Dating and Cultural Differences

Two people from different cultures face challenges when dating.Two people from different cultures face challenges when dating.

Dating and relationships always have their ups and downs, even within the same culture. When there are cultural differences, dating becomes more challenging because two people are working around different body language, ways of speaking and assumptions about each other's culture.

Commonalities Between Cultures

Most cultures have common aspects. Facial expressions like anger, happiness, sadness, disgust, surprise and fear are common expressions in a wide range of cultures. Only a few cultures differ slightly; in Japan, for instance, fear can be interpreted as surprise. When dating, notice that the basics of body language are the same. A smile is usually a sign of happiness or enjoyment in any culture, for instance.

Taking About Differences Early

To prevent misunderstandings early in a dating relationship, talk about how the cultures might differ. For example, Americans might shake hands before leaving a conversation with a friend, family member or business colleague while someone from France or Italy might kiss both cheeks instead. Making clear early on where there are differences and similarities prevents fights, arguments and embarrassment.

Talk About Religion

Religion can be a consideration when dating. Find out how important religion is to each other and how each other's culture views religion. In a dating relationship, religion can become a potential heartache; couples should always talk about religious differences before confusion can arise.

Gesture Differences

Cultural differences are often based in body movements and gestures. For example, waving in the United States to greet friends is usually left to right while in Japan a front-to-back motion is more common. Such differences in gestures can create strife in a relationship if they are misunderstood. For example, a boyfriend might interpret his girlfriend's back-and-forth hand waving not as "come here" but "go away," causing him to think she meant he should leave or that she doesn't want to see him.

Avoid Stereotyping

Stereotypes are to be avoided because they are inaccurate, usually exaggerated and often hurtful. For example, Americans are often considered loud, obnoxious and boisterous because movies or sporting events shown on TV show their loud nature.

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About the Author

Helen Jain has been writing online articles since December 2009 for various websites. She has studied English and psychology and hopes to get a Ph.D. in English in the future.

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