Dating in Germany as An American: Full Guide
Dating a German is different than dating, for example, an American or Russian. The way people interact with each other and build relationships might vary from what you are used to.
German culture and mentality is pretty unique. Yet, dating a German can be comparable to dating a European, especially in countries like the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria.
Maybe you are single, living in Germany, or recently met a German guy and want to know more about dating a local? In this article, we discuss the topic of dating in Germany vs. the US, all you need to know before you date a German, and the main differences between American and German guys.
Dating culture in Germany
Dating someone from another country is always an exciting experience. Germany, in fact, is one of the most diverse places in the world when it comes to multicultural relationships and marriages. Statistics show that this number was 1,5 million in 2017, of which 1.2 million were married.
It’s not surprising due to the open mindset of Germans and the foreigner-to-local ratio. Nonetheless, as a foreigner, it’s crucial to understand and respect the culture and mentality of your partner.
Dating culture is different in most countries; sometimes, this gap leads to misunderstanding, problems, and even breakups. Yes, dating in Germany and the US have many similarities, but also there are so many differences.
That’s why we have summarised the main factors you should know about when dating a German as an American.
In general, the dating culture in Germany is pretty similar to other European countries. Thus, it will be easier, If you have had a European partner at some point in your life.
Good to know that people in Germany get married quite late. Germany is currently in place eighth on the list of European countries in terms of the average age at first marriage.
Despite that factor, marriage is becoming more and more popular. Couples like to make relationships official rather than just have an unregistered partner.
Read more about dating in Germany as a foreigner.
Where to meet people in Germany?
Germans prefer to date within their trusted circles; maybe one friend introduces someone, or they date someone they already knew before.
Another popular way to meet a partner is through online dating apps. Yes, as anywhere else on the planet, they become more popular day by day. Thus, Tinder and OkCupid are widely used in Germany.
Of course, meeting places like bars and clubs are still popular, although not really common for finding a long-term partner.
Main dating and relationship differences US vs Germany
For the most part, dating in Germany isn’t as different as between India and the US, for example, but there are some things to keep an eye on.
Overall, gender roles in Germany don’t differ drastically from those in the US. You can treat your German man/woman pretty much like you would almost any American.
Feel free to follow your regular habits in relationships with younger Germans, while some adults aged 30 to 40 can be a little old-fashioned and conservative.
American friendly and polite way
Americans tend to be much nicer and politer than Germans, and so they behave accordingly in relationships.
Americans could appear as over-friendly when Germans often come over as rude or cold. In Germany, there is no such thing as smiling at everyone all the time, pretending to like people, saying “Hi, how are you?” etc.
So the first encounter with your date can be different than you used to. Germans, on the other hand, show their respect by being helpful, honest, straight, and maybe yes, a bit too direct. Try not to communicate with them just to be nice, be more real, and they will appreciate it.
Relationship rules and stages
Germans are more relaxed about rules in relationships, and it’s not rare for a woman to take the first step. Also, they don’t count dates, such as the third date norm doesn’t exist.
Moreover, people here don’t use words like going official, being exclusive, and then agreeing on relationships.
They don’t put labels but simply meet someone until the point both are ready for real commitment, or live together, or get married.
Germans take the next steps when they feel it’s right, and they mean it, at least when they are looking for a serious relationship and not just a fling.
Games don’t work in this country either, they won’t ignore you 3 days before texting back after the first date, or don’t call for 2 days. In Germany, everything is clear for everyone, nobody will play with you, and nobody wants to build up this intrigue.
The beloved by Americans small talk doesn’t exist in Germany. Germans can talk about the weather, football, and other general things, but they will surely tell you how they are in detail.
So better avoid these superficial conversations and talk about something you both can be engaged in.
You could also try topics like politics, current events, philosophy, or any subject you know they are interested in.
Don’ts in the conversation
Germans don’t talk about money, it’s considered a very private topic or even rude. Of course, regarding German history, you should avoid the last century, as well as some hot topics on German and international politics.
