How to date the European way

The Eurovision Song Contest has got us thinking about the most dateable qualities of our European neighbours, which is why we’ve carried out some research to find out the top six characteristics we think are most appealing. While the rest of Europe agree that Brits have the best manners and sense of humour, the Italians have it when it comes to style and we just can’t compete with the French in the romance department.

But which characteristics are most important to you and how can you bring out these qualities in your everyday dating, regardless of where your date’s from? Our relationship experts share their advice on the matter, giving tips on what to watch out for and suggesting how you can start dating the European way!

British Sense of Humour – 31% of Europeans think Brits have the best sense of humour

The British sense of humour is loaded with sarcasm and self-deprecation, and often delivered in a dead-pan style. Brits are renowned for their quick, witty remarks and many find them charming.

What to watch out for: Scared of appearing over-emotional Brits can use wit to mask their real feelings. Don’t assume a flippant comment is meaningless – even if the delivery is humorous, the remark is likely to be heartfelt.

Kate Taylor advice: Men and women both love a date who’s funny and entertaining, but don’t panic that this means you have to crack sparkling one-liners all evening. Simply enjoying your date’s jokes, and seeing life in a light-hearted manner is enough to earn you the title of GSOH.

James Preece advice: Flirty banter is the secret to making sure you have a successful date that leads to another. Some light teasing can work wonders as long as you do it in a playful way. This will make them laugh and is a great signal that you are interested in them.

French Romance – 44% of Europeans think the French are the most romantic

The French are famed for their passionate, tactile natures. Their capital city is synonymous with love, and is the setting for countless romantic movies. They even have a passionate kiss named after them. Ooh la la!

What to watch out for: Don’t mistake flattery for genuine interest. Finding someone who seems madly enthralled with you on the first date is sweet, but real romance is built over time. Look for actions to back up those très romantique words, ne c’est pas?

Kate Taylor advice: Sprinkle some French charm onto all your daily interactions, and you’ll soon see why we are so hooked on it. It makes life far more colourful and fun. Start using compliments more often and why not be brave and go in for that goodbye kiss.

James Preece advice: Romance is about the little details and not just grand gestures. It’s letting your date know you are thinking about them and making them feel special. Text them between dates to let them know they are in your thoughts.

Italian Cooking – 39% of Europeans think the Italians are the best cooks

Considered by some as the “food of love”, Italian cooking is characterised by its simplicity, and the chefs rely on the quality of the fresh, delicious ingredients rather than on elaborate presentation.

What to watch out for: Heavier Italian food like pizza and pasta is a passion-killer – the high-carb content bloats your waistline and leaves you sleepy and sluggish. (Why do you think Italians have a siesta after lunch?) Steer clear of these on dates, and choose lighter, fresher options like big salads and Mediterranean meats, cheeses and veg.

Kate Taylor advice: Why not try cooking an Italian meal together? It lets you interact in a relaxed way and creates a natural atmosphere to talk. (We know how Italians love to talk!) So, cook at home with your date or, if you’re looking to meet someone new, sign-up for a cookery class at one of our socials.

James Preece advice: Cooking is a very attractive skill to learn to impress your date. Women love a man who can cook at it’s a way of showing they can look after themselves. Make sure you go easily on the garlic though!

Spanish Dancing – 60% of Europeans think the Spanish have the best moves on the dance floor

Strumming guitars, pounding heels, tossing hair and colourful couples circling one another – is there anything more passionate than Spanish dancing? Much of its allure comes from the tension that builds up between the dancers as they move towards and then away from one another.

What to watch out for: Dancing lessons are a great way for people to get to know each other better, but remember the goal is fun, not perfection. You’re not on Strictly! Just enjoy yourself without taking it too seriously.

Kate Taylor advice: Dancing with another person raises your body’s levels of endorphins and oxytocin – both of which boost feelings of attraction and trust. Any form of dancing is great as long as your bodies are close together.

James Preece advice: The Spanish aren’t afraid of being tactile and dancing is a fantastic way to do this. You’ll be able to stare deeply into each other’s eyes and there will be plenty of opportunity for some subtle flirting.

British Good Manners – 32% of Europeans think Brits have the best social etiquette

Britain’s class system has bred an almost unique form of etiquette, making us famous for our politeness and decorum.

What to watch out for: The aim of manners is just to make people feel good in your presence. So use them to help social situations go smoothly, not to make anyone feel alienated. Resist the temptation to point out others’ breach of social etiquette; instead, let your own perfect manners set an example.

Kate Taylor advice: Decorum isn’t a dying art – our annual LoveGeist reports always reveal that bad manners (rudeness, lateness, or awful table manners) are a huge turn-off among daters. A little politeness goes a long way to securing that second date.

James Preece advice: Good manners are your chance to show respect and that you are comfortable in all social situations. People do pay attention to the little things like opening the door for your date, arriving on time and offering to split the bill so try to be the most polite version of yourself on a first date.

Italian Style – 37% of Europeans think Italians have the best sense of style

Prada, Gucci, Valentino – Italy has produced some of the world’s leading fashion houses, and Milan is the capital of style. Italian fashion is distinctive in its appearance, defined by its silhouette and classic lines, some would say they’re the best dressed on the planet.

What to watch out for: As attraction is so often based on appearance, dressing well remains a vitally important part of dating. Don’t be too flamboyant in your choice of date outfits. It’s not the time to take risks with your look. Remember your date will care about getting to know you, not your wardrobe (or size of your wallet).

Kate Taylor advice: Whatever your budget, choose clothes that flatter your own body shape, hair and skin. Designer labels are well-made, but they won’t get you a date if they leave you too broke to leave the house. Visit vintage shops and online auctions to snare big-names at small prices, and always opt for outfits that show who you are, not the person who designed them.

James Preece advice: If you dress well then you’ll make a great first impression as it will show you care about how you look. The Italians call this “La Bella Figura” (the beautiful figure) and it’s a way of life for them. You don’t need to go overboard but wear something you feel attractive and comfortable in.