Before you go out and spend your refund on peonies and heart-shaped things for the cute French gal or guy in your biology class, you may want to consider his or her point of view.
Last year, Americans spent $130.97 on average per person, according to CNN Library, but securing a relationship with your crush may not hinge on flowers or candy.
Troy students say that there are varying levels of difference in dating cultures simply based on a student’s country of origin.
“We don’t even have traditional ‘dating’ in Germany,” said Jana Weißichnicht, a senior broadcast journalism major from Germany. “We also don’t have ‘talking’.”
Weißichnicht said that to traditionally begin a relationship with someone from her country “you just start hanging out until you decide that you are dating.”
“You don’t have to actually talk about it,” she said.
“Most of the time it’s the first kiss that makes things official. It really depends on the people involved. You don’t really ask officially to be someone’s girlfriend or boyfriend.”
Weißinchnicht’s insight on dating had some major differences when in comparison with one American’s dating expectations.
“Well, in America usually the guy asks the girl out on a date,” said Tabby Craig, a junior medical technology major from Mobile. “This is normally the common practice, but at any time the girl can ask the guy.”
She also mentioned that it is common practice in the U.S. for individuals to try to “fix up” or arrange dates for their friends in hopes that they will become romantically involved.
In Malika Akhunova’s country parents do most of the fixing up.
“The majority of us experience arranged marriage, as we consider it safe, and traditional,” said Malika Akhunova, a sophomore political science major from Uzbekistan.
“Parents look for families of equal financial and social status, or the look among the family that they personally know. That way, it’s easier for adults to communicate.”
As far as dating formalities go, Akhunova said that it is much like U.S. activities, which might include eating out or going to see a movie.
“One interesting thing is that in arranged marriages, when we go on a date for the first time we go with adults. For example, I may bring my sister, and he may bring his sister,” she said.
In the ABC News article, “First Comes Marriage, then Comes Love” written in 2009, Myrna Toledo cites that 60 percent of all marriages are arranged and 90 percent of the marriages in India are arranged.
Grishma Rimal, a junior broadcast major from Nepal, also comes from a country that includes parents in dating culture.
“Traditionally, most marriages were arranged and that culture still remains practiced widely,” Rimal said. “Arranged marriages basically involve families finding a suitable spouse for their children.
“It is like being set up on a blind date except that the decision you make is not whether or not you want to date this person, it’s whether or not you want to marry him or her.”
Rimal says that she thinks this practice is “outdated” and that she sees people moving away from this tradition.
“Although these days it is more common for people to date, it is still a relatively new practice,” she said, “and much of this is kept secret from the family unless you have parents who are very understanding.”
One consistency from each student was what people do on dates. Each said something along the lines of going out to get something to eat or just spending time with the person to get to know them.
Weißichnicht said that she saw one other difference in the way Americans date.
“Also a big difference is that relationships are more private,” she said. “You don’t really put it on social media until you have been steady for a while (six months or a year). You also don’t tell everyone immediately. People find out when seeing couples together.”
Flowers will die and the candy will be eaten, but taking time to understand his or her culture will show real heartfelt interest.