This is one of the most common misunderstood and poorly executed things I see when foreigners interact with Korean girls. The two most common mistakes I see on a regular basis will be delineated below.
Flirting with Korean Girls – Mistake 1 – Too Keen/Too Intentful
I often see foreign men leaning in, being very touchy-feely, and overly intentful in their verbal expression . That is not to see that a light amount of touch or contextual physicality is not a good thing. Nor does it mean complementing a girl is off limits, however the more you appear to be touchy feely- overly verbally complimenting – overly into her the least likely things will work on between you and the girl. Koreans typically classify this behavior as 느끼해 (Oily, Greasy, Gross).
Flirting with Korean Girls – Mistake 2 – Being too friendly/polite
Another extremely common issue is being overly supplicating, polite, and overly friendly. They think by asking the girl if she has time, what she would like to eat today, if she would like to come home with them is being polite and that being a “nice guy” pays off. Caring for the girl is certainly important and so is being empathetic – but being too formal and polite rather than assuming attraction and leading will get you nowhere. Being friendly is also a good trait, but without leadership and flirtation it also leads to “friends or language partners.”
Well that begs the question…How should I be flirting with Korean girls?
First of all it’s important to understand that flirtation ultimately comes down to how you communicate. You can talk about any explicit topic but implicitly flirt by using your voice tone, eye contact, and proximity to her. You can be talking about food yet talk slowly – seductively, keeping eye contact, smirking or looking at her lips, and holding tension. You can also break tension simply by pulling away, looking away, or going into more of a friendly chit chat. Attraction is basically created in the friction and oscillation of these moments – no tension and you go nowhere – too much tension or pressure and you scare her away or come off as 느끼해 (Greasy). The trick is to feel it out, pay attention to her emotional state and body language, and adjust accordingly. If the vibe is too friendly apply more implicit flirtation – if she is too tense or tenses up – pull back.
Verbal or explicit flirting is also useful at times. Verbal compliments on something unique about her look, fashion or vibe can be good but can easily be detrimental if they are generic compliments (I like your style) or overly used (thus becoming meaningless). Ideally you compliment on something unique about either her look or personality or a trait she displays.
Example: I like your commes de garcon shoes, they remind me of when I was in Osaka. You must have been to the flagship store there too right.
너의 꼼데가르송 운동화 좋아요. 오사카에 있었을때 생각나네요. 저기 본점 가봤겠죠.
Compliments have more meaning when they are unique, show that you noticed something different, and are used sparingly. Another useful way to frame compliments are by verbalizing what effect something about her has on you.
Your Korean is easy to understand, I makes me feel comfortable talking in Korean.
너의 한국어 알아듣기 좋네요. 너랑 한국어 편하게 말하수 있을거같아요.
Physicality can also be effective when flirting with Korean girls but I find that most people over do it (i.e. holding hands, making sexual advances in public). Korean girls generally feel self consciousness or judged when being overtly escalated on in public on a daytime approach, date, or most settings outside of a night club or western dive bar. Therefore it is best to keep physicality to a playful or silly level even before bringing her to yours. Things like playful nudges, pushes during a tease or checking out her rings/nails (contextual physicality). That being said in night clubs or dive bars being physical can help and is almost necessary in certain contexts – for example leading the girl around a crowded area by grabbing her hand, grabbing and talking in her ear and so on.
If you want to learn more in-depth useful tips like this about flirting with Korean girls, dating, texting, cultural nuances, and relationships – check out the new Pickup Korea FAQ Cheat Sheet and the fully comprehensive Pickup Korea Ebook.