Dating Differences Between Cultures

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Each culture has particular social habits and traditions. This might trip you up when interacting with someone from another culture. If you are thinking of dating someone from another culture, you should be sensitive to such cultural differences that might impact the behavior of your date. However, at the end of the day, once you look beneath the surface, people are guided by their human commonalities and are likely looking for the same things in a date.


There are certain courtship overtures involved in a dating situation. And there are differences in how men and women, court their dates. In Russia, for instance, it is considered a sign of romantic interest if a man peels a banana and offers it to a woman. If you are a man who doesn’t have any romantic interest in a Russian woman, don’t do this as a courtesy. Thus, what might pass for a courteous gesture in American culture acquires a different flavor in Russia.

Dating Practices

In the United States, it is becoming more common for dating couples to split the bill. In Brazil, on the other hand, the man typically pays for the dating activity. Another difference is that in Brazil, people don’t tend to date in groups. They don’t tend to see this as fun. In the U.S. group dates are not uncommon, particularly in the early stages of dating. Also in Brazil, people tend to date for a longer time than U.S. couples do, with the Brazilian dating period stretching into a number of years, before deciding to marry.

Initiating the Date

In the United States, both men and women ask each other out. In Brazil, on the contrary, women don’t tend to ask men out. If a woman has an interest in a man, she will have let her interest be known in some way and wait for the man to ask her out. And in the Netherlands, the Dutch don’t consider it appropriate to chat up strangers they run into on the street with the aim of dating them.


In spite of all these cultural differences influencing dating practices, human beings tend to be looking for the same sorts of things in the people they date. A cross-cultural study conducted across 37 cultures, “Sex Differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures” found that men in general tended to prefer women whose features suggested health and youth. And women tended to prefer men who had more resources to offer them.