Dating people is hard. Dating people who are not from the same cultural background as you is harder. Mind you, it is entirely rewarding and great — just harder. There are things you should be aware of when dating someone who immigrated to the United States; things that are both helpful and sometimes weird. So get out a notepad and start taking copious notes.
In my experience as an immigrant, dating Americans is like dating anyone else, at least at first glance. It's scary at first because you don't know the person, but then it gets easier with time. After a little while, though, small differences start to pop up here and there. You notice that your childhood stories vary dramatically, your family dynamics are unexplainable, and you have very different taste in food. Those differences often make you more interesting, but can sometimes make you a bit intimidating.
So what are some things that you, as an American, should know before dating an immigrant? First, always be yourself and keep an open mind. If you are going to start the dating process off on the wrong foot, it obviously won't get any better. Also, be respectful of the differences between you and your partner. Sure, some things that they will tell you seem outrageous, but that's because you come from a different culture. Instead of being rude, try your best to understand and support the information given to you. After all, how can you expect to grow something out of nothing? Below are some things that Americans should know when dating an immigrant.
1. Our Families Are Everything
Since we are no longer in our birthplace, the closest we can come to is our families. That makes the bond between us extremely strong.
2. We Did Not Tell Our Parents About You ...Yet
We will not tell our parents about you for a little while. It's not because we don't like you, but because we are careful about who we bring to our family functions and gatherings. You are new, so we will wait to see if things are progressing.
3. We Like "Weird" Food
It's not all pizza and french fries at our house growing up. We had to eat food that you'll probably find weird — food that we will make you eat with us as a sign of solidarity.
4. You Don't Have To Like Everything We Do
Speaking of weird food — you do not need to like it. We know it's gross to eat cow tongue sometimes, so we will not force it on you. Just give it a good college try first!
5. We Are In Tune With World News
We will know everything about the world because we were taught to care from a young age. It's important to us to be conscious of what's going on outside the US, and if you stick with us, you'll probably end up absorbing it too.
6. We Are Sensitive To Certain Topics
Be aware that certain topics hit closer to home than others. The politics of immigration, for instance, is something we will have opinions on. But it's not just that — there are a lot of issues that we have different perspectives on, having grown up in a different country, so it the issues on our radar might seem surprising to you.
7. It's OK To Ask Us Questions ...
We like answering any question you might have! We love that you can be interested in things we find mundane.
8. ... But Don't Ask Everything All At Once
Just be aware that sometimes, if you ask too many questions, it starts to feel like an interview. No one wants to be a subject of a documentary on a first date.
9. We've Always Worried About Fitting In
Everyone goes through a period in their lives when they want to fit in. Immigrants feel that same yearning, and then some. We always wanted to fit in, but our cultural background made us different. We're learning to love ourselves and value our uniqueness, but sometimes, every now and then, we feel a little insecure.
10. Our Houses Will Be Decorated Very Differently
Rugs, statues, vases, knick-knacks — all things you will get to see if you are lucky enough to be let into our homes. They will be different. They may even shock you.
11. If You Meet Our Parents, Learn Some Of Our Language
Nothing makes you look like you're trying quite like learning a few words in our native language, and it'll take you 10 minutes tops.
12. We Will Talk About You In Another Language, In Front Of Your Face
If you hear people talking in a different language, they will most likely be talking about you. Just go with it. Act like you don't care and that you are not dying to find out what we are saying. (We promise we'll tell you later ... maybe.)
13. Do Not Take Us To Our Own Restaurants
A guy took me on a date to a Russian restaurant once. I applauded the effort, but ... dude, come on. I eat this food all the time, I don't want to go out and eat more of it!
14. We Will Ditch You For Our Family
Sorry. It's just what happens when you are as close with our family as we are. Not only will they be in our business, but they will also take us away from you at a moment's notice. If you're lucky enough to be a part of that family someday, then you'll learn to love it, too.
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