Dating can be hard. Knowing how to greet your date, making sure the conversation doesn’t run dry and choosing the right activity in the first place can be hard enough, let alone all the other smaller details to be considered. In light of this, it may come as no surprise that cultural differences can be a complex factor to add into any dating equation.
For anyone dating abroad, they will understand just how difficult this can be. Knowing how to greet your date, then becomes a more complex question of one kiss on the cheek? Two? A hug? A handshake? All of which might be the cultural norm in certain corners of the globe. And let’s not even get into letting the conversation run dry when we consider language barriers.
Fortunately, many travel sites and dating apps have done the research so you don’t have to. A recent article on Lonely Planet explored dating etiquette from around the world to give us a glimpse of what to expect in foreign countries.
According to the article, European countries such as France prefer an introduction with two kisses on each cheek, while those in Spain, Italy, and Australia opt for a kiss once on each cheek. In Brazil, a greeting with one or two kisses is considered the norm and shaking hands is considered to be very taboo for a first date.
They suggest a hug with those from Germany, Poland, the US or Canada, while individuals from Sweden, Norway, and Denmark prefer a verbal greeting when meeting for the first time. In Russia, it is up to the individual who organised the date to greet the other person, conventionally with a verbal greeting.
In many cultures, alcohol appears to be a popular first date companion. In France, Spain and Russia, it is standard to share a bottle of wine. In Sweden, Poland and Norway, it is more common to order a glass each. Italy, German, Canada and the Netherlands appear to have no set rules, while in the US it is normal to have a beer on a first date.
In fact, new data from Invite and Meet, a matchmaking app where people invite each other to share a real-world activity of mutual interest, using 630 US males and 662 US females, between 18 and 50 years old, revealed that 43% of people opted for going out for drinks as a first date activity. Furthermore, 40% indicated that they would choose wine tasting. We spoke with Stephane Lang-Willar, Co-Founder & CEO of Invite and Meet, to find out why alcohol is universally so popular and what other activities are regarding as popular first dates among American singles.
“Actually, going for drinks for a first date is ranked 7 in our study with an average of 43% of people choosing meeting at a bar as a first date. It is anyway a high number that can be explained two ways. Some people will look at alcohol consumption to disinhibit them while on a first date. Secondly, it gives you or your date a possible exit excuse after each round of drinks,” states Lang-Willar.
“With Invite and Meet people sometimes select a bar, but they also select a diversity of other Date-ideas and actually the number one date choice for women as well as men is to go see a funny movie,” he adds.
Clearly, alcohol has its advantages for calming those first dates nerves, something that has not gone unnoticed by cultures around the world. Nonetheless, it is always a good idea to brush up on cultural norms and traditions before any date, and remember that drinks are just one of the many exciting options to choose when getting to know someone a little better.