Independence, equality and feminism
Germans love their independence. Also, feminism is strongly encouraged in Germany; you will notice it. People like to be independent and free, so they are in relationships.
German women have strong personalities and sometimes seem tougher and more brutal than German men.
Additionally, it’s normal to have an open relationship to enjoy your freedom to choose a partner and still have some boundaries.
Keep in mind that everyone is equal in Germany, there is no gender discrimination, and men expect a woman to care about herself on her own in all aspects of life.
Don’t expect someone to make sacrifices for you; Germans always will fulfill their personal priorities and tastes.
Just because you might think you have met your significant other doesn’t mean that they will drop everything to spend every single minute with you all the time.
Punctuality is the key
Yes, Germans are known for punctuality, so your date will expect you to come on time too. So please, don’t be this girl who is always late; your relationships won’t last long. To make a good impression be there five to ten minutes early.
Germans don’t use the term 12-ish or 4-ish. If they say 12, they will be there at noon or, actually, 5 minutes earlier.
Also, there are no playing “will he show, or not show” games with Germans. If they say they will be there, they will be 110%.
Germans aren’t famous for flirting, in fact, they are pretty bad at this. They can become awkward fast when approaching a girl. Instead, they prefer to get into long detailed conversations.
As you might know, Germans are straightforward people, so you also need to be clear and direct with your messages.
Those aren’t always the most romantic kind, as it’s about getting to know the other person, their thoughts, opinions, and values.
The best friend of a relaxed conversation is alcohol; that’s why it’s better to meet someone when going out. So hope with the power of the beer, a German guy can crank out a couple of funny jokes.
If you start to flirt with them instead, they might not even understand your attempts. When it comes to conversation, Germans value deeper discussions with a purpose far more than pointless chit-chat. So again, it’s better to avoid small talk.
Honest and direct
Germans are very direct by nature. They speak their minds, also when it comes to dating and relationships. They undoubtedly will let you know how they feel and whether you are their type or not.
The reason is that Germans tend to be very goal-oriented in their interaction. They want to get right to the point and not beat around the bush.
Moreover, Germans mean and do what they say, and you can rely on them compared to some other nations. So if a German tells you they like you, they really like you. When they tell you they will come tomorrow, they will come.
Paying the bill
It’s always interesting how different nations approach finances in dating. German men will unlikely pay a bill in the restaurant and even on the first date.
In the US, on the other hand, men pay pretty regularly, especially when it comes to the first meeting; you don’t want to make a bad impression, right?
In Germany, they love going Dutch and splitting the bill accordingly to how much they have spent, so you pay your share.
However, sometimes they will invite you for a drink or dinner by saying “Ich lade dich ein”, which automatically means they want to pay for you.
That said, it’s quite common for men and women in exchange invite each other. Staying equal is the most important thing, keep the balance, so that not only you or them invite all the time.
Time to open up and build trust
Germans take a lot of time to get to know their potential partner, whether a man or a woman. And if they come to the point when they want to have relationships with you, they will make it clear.
Overall, it takes longer to meet someone in Germany and start a real relationship than you might see in other countries.
Moreover, Germans would not be super talkative and open in the first state; it will take time for them to start talking about more personal topics and what is really inside them.
Instead, expect them to keep it in a little superficial way and don’t ask too intimate questions. You certainly need to go to the second and third dates to get to know them.
The overall German approach to dating is to take things slow and really invest time in getting to know a person. Most Germans don’t rush into relationships; it’s not their priority in life.
Expect at least some weeks or even months of dating before becoming an official couple or at least them taking it more seriously.
German guys vs American guys
What are the main differences between German and American guys? Well, there are some, despite the overall similarity in western mindset and culture.
Don’t expect chivalry in Germany, especially from the younger generation under 30. So when it comes to opening the door, holding something for you, pulling the seat out, carrying your bag, or sometimes paying for you, it’s not happening in Germany.
