Whether you’re currently seeing a Frenchman, or have one in mind (you sly girl), you may start finding you have more and more miscommunications as time goes on. Even if your man comes from a country associated with romance and love, that doesn’t mean he loves learning about other dating cultures. Luckily you do; otherwise you wouldn’t be here, right? So if you find yourself having a hard time understanding his culture’s idea of “l’amour”, not to worry, I’m here to help.


Cultural difference 1: Attraction

french dating flirtingWhile I usually don’t subscribe to most stereotypes, there are always a few that are true enough to merit their labels. Here’s one: the French are flirts. Is this true of all of them? No, probably not, but as a country France is pretty flirty. Playful—but always polite—conversations can be had between friends, between strangers, and even between married men and women with people who aren’t their significant other (gasp!). In other cultures this may raise a few eyebrows, and tempers, but in France it’s just a conversation, there’s no strings attached.


This flirtatious nature may be why French women are known to be aloof, and why French men can be so persistent; courtship is a chase. What this means for you:

  •          If you’re a straightforward person, this doesn’t mean you have to start playing games. Just don’t make things too easy on him.
  •          If you find yourself being pursued by a Frenchman you aren’t interested in, try to be as clear as possible when turning him down. He might think you’re just playing hard to get and try harder if you don’t.


Cultural difference 2: Dating, or Lack Thereof

The French don’t date, they relationship. It’s more complicated than that, but that’s the most concise way I can think to put it. While in the US and the UK “dating” is seen as a series of meetings that adheres to certain rules and protocols—waiting the proper amount of time before calling someone, arranging a date, wait appropriate number of dates before initiating appropriate amount of intimacy—before the time comes to have the boyfriend/girlfriend talk, the French tend to have a more laid back attitude. They don’t always prearrange dates; expect to get a few last minute calls asking for your company. Their dates aren’t always one-on-one; expect a good amount of those calls I mentioned (especially at first) to include the company of some friends. What this means for you:

  •         Toss out your preconceived notions of what an “official date” is, and try to go with the flow.
  •         You may need to start looking at least halfway presentable at all times if you plan to accept last minute invitations regularly without starting from scratch when you get ready. (truthfully, I’d probably forgo this one. No one comes between me and my pajamas when I find some stay-at-home down time. I’d just try to be really fast fixing myself up.)


Cultural difference 3: Kissing and “The Talk”

I mentioned before that French people don’t generally have “the talk” where the prospective couple decides if they want to be exclusive, so how do you know if you and your Parisian paramour are BF and GF? If you’ve kissed: congratulations! You’re in a relationship.

 french dating kiss



In the UK and US it’s not uncommon to date a couple of people at the same time and get to know them before you decide if you want to pursue a serious relationship with one of them and get rid of the rest. Or not—hey, I don’t judge. During this “get to know you” period, you may kiss one or more of your suitors just to test the waters or move things past the “just friends” label. This doesn’t really happen in French dating culture. If, during your courtship, you kiss on the lips it’s taken as a non-verbal agreement that you’re attracted to each other and are in a relationship. Unless you’re in a one night kind of relationship, this automatically translates to exclusivity. Whether or not either of you abides by that is another argument entirely. What this means for you:

  •          You may find yourself in a relationship without knowing it. I knew a girl whose “good friend” thought they had been exclusive for a month. If you plan on sticking to dating casually, keep that information to yourself.
  •          Don’t feel the need to label and dissect things; try to go with the flow. You’ll know he’s really serious if he introduces you to his family.


Keep in mind:

Culture isn’t always an excuse. Don’t accept all behaviors just because you think it might be a cultural difference. If something makes you uncomfortable or you aren’t really sure where you stand, speak up. In any relationship communication is key.

Make communicating easier by learning a bit of French. It’s easy, just contact us and we’ll be glad to get you the information you need to get started.