If you're wandering the streets in Seoul, South Korea, you might notice a common theme: romance. Hearts decorate store fronts, and K-pop songs about love blast from the loud speakers. Pictures of lovers from K-dramas and movies are plastered on the store windows. Giggling young Korean couples wearing matching outfits are also a common sight.
As you can tell, dating and romance are an integral part of modern Korean culture, and with that comes a whole sect of romantic Korean language and slang. Dating is a great way to experience a new culture and an even better excuse to learn a second language.
So, if you're just visiting South Korea, planning to move Korea for a while, or even just want to understand your favorite K-drama better, learning how to flirt is a fun way to improve your Korean communication and listening skills.
Dating Culture in South Korea
No other country seems to be as fixated on dating and love than South Korea. It's pretty typical to celebrate annual anniversaries with your partner, right? Well, in South Korea, relationship milestones are observed every 100 days. In addition to Valentine's day, couples celebrate White day and Pepero day, while singles display their mourning and sadness about their lack of relationship by dressing in funeral apparel on Black day.
Oh, and have you ever seen a shopping mall full of...couple wear? Me neither. Well, until I came to Korea, that is. In South Korea, it's common for couples to wear matching outfits not only as a fashion statement, but also to display their love publicly in an appropriate and conservative manner.
Then there's K-dramas. Of course, love is a common theme on soap operas in just about every country. However, the love stories in K-dramas go even further by focusing on first love, an innocent, passionate love. First love is a popular subject in real life, too. Celebrities are often asked about their first loves during interviews, and it's an important milestone in the lives of young Koreans.
So, as you can see, romance and love might be a common topic when you start conversing in Korean. But don't be shy or nervous; talking about romance can be fun. Follow our guide to romance and flirting language, and you'll be able to chime in in no time at all.
How to Flirt in Korean
Before we get started, there are some important overall rules to note.
First of all, if you use a translator, you will see the word dang-sin (당신). Although technically dang-sin means "you," Koreans rarely use this word when speaking. Instead, they use the person's name, nickname, or omit the pronoun altogether. So, in some of the phrases below, you'll notice the lack of pronoun. It's common to drop pronouns when you speak Korean.
If your partner is your age or younger, you can address them by their name or nickname. If you are a male, you can call older females noo-na
(누나). If you are a female, you can call an older male oppa (오빠).
Now that you've got those structural rules down, let's learn how to flirt in Korean.
Dating in Korea might be a bit different than in your home country. It's not common to meet people at random here; rather, you meet potential dates through friends and co-workers. So the best way to meet a date would be to go out and make some friends. For whatever situation, here are some basic phrases for your first meeting.
Ee-reum-ee mo-eh-yo? (이름이 뭐에요?): What's your name?
Jay ee-reum-eun (your name) eem-nee-da (제 이름은 __ 입니다): My name is _____.
Man-na-seo bang-a-wo-yo.(만나서 반가워요.): It's nice to meet you.
Eo-di-e-seo wass-eum-nik-ka? (어디에서 왔습니까?): Where are you from?
Now, this is a question that you generally don't need to ask Koreans (they're from Korea- duh!) unless you want to know which area of Korea in particular. However, you will definitely be asked this question, so be ready to answer.
Mi-guk es-eo wass-eum-ni-da (미국 에서 왔습니다): I'm from America.
Of couse, if you're from another country, substitute your country's name.
Eo-di-e sa-se-yo? (어디에 사세요?): Where do you live?
Se-oul-e sal-go is-seub-ni-da.(서울에 살고 있습니다.): I live in Seoul.
You can interchange Seoul with another Korean city or your home country if you're just visiting.
Mu-seun il-eul ha-sib-nik-ka? (무슨 일을 하십니까?): What do you do?
Yeong-eo hal su is-seub-nik-ka?(영어 할 수 있습니까?): Can you speak English?
Flirting in Korean
Now that you've gotten through the basic introduction, here are some phrases to show that you're interested in someone in Korean.
Joh-ah-hae-yo (좋아해요): I like you.
Jeong-mal gwi-ye-ou-se-yo. (정말 귀여우세요.): You're really cute.
Jal saeng-gyeoss-eoyo. (잘 생겼어요.): You're handsome.
Yep-peun-e-yo. (예쁘네요.): You're pretty.
Jeong-mal jae-miss-eu-si-ne-yo. (정말 재밌으시네요.): You're really funny.
Neo-han-te ban-haess-eo. (너한테 반했어.): I've got a crush on you.
Nam-ja chin-gu iss-eoyo? (남자 친구 있어요?): Do you have a boyfriend?
Yeo-ja chin-gu iss-eoyo? (여자 친구 있어요?): Do you have a girlfriend?
Sul-eul sa deul-yeo-do gwaen-chanh-eul-kk-a-yo? (술을 사 드려도 괜찮을까요?): Can I buy you a drink?
Dang-sin-eun nae-ga kkum kku-deon nam-ja/yeo-ja yeyo( 당신은 내가 꿈 꾸던 남자/여자예요.): You are the man/woman of my dreams.
Haen-deu-pon beon-ho-ga mwo-ye-yo? (핸드폰 번호가 뭐예요?): What's your phone number?
U-li dei-teu halk-ka-yo? (우리 데이트 할까요?): Shall we go on a date?
O-neul bam jeon-gmal jeul-geo-woss-eoyo. (오늘 밤 정말 즐거웠어요.): I had a great time tonight.
U-li sag-wil-lae-yo? (우리 사귈래요?): Do you want to be my boyfriend/girlfriend?
Romantic Korean Phrases
Now that you're officially a "thing," here are some romantic phrases in Korean to further your relationship along.
Bo-go sip-eo-yo. (보고 싶어요.): I miss you.
Manh-i joh-a-hae-yo. (많이 좋아해.): I like you a lot.
Sa-lang-hae-yo. (사랑해요.): I love you.
Cheos-nun-e ban-haess-eo. (첫눈에 반했어.): It was love at first sight.
Na-neun nik-keo-ya. (나는 니꺼야.): I'm yours.
Ppo-ppo-ha-go sip-eoyo. (뽀뽀하고 싶어요.): I want to kiss you.
Na-lang gyeol-hon hae-jwo. (나랑 결혼 해줘.): Marry me.
Ready to Get Out There?
Even if you aren't interested in dating or romance, these are just a few great phrases to listen for while watching romantic Korean movies or listening to Korean love songs. By familiarizing yourself with how to flirt in Korean, you will improve your listening skills.
If you're still not feeling confident speaking these phrases aloud, don't worry! Speechling tutors are here to help you one on one. You'll be flirting like a native speaker in no time.