In the US, neither, but the probability men will do something for you is higher.
It doesn’t mean Germans aren’t gentlemen or behave like assholes, it’s just they show their love and respect in different ways (read more in the romantic chapter). The bottom line is that Germans respect a woman as another grown-up adult.
It all comes to equality and feminism, especially gender equality, is highly concerned and encouraged. Germans learn about these things right from their childhood.
This is a big part of the German mentality; they don’t waste money! Spending behavior is much different from the American one, and you might see guys trying to save on many things.
So for example, don’t expect something expensive when it comes to presents.
As a girlfriend of German, he will appreciate you spending money more carefully and having some savings.
Germans aren’t famous for being romantic, but they aren’t unromantic either. They are considerate, so you just have to ask them what you want or desire in a more precise way.
But don’t expect crazy romance with Germans; they are definitely more practically orientated people and won’t drop everything for you.
On the other hand, German guys are kind, polite, and reserved humans who are very careful with their feelings, so they would not fall in love on a second date and go on a world trip with you.
It might seem like Germans hold themselves back and try to make everything very smart and analytical.
If you used to receive many presents, Germany doesn’t have a superficial gift-giving culture. Gifts in Germany are meant to be thoughtful and have real sentimental value instead of materialistic.
That’s why they are known as very practical people; the flowers will die in two days, German guy would instead buy chocolate or make something with his hands.
Presents here aren’t used to show love. In Germany, people show their feelings and appreciation in different ways. They will carefully listen to you, make you tea, cook something, or maybe buy something small but cute and unique.
This way, they show their feelings; unfortunately, it could be missed if you don’t pay attention to their intention. Something you would not realize or understand that a guy did it for you. So keep your eyes open for such things and be really thankful.
With perfect timing comes also planning; the German guy will plan dates ahead, even weeks sometimes. They are definitely not for spontaneity; it’s not in their culture.
Also, not only must all vacation dates be planned weeks and weeks ahead, but the whole itinerary and activities. Forget about spontaneity even when you have your days off.
Germans are more reserved than Americans, that’s for sure. In the beginning, they won’t be as cheerful and friendly as you used to be in the US. It’s normal for them to be a little bit shy when it comes to getting to know each other.
Germans are often described as being a little standoffish and cold. That might be because people value their personal space more than in other countries. They treat strangers rather formally, especially at first encounters.
Not surprising that they take a little longer to warm up to others. With an average German guy, it will take time till he opens up and show their inner self and feelings.
Nonetheless, every person is different; it can take a shorter or longer time until you really get to know them like a real person and what is on their mind.
German guys care about their appearance much, sometimes even more than German women. They like to dress well, have a nice haircut, and also take care of their beard.
This nation knows how to style hair. In fact, they sometimes have more hair than the girls here; you rarely will see a German guy with very short hair.
Be aware that the German guys are not macho-type guys at all. If you like this type of man, who is strong, powerful, and dominant in many aspects – Germany is the wrong place.
Guys aren’t brutal here, they don’t showcase their masculinity, and in some cases, women overtake this role.
On another side, people in Germany are very respectful, kind, and polite to others. They aren’t assholes but will treat you well instead and expect the same in return.
Typical date with a German guy
What is typical with a German look like? Well, not a big difference to the date with the American guy, but there are some points to make!
They will use any opportunity to simply get to know the person better. Like anywhere else in the western world, dates might involve going to a bar, having dinners, meeting up for coffee, or going to the cinema.
However, the most typical first date with a German will be somewhere in a nice bar while drinking beer and chatting.
A hiking date or going on a day trip together are other very German activities since Germans love adventure and traveling. They might invite you to some festival or concert. For instance, beer festivals are widespread across the country.
Overall, every city has something going on a weekend or also a weekday; people here love to celebrate everything here. So expect to be invited to such gatherings as a part of dating a German.