If you’re a girl looking for your Korean Mr. Right, you’ve come to the right place. According to a survey about Dating in Korea done by 10 Magazine, 47% of their female correspondents had a Korean significant other. Dating in Korea or dating a Korean man isn’t as hopeless as it sounds. Compared to a very sexless Japan, a foreign woman’s chances of dating a Korean man is quite good. In my experience, Korean guys I meet are more open-minded and have studied abroad thus susceptible to other ideas outside his country.
Here’s your crash course 101 before you go into this guide: dating rules vary from country to country. What works in America or the UK may not work its charm in a foreign land. Koreans can be very much intimidated by English and shy away from girls that know none of their native language. There are some guys who are interested in dating foreigners and others who are only interested in dating Korean women. Men all over the world have different tastes and you should accept dating is going to be a miss and hit.
To compose this guide, I spoke with fellow bloggers, Korean guys, friends who have Korean boyfriends and husbands, and what advice they would give to girls dating in Korea. This guide is to help girls find a good guy (or just get laid if that’s your jam.)
Related: How I Met My Boyfriend
Stereotypes About Foreign Women
Stereotypes are something every foreign woman should be aware of before dating in Korea. You have to know how you’re viewed from the other side. I asked this particular question to Korean guys and got a bunch of different answers. As I said before not all Korean guys are the same. People are people and have different opinions.
- More open-minded about relationships and sex.
- Very expressive about their emotions, opinions, and thoughts.
- Very independent.
- Taller and curvier than Korean girls.
- Immediate thoughts of foreign women usually are blonde hair, blue eyes, white skin and tall.
- They are not interested in making Korean friends or having a Korean boyfriend.
- They will leave him behind for their country someday.
Stereotypes About Korean Men
Korean men aren’t always what you see in the dramas. First, I would like to point out their Korean pronunciation is on point. When I was first learning Korean, I would study my vocabulary and listen for it in the dramas. It’s a great Korean learning tool by the way. Anyway, most men aren’t the assertive, dreamy hunks we see on all the dramas. (Yes, we wish.) Korean guys are normal guys just like any guy in the world. Some stereotypes include:
- They have small penises.
- They’re very handsome and dress to impress.
- He’s a nerd wearing Harry Potter type glasses, thin, squirely, and short.
- Korean men are abusive and hit their girlfriends and wives.
While interviewing other bloggers, Jennifer from Western Girl Eastern Boy brings about some very valid points foreign women should be aware of. She writes:
I think foreign women have a bigger problem to solve than their stereotypes about Korean men: stereotypes about dating in Korea and dating in general.
I know Koreans make dating look easy (How many Korean couples can you count?) as opposed to what many of us deal with at home (wherever home is). But, it’s not, especially if you don’t speak Korean.
I think as girls and women, we can be really selfish, especially when it comes to wanting the Korean guy or any guy, of our dreams.
Don’t lose the battle between expectations and reality, ending up forever alone.
Try something (and someone) new. Chances are good that what (or who) you want is not what (or who) you need. Just don’t get too crazy!
What to Watch Out For
Some Korean men have a fascination with white foreigners. This can be very dangerous and something you need to be aware of. There is a sex culture of wanting to sleep with a foreigner, especially if they don’t look Asian and even more if they’re white. Many Koreans want to experience something different. The more different the better. It’s not so much about a winning personality as it is about looks. The whiter your skin, the more desirable you are. The obsession of white skin is real.
You also need to watch out for if he just wants someone to teach him English. Sometimes Korean men are also aware of passports and want that green card to further their career, job opportunities, aspects in life, etc.
You have to ask yourself very quickly, does he want to sleep with you? Two very common Korean pick up lines are, “Do you want to go to a DVD room?” or “Do you want to eat ramen?” Newsflash, they are not really asking you to watch a movie or eat ramen. 😉 Like anywhere in the world, if a Korean guy you just met asks you immediately if you have a boyfriend or if you’ve ever had sex with a Korean man, cut him off if that’s not what you’re looking for.
Related: Korean Couple Rings
How to Get Korean Guys to Make the First Move
One of the best pieces of advice I got so far is you can get him to make the first move by making eye contact, smiling, or saying hello first. (But isn’t that the same all over the world?) This gives the guy the confidence to go for it and lets him know you’re feeling each other. Basically, make it clear you’re interested.
Should the feeling out start happening, your chances are pretty darn good if he’s eyeing and smiling back at you, but he’s maybe not making the first move because of actual (or imagined) cultural and language barriers. Many Korean guys believe foreign girls don’t know anything about Korean culture—or speak Korean. If you speak basic Korean, your chances of keeping his attention are very high, You need to figure out how to break barriers and figure out how to make the first move without being too aggressive.
If you’re out in public, at a bar, club, etc,, usually Korean guys in groups will have more confidence because they are with their friends. Most of the time you won’t have to worry about them doing anything slick because they won’t want to make an ass out of themselves in front of their friends.
Many Korean men also have the fear of approaching a group of foreign women. I find this correlation in Western culture as well. Think about it, if it’s hard for a guy of your own culture to approach a group of women, how is a guy who isn’t confident in his English going to? Put yourself in his shoes and imagine how he might feel. Make yourself available by showing positive body language and smiling. Or motion to him to come join you!
