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It is so funny to see how some social behaviors are exactly the same between France and the US, and others are completely different. Well, this was a big shock to me when I arrived in the US. I understood of course a man and a woman could be interested in each other in a romantic way, let me reassure you.One of the very obvious difference is the dating game. But I was not aware that accepting to go out to dinner with a man alone gave the signal that I was possibly romantically interested in him.She decides whether she wants the guy or not, and may need more than one dinner to make up her mind… In any case, there is no obligation nor expectation whatsoever for the woman to do whatever after any number of “rendez-vous galants”.I guess since there is no set protocol, French women are pretty obvious, and often more direct than other women. It’s unlikely they’ll refuse to take it further, but not unheard of.
I did the same thing as a girl, talking about my boyfriend (actually existing or not) early on in the conversation. And some people are just not faithful, but contrary to popular opinion, it’s not worse in France than anywhere else (and several studies demonstrate it). It’s in our genes and it’s socially accepted in France.
Now, not everybody does that of course, some girls like to play, and sometimes lose themselves in the game, or hurt people. A Frenchwoman is expected to play her feminine side, and be “admired” for her beauty and wit among other qualities.
Nor did I know about this first date, second date and third date business In France, it’s very common for a girl to go out to dinner with a male friend.
Even for a married woman to go out with a male friend who is single : I often travel to Paris by myself, Leyla and Olivier stay in Paimpol, and have dinner with one (or several) of our good male friend(s), single or not.
Frenchmen like to flirt as well, even if they know very well there is no hope of it leading anywhere.
The game is the main point, it’s relatively innocent and usually no-one gets hurt, just a little blushed :-) With kissing hi and goodbye being the standard and French women being more “flirtatious”, it can be difficult for foreigners to correctly read a French woman’s body language.