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The Unspoken Rules of Dating in English in America

Lindsay: This is an All Ears English Podcast, Episode 58: Meeting Monday, “TheUnspoken Rules of Dating in English in America.”

[Instrumental]

Gabby: Welcome to the All Ears English Podcast, where you’ll finally get real, native English conversation. Now here are your hosts, Lindsay McMahon, the ‘English Adventurer’ and Gabby Wallace, the ‘Language Angel,’ coming to you from Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Do they love you? Find out in today’s episode.

[Instrumental]

Gabby: Hey Lindsay. How’s it going?

Lindsay: Good Gabby. How are you?

Gabby: I’m doing great. Thank you.

Lindsay: (Mm-hm).

Gabby: So today’s episode is pretty juicy.

Lindsay: Juicy. Totally juicy.

We have actually some questions that we’re going to answer, questions from you guys, our listeners, about dating rules in the US.

Lindsay: Because of course, Valentine’s Day is coming up…

Gabby: Yes.

Lindsay: …at the end of this week.

Gabby: Yes, so you better know these rules before you go out with anybody. So we have a few different questions that are all, (you know), related to the unspoken rules of dating that we’re going to answer for you guys here. First question is “How do you tell someone that you like them?” So what’s – (I mean), I, I would say just be direct.

Lindsay: Just be direct.

Gabby: Say “I like you.”

Lindsay: Just be brave. It’s not always easy.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: (Um) you could say you really like spending time with them.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: That’s another way to say it.

Gabby: “I like hanging out with you.”

Lindsay: (Mm-hm).

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: (You know).

Gabby: “I like your company.”

Lindsay: Exactly.

And those are actually better than just saying directly “I like you.” It’s, it’s, it’s fine to say “I like you,” but (like) it depends on the context. And I agreeLindsay this, (you know), “I like spending time with you” sounds…Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: …a little smoother if you want to be a…

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: …cool cat.

Lindsay: You gotta (got to) be smooth if you wanna (want to)…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …(you know), score a girlfriend or boyfriend, so.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Okay. So the next question is how do you know if someone likes you?

Gabby: Oh boy, this is where it gets tricky because everyone’s different right?

Lindsay: (Mm-hm).

Gabby: But we do have some ideas, (you know), especially culturally to know if an American likes you.

Lindsay: Yes. One thing – obviously we communicate a lot by text, so one thing is that if you’re getting, (you know), text messages from the person often…Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Right.

Gabby: Personal text messages.

Lindsay: Personal, as opposed to group text messages?

Gabby: Yeah. Well, (like) I get a lot of text messages from people who are promoting parties (like)…Lindsay: Oh yeah. Okay.

Yeah, (like), “Come to this club tonight,” (you know). That person doesn’t like me.

Lindsay: Right. Right. Right.

Gabby: They want me to go and pay for, (you know), my entrance into the club.

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: Totally different.

Lindsay: And I would say if they text you, if they return your text quickly…Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …that means something.

Gabby: Totally. Another thing, (um), if you do go out to eat or for coffee, (you know), if the person tries to offer to pay for you, that’s a nice sign.

Lindsay: Right. And if, if the person is always suggesting that you “go Dutch,” which is an expression I think we learned in an earlier podcast…Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …then that probably means that they’re not interested; they want to keep it on an acquaintance (sort of) level.

Gabby: Yeah. (I mean) paying for you is not always an indicator that they like you. (I mean) if you go out for a coffee with a coworker and they pay for your coffee, it doesn’t mean that they love you…Lindsay: Right.

Gabby: …it means that they’re just being professional.

Lindsay: Definitely.

Gabby: Yeah. So anyway, another indicator is if they invite you out in the firstplace. So, (um), again it doesn’t mean for sure that they like you because like I said, (I mean), your boss could invite you out for coffee. That doesn’t mean anything.

Right.

Gabby: So, it’s maybe a good sign, but again, just…

Lindsay: Check it out.

Gabby: Yeah. You have to look at the big picture and the person and the context.

Lindsay: And also when the person really listens to what you’re saying and they remember important things. For example, if you say you have an interview the next week…Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …and then that person remembers and they might call you or send you an email…Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …and say “Hey. Good luck.” (You know).

Gabby: Absolutely. Things that are going on in your life, (you know), when your birthday is…Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: …(you know) how many sisters and brothers you have. All different things.

