Dating Across Cultures: Be Sensitive And Sensible
I have spent the last 11 years traveling to and living in different countries. In that time, I’ve been struck by the congregation into big cities of young, educated, and energetic people from all over the world. In a sense, the world’s great cities are becoming global melting pots. You have probably seen it yourself if you live in or near one.
Globalization has led not only to the free flow of goods and ideas, but to people as well—especially professionals. When you go out, you are as likely to meet a woman from Latvia or China or Algeria as you are someone born and raised in the U.S. Indeed, you might want to take things further with a woman who is gorgeous, sexy, smart, and seems into you.
Success can be yours. However, it will only come if you are sensitive to the fact that she is from a society that is different from yours, and if you are sensible about your dealings with her as a person shaped by such a heritage.
As professionals, there may be much that you have in common. You may have had similar schooling. And if you both come from middle class backgrounds, you would be surprised at how much your values with regard to family and material success converge. However, you should watch your conduct in social settings. This may be the thing that undoes you.
The bold, assertive, outgoing character that is so appreciated by Americans may put off a woman of foreign birth. Such behavior in public is frowned on in many countries. If you do it, you may make her feel awkward and embarrassed. She may not always feel this way. She may in time get used to it. But you should tone it down when you are first getting to know her. Allow her to get comfortable with your friends and social scene.
Politics and history are two other issues that you need to take care in handling. Although she may really like the success she’s enjoyed in America, she may have a different perspective on the country’s involvement in foreign affairs. She may hold views that are more complex and less straightforward as those you’re used to hearing. Again, proceed carefully. You don’t have to give up what you believe. However, you should be sensitive to the fact that she may come from a country that has been directly impacted by U.S. foreign policy and will therefore speak from concrete experience.
Lastly, you should remain open to the films, food, and music native to her country. In fact, if she doesn’t propose it first you should suggest spending an evening watching one of her favorite films or going to a restaurant she knows which serves food from home.
In short, get to know her—get to know who she is and what she enjoys. Doing so will open you to a world you never knew existed.
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About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.