European vs American Men: Here Are The True Dating Differences

Disclaimer: These opinions are based on personal experiences and research, so they’re not 100% accurate for everyone. 

Dating culture is as varied and complex as the number of people living on Earth. Everyone’s standards, requirements, wants, and needs differ, and they change throughout our lives. However, when you date someone from another country or continent, you may notice cultural differences in dating patterns. Here are some differences between dating in America and dating in Europe:

The major difference between dating American and European men is… dating. 

In the United States, people (especially Millennials) date. They go from “hooking up” to “seeing each other” to “being exclusive.” American men are typically goal-oriented. The outcome that they’re looking for can range from a hookup to a serious relationship, but they have a specific agenda from the start.

In contrast, “dating” isn’t that popular in Europe. People hang out as friends, often in group settings, and that’s how romantic relationships develop. European men aren’t as goal-focused as their American counterparts, so they let the relationship develop organically. In fact, the boyfriend/girlfriend labels pop up naturally, without much discussion. Both parties just know that they’re together.

American men are also more likely to use online dating than European men are. This is likely because they’re clear about what type of encounter or relationship they’re looking for.

European men are also more comfortable around women than American men are. 

In Europe, as children grow up, there’s barely any separation of the sexes. There’s also no definite “pink-is-for-girls-blue-is-for-boys” norm, which allows them to express themselves and spend time with whomever they please. So when it comes to looking for a partner, this is why men from Europe end up in relationships with their friends or people they met through mutual acquaintances. 

In the United States, however, people rarely date people they’ve been friends with for a long time. This is because communities in the States are often larger than European ones, so it’s harder to be close with so many people. As a result, American men tend to seek out people they don’t know for relationships. 

Most importantly, though, American men are far more confident than European men when asking women out.

More often than not, American men are sure of themselves so it’s easier for them to make the first move when approaching women. They have their go-to pick-up lines ready, and they know how to get what they want. But their European counterparts aren’t as outgoing. European men are laid-back, and they don’t always have the best “game,” but when they get comfortable with someone, they’re able to form deep connections. 

The confidence that American men emit also translates to their desire to have sex relatively early in a relationship. Since they’re goal-oriented, they often see sex as the number-one milestone in the dating process. On the other hand, European men generally aren’t keen on crossing that border early on — they usually prefer to develop an emotional connection before a physical one. However, there are always exceptions to the rule.

No matter which continent you’re from, dating is an individual experience. Everybody sees it differently, so the key is to find someone who understands your idea of what dating should look like. At the end of the day, even though it’s important to be aware of cultural differences, your connection with your date or partner matters more.

Featured image via Jep Gambardella on Pexels


  1. It’s not true that people in the United States don’t date friends, or that we are gender segregated throughout childhood. Six boys came to my sixth birthday party, and I had close male friends throughout my childhood that I spent much one-on-one time with. It’s quite common for high school and college friends to hang out in groups and date different members of the group. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, the “most American” city. My parents and my friends’ parents were all college educated and/or immigrants from Eastern Europe/Asia/Latin America. I did see more gender segregation among less educated and low-income people. At any rate, people still date friends into their 20s and 30s, but it is more dangerous if things end badly because people become more dependent on their friends, especially if they move away from family as adults. (Eg, many young Chicagoans move to the coasts in their 20s.) The average American moves five times. The push for sex is problematic, however. But it is also a marker for someone who isn’t serious or doesn’t have much success with the opposite sex. So just take a pass on that person and find someone better.


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