Lindsay: Specific things you wouldn’t remember about the average friend or acquaintance.

Gabby: Yeah. Totally. Cool. So the next question is similar, but how do you know when someone is not interested and they don’t like you.

Lindsay: Yeah. Okay. So what’s the first one Gabby?

Gabby: Well it has to do with texting. If they don’t text you for a long time, they’re probably not that interested.

Lindsay: Trying to – that’s sort of a way of – an indirect way of sending a sign.

Gabby: Yeah.

If you send them a text on (like) a Monday and they write you back on a Wednesday afternoon, you might wanna (want to) think about moving on.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: Agreed. (Um) another one is if they wait until the last minute to ask you out, (like), if it’s, (like) right now let’s say for example it’s 6 pm on a Saturday night and you get a text saying “Hey, you wanna (want to) go out with me tonight?” That means “Sorry, but you’re the last choice.”Lindsay: Last resort, we can say in English.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Well that’s sort of insulting. I think.

Gabby: Yeah. (I mean) some people like to be spontaneous, but let’s be real. If they really liked you, they’d plan ahead.

Lindsay: They’d think about you on a Tuesday.

Gabby: Right.

Lindsay: (Um) also avoiding extended eye contact. So in, in American culture specifically, extended eye contact can mean romantic interest.

Gabby: But not always.

Lindsay: Not always.

Gabby: We have to put a caveat on this. (Like) if you’re in a job interview, youneed to look the interviewer in the eye. You need to have eye contact. Not extended, extended without blinking forever, but, (you know), if you have eye contact, that shows confidence. It doesn’t show that, (you know), you’re romantically interested in your interviewer, but like Lindsay’s saying, (you know), if someone’s interested in you, they will look you in the eye. If they’re not interested, they will probably avoid your eye contact.

Definitely. Especially if they see that you’re trying to make that eye contact.

Gabby: (Mm-hm).

Lindsay: Okay. (Um)…

Gabby: Group dates. This is another really big topic, (like), a difference between – especially (like) I lived in Japan and we, we would do group dates, (um), where (you know), maybe three men or four men and three or four women would all go out in a group and this is a good way to sort of date (um) and introduce your friends to potential dates, but we don’t do this in the US as much. I mean you might go out with a group of people, but it’s more just a group of friends and it’s not really so much about dating. So if you ask someone out and they say “Oh, (you know), let’s not date individually, let’s go out as a group.”Lindsay: Right.

Gabby: They’re kind of avoiding you.

Lindsay: Yeah. I would, I would agree with that. I would say they’re kind of avoiding the romantic connection or they’re just (like) lacking in confidence and they want a few opportunities to see you in a group, so they don’t have to…Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: But it’s probably the first one that you said, that they’re not interested.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Yeah. And so that pretty much wraps it up for dating advice. Can you think of anything else that we need to (uh) we want to help you guys out with?

Gabby: Well the person who asked the question, (you know), made a comment that, (you know), in other countries, like in China, the guys will ask a girl to be his girlfriend after the first date. That almost never happens in the US.

Lindsay: Way too early.

Gabby: Yeah. Typically we’ll date several times before having a talk about being girlfriend, boyfriend, or exclusive.

Lindsay: Definitely.

Gabby: We talked about this a little bit in a previous episode about, (you know), what it means to be dating versus in a relationship, exclusive, engaged, married, and so on, so, (you know), definitely go back and listen to that. I think it was second, or third, or fourth week, (uh) way, way back in the beginning in November, but yeah, there’s just, it’s very different culturally.

Lindsay: (Uh-hm). Definitely. Yeah. So check that – out that episode and (uh) enjoy your Valentine’s week.

Gabby: Yeah, we hope you have a great Valentine’s Day and (uh) just, (you know),have fun whatever you do, whoever you’re with. Enjoy it.

[Instrumental]

Gabby: Before we end today, we want to let you know about our special premium transcripts. You can purchase our premium transcripts for the whole month. We have November, December, and January available for you to check your listening comprehension. Make sure that you’re understanding every word we’re saying on this podcast. Build your vocabulary and you can learn independently or with a tutor using the premium transcripts.

You can find those at our website, www.allearsenglish.com/conversations.

[Instrumental]

Lindsay: Thanks for listening to the All Ears English Podcast. We’re here to help you learn English and you can help us by leaving a five star review on iTunes.

See you next time.

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