How to Start Dating in Korea

Running into a millionaire that you will fall in love with a couple of months later… Staying in the same care unit with a stranger and falling in love with him (or her)… Maybe you have imagined some destined, unexpected but romantic love stories unfold in your life. Well, I have when I was a teenager. I used to look closely around while walking down streets to find my potential prince charming.




This kind of first encounter is rare. Very rare.



Unfortunately, a 95% chance of them would be a mere fantasy. You, or we got too much influence from K-dramas! In fact, Koreans usually meet their partners through blind dates, group blind dates, or hook-ups. Many people support Jamanchu (seeking to meet someone naturally), but it’s hard to meet somebody in a natural way—like, you meet your destiny in a random book club.



In this post, you’ll see how Koreans start dating AND my own experiences.





1. Sogaeting (소개팅)



Sogaeting is a blind date. Sogae literally means “introduce,” and ting comes from “meeting.” If you do Sogaeting, that means you meet someone that your friend or colleague introduces to you. To find a perfect match, your friend would consider your personality, what kind of person you want to date, and many other things.



Let’s see how other people do Sogaetings



I have a couple of experiences of Sogaeting. When I was single, my friends set me up with a few guys. But it wasn’t that easy to find a person I actually liked. Even though my friends considered various things for arrangement, they couldn’t set up emotions. When I liked the appearance of a guy, I didn’t like his personality. When I liked another guy’s personality, I didn’t like his appearance. When I finally liked another guy, he didn’t like me.



Most of my Sogaeting experiences ended up failing—except for once. It was a rare experience. We were able to talk for hours after hours. We kept talking, and met once again, and started dating. It was far from a unique drama scene, but the ending was sweet. I think Sogaeting could be a safe and somewhat guaranteed way to find somebody.





2. Meeting (미팅)



Meeting means a group blind date. Usually, three to four girls make a group and meet a guy group of the same number. Since all of them are total strangers, they meet in a bar. (Alcohol can help you endure an awkward atmosphere!)



Because it’s awkward to drink alcohol with people they just met, participants try to have a conversation. But even that try is awkward, so drinking games come first. By playing various drinking games, they introduce themselves, ask questions, and get to know each other.



examples of Korean drinking games

(Well, Korean drinking games are pretty different from those in other countries.)



And after they become a little more comfortable with each other, it’s time to choose a partner. You might use coins or belongings. When using coins, each of the four girls gets a coin with a different number on the flip side. Then guys choose numbers, and girls reveal the numbers on their coins. When numbers are matched, those two become partners. Another way is that girls put their belongings on the table randomly (so that guys can’t know which one belongs to whom) and guys choose one—same rules for this. After selecting partners, more drinking games and private conversations follow.



bomb shots



While Meeting could be a way of finding love, I personally went to Meetings for having fun or making friends. It’s not impossible to meet someone and start dating through a Meeting, but not many people join a Meeting seriously. It could be worth trying it for fun, but I recommend you not expecting too much.





3. Hunting (헌팅)



Hunting means a hook-up (I don’t know why it’s called Hunting.) It could mean asking a stranger’s phone number on the streets or going to a “Hunting bar.”



Hunting bars are literally for Hunting. While Meeting should be arranged by a middleman, Hunting doesn’t need any middleman. All you have to do is go to a Hunting bar, have a seat, look around, and if you find a group of people you’d like to share a table, you ask them to join. That’s all.



I didn’t have that many chances of going to a Hunting bar, but I remember from a few of my experiences that it was similar to Meeting, but so many people hooked up with so many other people. It was literally a hunting ground. Well, if you’re lucky, you could find your life partner in that hunting ground. Who knows? So if you want to go wild and find love more aggressively, Hunting would be the right option.



hunting in the wild



These three are not the only ways to start dating in Korea. Classically many people prefer a thing called ‘Jamanchu(자만추)’ which means ‘prefer natural relationships’. Nevertheless, many other people find their boyfriends and girlfriends through the ways mentioned above. As you know, no matter how you meet your partner, what’s important in a relationship is love itself, right?

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