We know these are the magic words you were looking for. The secret to dating in Spain is finally here.
Dating someone from a different culture sounds super fun, but it is also very challenging. I know that, and I think you might be very (very) interested on what some friends have to say about this special subject.
Save yourself some time and trouble by getting your head in the game earlier. Now…open your notes or get a piece of paper and pen. This time for real ‘cause you are not going to wanna mess this up. Let me immerse you in the dating culture of Spain and leave mysteries behind.
Little disclaimer! These are general traits and advice recollected from friends. But be smart! Once on your date, try to read the person’s body language to the situation. Be empathetic and it will go great.
For this post I asked 9 different people about dating Spanish women and men. And you’ll love what they have to say!
But I did more than that and I also went to ask real spaniards about how they celebrate Valentine’s Day. This is what they had to say:
1. Passion. Passion. Passion
Ever heard that Hispanic culture is more passionate? Completely true. Completely. True. People in Spain tend to be more open and warm than in other countries in Europe. For example, people from Nordic countries are known to be more reserved, individualistic and direct. So for them, dating a Spanish man or woman might come into a shock at first.
In Spain, we enjoy being with friends and family, and we are used to have more physical contact like greeting with two kisses. Some even say we have a very flirty way of interacting.
At leats that is what Marco, a 25 year old architect from Palencia, thinks is true. “We Spanish…we are natural flirters. Its just part of who we are”.
So, for those out there curious about dating in Spain, here is the thing: You are interacting with a different culture. Spanish men and women are warmer, louder, passionate and a bit (just a bit) temperamental. But, I mean, who isn’t from time to time?!
Now. Let’s go through some differences between dating Spanish girls and Spanish men.
When it comes to Spanish women you should know they are very direct and independent. It is very common in Spain for girls to make the first move. Also, most of them (and I am trying not to generalize) will show more affection on the first date, and they are not afraid of it.
That is actually something that surprised Luis, 22-year-old Colombian dating a Spanish girl. He advises ex-pats to remember that Spanish culture is different. “You should be direct and say what you feel, otherwise she will sense no trust”.
However, is it the same with guys?? Well…it depends. Some guys will be more passionate, and others might be a bit more shy. That is why is common for girls to make the first move.
Our friend Valentina, 22 years old working in Madrid, said that some of them might appear hard-to-get and cocky as if they were the last Coca- Cola in the desert.
2. Family Comes First
Yes. You read it right. In Spain, family and friends come first. I know it doesn’t sound appealing to some of you, but is true. For two reasons: a social culture and the financial crisis of 2008.
I know this might sound crazy, but hear me out! Spanish are very social people, and that means they enjoy spending a lot of time with their friends and family. If humans are social by nature, Spanish men and women are a prove of it times 5.
We even have a meal time, “la merienda”, that is very social. We use that time to meet with friends and family, to catch up while eating something sweet.
Now, you might be wondering, “what does the financial crisis has to do with this??” A lot of Spanish men and women live with their parents until their late twenties, even thirties, ‘cause its been hard for them to become financially independent.
So, here in Spain is very common if you start dating someone in their late twenties who still lives with their parents.
3. Dress to Impress
In Spain, its common to see men wearing formal outfits like beige pants, shirts and loafers to almost everywhere. The same happens with women, their dresscode is almost impeccable. So if you are used to wearing sweatpants, pijamas or flip flops to do some groceries, gotta let that behind!
Even though, we have a very open mind culture we believe first impressions matter. So, if you want to date in Spain, dress to impress in the first date.
Here you got more information and advice on our clothing style. Check it out to know what to wear, when to wear it and how to not look like a tourist.
A little warning, although Spanish people dress to impress, they take their time and might be late most of the time.
It is so common that our friend Helena, 22 years old from Almeria, says that to impress her you MUST be well dressed and punctual. Take note of that!
4. Everything Comes with a Twist
I know I got you with this one. It sounds contradictory but I have my reasons. So, remember I told you most women were direct and not afraid to make the first move or that men are passionate? It’s true, but it comes with a twist for both men and women.
So, when it comes to Spanish men, our friend Victoria, 24 years old from Ecuador, recommends us to empty your cup before any date. “Go without expectations! Maybe you go out with him and his friends and barely talk in the whole night”.
So, even though Spanish culture is known for their passion, the relationship might evolve without you knowing it. To the point you wouldn’t even know what you are. I mean, you won’t know if you’re each other’s official boyfriend or girlfriend until one dares ot ask.
Now…when it comes to women, Romero, 21 years old from Málaga, says Spanish women are direct BUT within their social circle. So, he would recommend to go slow, get to know her and BE interested. If you are not, she is not going to be so open for someone from a totally different culture than hers.
5. Apps and Final Advices
What else is there to know about the dating culture in Spain? People here really like dating apps. Not only ‘cause it facilitates meeting people with similar interests or that you simply like…it’s actually for something else.
Alba, 21 years old from Madrid, puts it in very simple words: “In Spain the concept of ‘dating’ doesn’t really exist, is more a kind of hooking up culture”.
Again, there are plenty of exceptions to this rule. But, in places like Madrid or Barcelona you might find yourself with a lot of people that are looking to have fun…nothing long-term.
If you do decide to go for apps like Tinder or Bumble, follow the advice of our wise friend Juan, 22 years old from Pamplona. “In Spain is better if you ask someone out for a beer than coffee. Its common and it looks better”.
Once you get a date from the apps, just be yourself! That is what María Cristina, 21 years old Domican, advices when it comes to dating Spaniards.
“Be yourself, be interest and share bits of your culture”.
Besides that, she told me there is NO way a date could be boring in places like Madrid. There is a lot you can do. From a date in the park, to having a beer in a nice bar from Malasaña, to a fancy dinner in Serrano. You choose!
I believe that’s all the wise advice I got on dating in Spain. We also have weird but charming expressions such as “¡Estás mejor que el pan!” (You’re better than bread). If you ever receive this comment…remember… its actually a compliment. I promise it is. I mean we LOVE bread, I think I left that pretty clear when I talked about our meals. The point is, if we think you are better than bread, is a great sign!
Remember that dating in Spain is about flowing. Our culture can be a little laid-back and that may include many things just like chill dates with the other person’s friends. We like to be direct and passionate but not everyone is in a rush to label their relationships in life.
Keep in mind: be open to the warmth of the culture, understand we are very social people, we have impeccable taste for dressing, and you must be patiente with our life schedule. Some of us will never change and we are almost always, definitely, be late. Knowing all of this will get you through a date successfully!