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Are Korean Guys Really Romantic?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

If you’ve ever watched a K-Drama, the men are dreamy, romantic, and all about love. They’re cute, make eye contact with their love interests, and do things women would kill for. 

They turn the charm on so high that you’d think that all Korean males are like this.

But are Korean guys really romantic? Sure, they can be. However, like any man anywhere in the world, some are very romantic while others are not so much. K-dramas, like cheesy American soap operas, do not necessarily reflect real life. 

In fact, there are some very un-romantic things about Korean men, and this comes from social expectations as a whole.

Let’s dive deeper

Love in Korea

In Korea, there’s a huge focus on paring up with someone and being in love. Many social events and gatherings center on this idea as well. 

Indeed, some 151 holidays in a single year are all about couples, relationships, marriage, and love. 

There are many rules and etiquette to follow, too.

Typical Treatment from a Korean Guy

The typical Korean guy will be fiercely loyal, trustworthy, and generous. In fact, they often spoil their lovers and pay for 90% of everything on a date. 

The men ply their women with as much food, soju, and shopping as they can handle.

Korean men will also come up with surprise dinners or arrive unannounced with flowers and candy. 

Plus, anything a woman asks of him, he’ll do as long as school, work, or family obligations aren’t imperative.

Korean Social Expectations of Women

However, there are different social rules and expectations that Korean men have of their girlfriends. 

This is quite a change when comparing them to guys from other parts of the Western world. 

For instance, the very thing that attracts a Korean man to a woman will eventually become a source of criticism.

If you peruse personal experiences through online blogs and public forums, independent, outgoing and friendly women have a terrible time dating Korean men. 

They’ll insist their women don’t have many male friends, they don’t want their women going to too many parties without them, and they won’t understand her priorities.

Female Friends & Girlfriends

This is because Korean culture is very much about men. Indeed, many Korean women feel and believe they are second-class citizens. 

So, the expectation of that kind of behavior is tantamount. 

Korean men will apply different standards to their female friends versus their love interests.

For example, a Korean guy may laugh at a female friend slamming three bottles of soju. But, if his girlfriend does it, it’s grounds for an argument. 

This is because most Korean men want a woman who is smart and independent, but they also want them somewhat dependent on them – for almost everything. 

This includes choices, decisions, and advice.

Aegyo & Naesung

In Korea, there are two behaviors society and men expect of women. The first is aegyo, and the other is naesung. 

Aegyo is when a woman acts cute and flirty, complete with shoulder shrugging, silly faces, and child-like head shaking. 

During aegyo, a woman will speak in a baby voice or answer questions in a high-pitched tone.

Naesung is speaking in an evasive way, not being outright honest. Korean men expect their girlfriends to do this. 

For instance, if a girlfriend has had two bottles of soju and the boyfriend asks how many she’s drunk, she should tell him a ½ bottle. They should say this even if it isn’t true.

While K-dramas tend to be a caricature of real Korean social graces, some things in them do denote these behaviors. 

To illustrate, there’s almost always some gorgeous main female character who’s savvy, sassy, and super independent. 

But, when in the presence of a love interest, she’s submissive and gentle, playing the role of the damsel in distress.

Some Un-Romantic Aspects of Korean Guys

Even though there are some wonderful things about Korean guys, there are some unsavory aspects to them as well. 

Interactions with Korean men aren’t the same as with guys from the Western world. 

They tend to ask very personal and uncomfortable questions, with some of them being quite uncouth and bordering on rudeness.

As an example, if you’re a woman living or staying in Korea and a strange male strikes up a conversation, they will ask things you’d slap a man for in places like Canada or the United States. 

Such topics will include where you’re from, what you do for a living, who you date, exactly where you live, and what place you’re coming from/going to.

While this doesn’t seem harmless, they tend to ask such questions prior to inquiring about your name. 

For Western women, this is quite disconcerting. 

Also, if he ends the conversation by asking if you’re Russian and you’ve already iterated your nationality/ethnicity, then he’s inquiring about purchasing a prostitute.

Rampant Spitting & Smoking

Another thing that can detract from Korean men imbuing ideas of romance is the fact that they spit in public. 

In Korean culture, it’s perfectly okay and acceptable for men to do this. They don’t view it as impolite, rude, or disgusting.

Men often spit outdoors, but some will do it indoors at libraries, restaurants, public transportation and etc. The reason why they spit so much is that about 67% of Korean men smoke. 

If you’re the kind who doesn’t like smokers, that will be a turn-off as well.


So, while romance is part and parcel of the culture, not everyone falls in line with this. 

But, romance and being romantic is different depending on which culture you’re discussing. It’s not the same in Korea as it is in the US, Canada, or even Great Britain. 

Even still, Korean men can be charming, giving, and loving in their way.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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