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Dating differences between the US and the UK

Dating differences between the US and the UK

Is dating different for the Yanks and the Brits? What are some of the dating differences between the two countries?

All around the world, people from different cultures take part in the ritual called dating. Each culture naturally does it a little differently. But what about the USA and the UK?

Even though both share the same language, there exist lots of cultural differences, which range from the types of food they eat (fast food vs. pub food) to the sports they love (oval-shaped football vs. round-shaped football) and even differences in vocabulary.

And when it comes to dating? Are the two countries more alike than different? What are the differences in the dating culture between the US and the UK?

Asking someone out

Before you can be “dating someone”, you have to ask someone out first. Here, Americans like to stay with the classic approach. The usual route is to ask someone out for a cup of coffee or a drink or even dinner. However, the British are more likely to ask someone to do something in a group setting first as opposed to doing something one-on-one.

The first real date

When it comes to the first date, Americans are more ritualistic here than their colonial cousins. For example, a guy would pick his date up at her apartment with flowers or a bottle of wine before going out on the first date. And American women might even have some certain rules pertaining to the first date like no kissing!

In this regard, the British are much more laid back. They take a more of a go-with-the-flow attitude than anything else. If the date is going well, there is no reason to put any restrictions on the evening.

Long term dating

If the first date goes well, then maybe there might be a second, third, etc and then one can proudly say “we are dating”. But what does that entail? Here, there is also a difference between the two cultures.

For Americans, “dating” and “in a relationship” are two different things. Dating is two people agreeing to go out and have fun. “In a relationship” is when things start to get serious. And there is no time limit on “dating”. Sometimes, two people can go from the first date directly into a relationship, and, sometimes, it is even not uncommon for two people to be dating for years. It is also not unheard of for some people to be dating more than one person at a time.

For the British, the line between “dating” and “in a relationship” is not so cut and dry. There is much more of a gray area. Here they rely much more on their feelings to decide when to proclaim that they are “in a relationship” with someone.

Overall difference

Well, in the end, there really isn't a whole lotta difference between the two cultures. Both are really about putting yourself out there, working up the courage to make the first move and see where it goes.

The best thing that we can learn from both cultures is that finding a partner is not that easy for everyone and sometimes it does take some work. But don't forget the old saying "Fortune favors the bold!", so go out there and give it a try!


Henning Wiechers
has been observing the UK dating market since 2007. He is among the top opinion leaders in the industry.

Any questions...?
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