Where to start?
Do you find a British accent irresistible? Have you recently picked up a lonely Aussie wandering the streets of your hometown? Or maybe you’re looking for an easy way to improve your English, and dating a native speaker seems like it could be a great way to help. Intercultural dating can be loads of fun, but it can also be a minefield. What’s acceptable at home doesn’t always fly with people from other cultures.
Here are some tips for to make dating an English-speaker easy. Maybe they could even learn something along the way!
Ask open questions
Talking about yourself all night is a big no-no, so ask lots of questions. Try to ask open questions so you can learn something about your date and keep the conversation going.
A closed question: Do you like the food? Yes.
An open question: What do you think of the food? It’s delicious, I’ve never eaten anything like it before.
A closed question: Do you like red velvet cake? Yes.
An open question: What kind of cake should we have at our wedding? Ummm… (No, don’t ask this question).
Also, when your date asks you a question, don’t give one word answers. No one likes awkward silences.
Ask the right questions
‘Ugh, isn’t *insert name of President* an idiot?’
‘So, how much money do you make a year?’
‘How much do you weigh? Are you sure you want that burger?’
‘How old are you?’
NO, NO, NO, and NO.
Politics, income, age, and weight should be off the table on a first date. People from English-speaking countries tend to be uncomfortable talking about certain topics with someone they don’t know well. And it’s downright rude to ask someone their age or weight, and may see your date heading out of the door. Safe topics for a first date are: hobbies, sports, travel, work, family, music, etc.
Pour your date a drink, don’t check your phone, ask if he or she is warm enough. Show that you’re interested and attentive. And be on time. Punctuality is still a thing in the English speaking world.
Also, don’t swear: ‘F*** me, you look f****** gorgeous’ is likely to send your date running. ‘I love your outfit, you look gorgeous’ is much more likely to keep your date in their seat.
Don’t be wishy-washy
In other words, don’t be vague and indecisive. If your date wants to take you hang gliding but you’re terrified of heights, say something. ‘Would it be OK if we did something a bit closer to the ground?’
If your date asks where you want to go, don’t say ‘I don’t mind’. Suggest somewhere: ‘How about Monty’s? I’ve heard it’s great on Thursdays’.
People, in general, like decisions to be easy, so help your date with making them!
Talk about the future
Not, ‘I want to be married with kids by the time I’m 25’.
Talk about the next time you’ll see each other: ‘If you’re not busy next Saturday I’d love to take you to see that film.’ Or, ‘Have you ever been to Loch Ness? We could go monster-spotting next weekend if you fancy it?’
Going Dutch, or splitting the bill, is common practice in English speaking countries. So ladies, don’t sit there ignoring the bill when it comes. But, while women should always offer, it’s quite common for the man to pick up the bill on a first date. Sorry guys.
Ladies, you don’t need to fight about it but you could offer to pay the tip, or to buy your date a drink in the next place.
Your conversation might go something like this:
Jane (reaching for handbag): Let’s go halves.
Joe (sighing inside, thinking about eating tinned beans for the rest of the week): No, it’s my treat.
Jane (relieved): Well, let me get the tip.
Romantic stereotypes abound, from the cold Brit to the laid back Australian; the American performing overblown romantic gestures, and the Canadian apologising for even asking you on a date. But, the truth is, (huge generalisation coming) English speakers are an easygoing bunch. Most of us were brought up in multicultural countries so there’s probably not much you could do to shock us (but you can try if the date is going badly). Plus, mistakes and misunderstandings make for great stories. So laugh at yourself, because that doesn’t need any translation.