed that we both needed a friend and met up.

    We started the night off by just walking and talking. We even missed a few turns by being so caught up in conversation. We went to a Korean restaurant, ate dinner, and again walked and talked. As the night continued, we stopped at a store for some beer. I told her how I was from Alabama and she giggled at my accent the entire date. Once we stopped to drink the beer and talk, we got deeper into conversation. She started talking about sex and even jokingly teased me by leaning in for a kiss. I invited her to my room, though she declined. She still kept talking about taking a shower, being naked, etc. I tried again with the same answer. I agreed to walk her back to the subway for her to return home.

    Now, I am back in the US and her in Seoul. She now says she wasn't attracted to me, she didn't find our date romantic, but was only comfortable around me. This is the reason she stayed to talk to me for so long. She intrigued me with just conversation more than anyone I've ever met. I don't think I even checked her out. I don't know if I blew it by not being more assertive when she leaned in to kiss me. She now tells me not to speak to her anymore and she will not reply, which she hasn't. Should I continue trying to speak to her or just let it go and move on with my life. It sounds weird, but I fell head over hills for a girl in a matter of hours because she interested me that much. I wanted to know more and more.

    1. A lot of girls (including Korean) look for a thrill. It sounds like the girl was curious and maybe even excited to be with you. If she was in America the story may have been different. However, one of the top priorities for a woman is stability and security. For a Korean woman especially, dating a Western man is out of ordinary and requires some kind of risk-taking courage. Long story short, I think you should just forget her. There are many nice women out there, and from what I know it isn't easy for women to step outside of their box.