A Look Into South Korean Dating Culture

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Did you know that blind dating is huge in South Korea? Join us for our breakdown of various South Korean dating practices, and we’ll show you how blind dating in Korea is part of the culture. If you want to impress your Korean friends, or if you’re an ex-pat looking for love, it’s fun to learn about some peculiarities of dating in this remarkable country.

Blind Dating Is the Norm

Quite often, studying other cultures can allow us to reconsider our own and broaden our horizons. If you’re tired of swiping left and practicing the same dating tactics over and over again, it may be fun to look into the dating practices in other places. In South Korea, blind dates are the preferred method of meeting someone new. In fact, blind dates are a social rite of passage. 

Usually, people in Korea will find romantic connections, possible relationships, and even marriage via blind dating. 

Overall, there are two main types of blind dates in South Korea. Researching them a little can allow you to reexamine your dating choices. Generally, friends or matchmakers will set people up for a date. What’s more, it’s often impolite to say “no” if someone suggests you go out with their friend or acquaintance.

Blind dates are a big trend on college campuses. In many ways, they are more popular with students than finding connections through Tinder. It’s important to note Confucian cultures did not allow men and women to date freely. In the past, matchmakers were in charge of setting up marriages. Today, it’s common for friends and family to act as matchmakers during blind dates.  

And according to one study, over 70% of South Korean students went on a blind date of some sort. On the other hand, nearly 90% of singles over 30 years old went on blind dates. The trend is also popular in China, while only around 40% of U.S. citizens use this form of dating. 

Types of Blind Dates

As mentioned, there are several types of blind dates in South Korean culture. If you’re interested in knowing what to expect on a blind date in South Korea, you need to get familiar with these date types.

First, “mee-ting” dates are planned without any commitment or expectations. That is most common among college students who want to have a good time. They’re a fun and commitment-free way of meeting new people. Also, this type of dating can encompass group dates with over ten people in themed cafés or bars. 

During a group date, multiple college students can gather at the same time without any expectations of future commitments. These kinds of dates include alcohol and music. Also, the students will play games, sing karaoke, and participate in similar fun activities. If two students express interest in each other, they can share their contact information and get together later.

Moreover, the second dating type is called “sogeting.” Now, we are getting a bit more serious. Mainly, “sogeting” doesn’t involve alcohol and partying. Singles looking for long-term partners are most likely to participate here. Generally, this type of date is arranged by a couple. They bring a friend to meet their acquaintance and match them together. This often occurs in a coffee shop. If the two strangers hit it off, they can get together privately after the meeting. It’s common to visit a restaurant or a movie theater afterward. 

Another type is “bungaeting” or “lightning,” and it refers to online speed dating. There are many different South Korean platforms that allow people to connect to strangers via a phone call or an online chat. Recently, it seems that apps and platforms are changing the blind dating culture in this country. 

Digital Changes

South Korea is among the most heavily digitized countries on the planet, and it’s natural that many developers and companies are trying to cash in on blind dating habits. So what are the biggest apps for blind dating in Korea? 

Firstly, one of the most popular platforms is I-um, and it caters to around a million members who pay an expensive fee to use the app. The app acts as a digital matchmaker and offers daily matches to users. The users can then choose to go on a date with their match. Another popular site is Noondate. This platform has nearly 3.5 million members, with rapidly increasing usage statistics (around 50% each year). The app is unique because it only connects users to one person at 12 AM each day. For college students, Campusting is the most popular choice since it tailors an individual match based on their major, age, class, and other variables. 

Blind Date Etiquette 

When it comes to Korean blind date etiquette, note that South Koreans are not into public displays of affection and things like kissing in front of others or holding hands. PDA is seen as tacky and inappropriate. Also, there is no “three-day rule,” and you should always respond to your date as soon as possible if they contact you. What’s more, it’s not advisable to split the bill. Instead, you can cover one bill for a restaurant, and your date can cover another bill, for example, in a movie theater. Of course, it’s possible to find other ways to date in South Korea. You can find dates in clubs or bars, through language exchange programs, or simply ask someone to go out with you if you meet them on the street. 

Summary

So what do you think? Would you go on a blind date in South Korea, or did this type of dating inspire you to try something new in your home country? Good luck with your next date and have fun!

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