Where to Meet Korean Fellas
Language Exchange Groups
One of the most popular places to meet guys. These guys are usually open to other ideas, people and cultures. I have a few friends who met their boyfriends by attending those groups. Meet up groups are also very popular. You can type in your interests and find people with similar interests.
Getting Out There
Again, going with the advice of getting out there, some girls have been hit on by going to restaurants they like and got hit on by waiters! Myeongdong is crowded with people shoulder to shoulder. Find a nice cafe (they’re literally everywhere in Korea) and see what happens! It’s not about who you’re paying attention to, but who’s paying attention to you. If you meet someone face to face, you most likely know they’re being sincere. I know this is something some of you may not want to hear, but it’s true. If you sit at home all day, you’re never going to meet anyone, let alone a boy.
Sites like Interpals and popular apps in Korea include: Hello Talk, 1km, OkCupid, and Tinder. Now a days, online dating is becoming less of a stigma than it used to be. Exercise caution when doing so because some people may say, “Let’s do a language exchange” but they really want sex. You have to be strict in what you’re looking for and state your needs right away. I’m told from the grapevine 1km is the number one hook up app in Korea
Mutual Friends or Korean Girlfriends
Another popular way to meet fellas is to have your friends set you up on a blind date. Koreans don’t normally approach people they don’t know but a friend of a friend is not a stranger and easily vouched for. Most times in groups, my friends have met their Korean boyfriend or future husband. Having your Korean girlfriends set you up is the number one best way to find a boyfriend. A lot more Koreans prefer this way because it’s safer and you can also meet men also looking for a relationship.
A meeting is a group blind date. This is where two friends (typically a guy and girl) bring a similar number of friends to hang out and chat with one another. People who hit it off will exchange numbers. It’s also useful to have Korean girlfriends for this.
Church, Work, or School
If you’re religious, try going to a bilingual church. It’s a good setting to grow your faith and meet a boy. If you’re a student doing projects or studying together is a great excuse to invite a Korean guy out. I have a beautiful Brazilian friend who ended up marrying her professor. Anything can happen in social places like these.
After Going Out All Night
After a fun night out at Hongdae’s well-hidden hip hop bars and clubs, the morning streets are a great way to meet young, cute, and carefree Korean guys. They will most likely ask you to get breakfast— be it beer or bossam or beer and ddeokbokki. Take this as a chance to make a great friendship which is the basis for any good relationship.
In Your Home Country
Many girls have met their Korean prince charming in another country. You’ll most likely find a lot of educated, open-minded international students on your campus.
Where to go if you want Korean guys to pick you up
If you’re confident in your Korean ability, go to Korean style bars and clubs, but if you’re not, you’ll usually find Koreans great at English in Western bars and clubs. The first time I came to Korea I had no problem in Hongdae with guys who speak English who hit on my friends and I at the club. If you’re younger into the party scene go to popular college areas like Sinchon, Mapo and Hapjong. If you’re in your late twenties and early thirties go to the more classy areas like Gangnam, Jongno, and Yongdongpo.
Bars and Hofs are also a great place to meet guys if you want a quieter place to talk. If you’re meeting Korean boys in this atmosphere you’re generally going to find guys who want a one night stand with the “exotic.” In most cases these guys aren’t looking for a relationship but just fun.
Another tactic would be to wing woman it out. Send one of your friends to hit on their friends and see if they can bring the two groups together.
Some fellas will make their intentions very clear immediately or by the end of the night. In an example of a typical “hunting,” one guy will talk to a group of women and see if they want to join their group. If the women consent, the groups will drink together, maybe pair off and talk of love motels will surface.
Related: Couple Travel Tips
What Other Bloggers Say
Alice from Kiwi in Korea
Linda from Linda Goes East
Jennifer from Western Girl Eastern Boy
Overall Advice and Tips for Women from Women
The best way to date is to get yourself out there. Not “hunting” for Korean men, but meeting as many people as you possibly can. He may or may not be Korean. You never know who you’ll meet or if he’ll be your forever after.
You should also be aware unless his parents have an open mind or unless it is very serious, there are still a lot of families who don’t want their sons or daughters marrying foreigners. My friend Lisa was in a situation where her boyfriend’s parents had no idea she existed. If you know his parents aren’t open to foreigners, don’t get too attached immediately because it will most likely end in heartbreak.
Be yourself. Don’t try to pretend to be the cool foreigner because it encourages the stereotypes. Don’t think you have to dress in mini skirts and baggy tops because that’s the Korean style. You don’t. I wear combat boots, leather jackets, tight shirts, and ripped jeans.
You also have to understand Korea has a very different culture from many Western countries. He may have a good job, but that means he’s most likely not working from 9-5. Sometimes he will work until 8-10PM weekdays and weekends. You may have to be accommodating with his schedule to spend time together.
Other women say don’t date students because they’re broke and can’t take you on dates either. Most college age students are big on partying anyway.
Don’t think because you don’t have white skin, you’ll never find a Korean boyfriend. This isn’t true. I’m ethnically half Latina and I have a Korean boyfriend. I have foreign friends who are also Asian and Black and have fantastic boos. Don’t listen to the white skin is king stereotypes. Korean men also have different flavors of women they dig.
Living in the Korea can or won’t hinder your ability to date. Just remember, you are dating someone from a different culture. Both of you have to open with your communication and trying new things. You can’t use masked communication or it won’t work.