7 Things Tinder Taught Me About French Men

March 10, 2015
7 Things Tinder Taught Me About French Men

Left, left, left.

Ooh, he’s kind of cute. Maybe? No, wait, all his photos are selfies and he has this one on here twice. Never mind.

Left, left, left.

What about this guy? He’s cute and he’s got a guitar. We can bond over being musical if nothing else. Going right on this one.

Left, left.

Wow, he’s gorgeous. I’m swiping right just to see if he swiped right on me too.

If you’re on Tinder, you’re probably familiar with this thought process; this is generally my experience every time I open it. For those who are unfamiliar, Tinder is a mobile app for dating. You choose attractive photos of yourself, write a short biography, and then begin swiping: right on people you want to match with, left on those you don’t. It’s entirely based on physical attractiveness, and it’s shallow and ridiculous yet incredibly entertaining.

I downloaded the app shortly after arriving in Paris, France. After never finding it appealing back home, I was convinced by a friend that it would be a good way to make make friends here, as au-pairs are predominantly female.

My friends and I have met many French men through Tinder, and thus have learned a few things about the dating culture as a result:

7 Things Tinder Taught Me About French Men

1. The French don’t waste time

If a Frenchman wants you, you’ll know it. While many on the app will never initiate conversation or will chat for awhile until one of you decides you’re not interested, the ones who want to see you will ask you out. I’ve met guys in bars as well and once was approached on the metro. However, if they decide they want to meet you in person, they’ll make a move. If he doesn’t do so within a few days, move on.

2. They play it cool

On a few of my dates, I had trouble reading the mind of the man sitting across from me. Some dates seemed like they would love to see me again, and then I never heard from them. Others were rather quiet and aloof and then would make their move with an unmistakable gesture—either going in for the kiss at the end of the night or asking for a second date right away. Even if it seems like they’re not feeling it, it’s definitely possible that you’ll still end up having the romantic French encounter you’ve always (not-so-secretly) wanted.

A few of mine include nighttime walks in the rain along the Seine, being kissed on a bridge with the Eiffel Tower behind us, riding around the city on the back of a scooter, and strolling hand in hand on the love lock bridge. It was all insanely romantic, but I never would have discovered that had I written them off as being disinterested.

3. You need to discuss expectations

For the French, kissing can signify the beginning of a relationship. If you’re going out with someone and kissing them, it means you’re in an exclusive, monogamous relationship. That is, IF you have established that what you’re both looking for, and often the way that’s established is by not discussing it at all. Not every French guy I’ve kissed has been looking for that, and most of those who weren’t have told me.

I always take care to clarify it with them now, though, after briefly dating a guy who was relationship-minded, about which I wasn’t fully aware until drunkenly asking him outside of a bar at 4 in the morning after we’d been together for a couple of weeks. Yes, it was awkward and could have been avoided had we had the conversation earlier.

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4. Sex can make or break it

Obviously sex is an important factor of any relationship. Sexual compatibility is very important in French dating culture and will be one of the first deciding factors in whether or not the relationship will work out. Here, if you don’t sleep with someone, they take that to mean that you’re not actually interested in them. Waiting to sleep with someone has the same effect.

I recommend waiting a bit if you want to make sure he’ll stick around, but don’t wait too long or your Frenchman will assume a lack of compatibility and find someone else.

5. Pay attention to his friends

One thing I’ve found when dating in Paris is that if he’s even remotely serious about you, you’ll meet his friends early on. On one second date, we went to meet my date’s friends at a bar after dinner. Another time, we got a group of his friends and a group of my friend together for a night out. A French guy’s group of friends are his backbone, and lacking their approval is as much of a dealbreaker as sexual incompatibility.

6. Hookup culture is definitely a thing

Though most of the men I’ve met have been wonderful, the majority haven’t been looking for a relationship. Additionally, the younger they are, the less likely they are to be looking for something serious. Of course, this isn’t to say that good relationships can’t be found via Tinder, in fact, I have several friends who are in serious relationships with French men they met on Tinder.

If you’re there temporarily or to study abroad you can certainly have a wonderful, whirlwind romance with a Frenchman, however, remember to manage your expectations and just know what you’re getting yourself into.

7 Things Tinder Taught Me About French Men.

7. Know that communication is vital

The problems I have encountered have mainly stemmed from a lack of openness between me and my partner. Some French men I’ve dated have never been to the States and don’t understand American culture enough to understand where I’m coming from.

When dating cross-culturally, not only do you have to get used to the norms of a new dating culture, but your partner must also adapt to the fact that they are dating a woman who has been raised to ascribe to a whole different set. Misunderstandings are bound to happen. This is why communication is absolutely the most important factor in the success of any relationship, especially one with a foreigner.


Have you dated French men? What were your impressions? Email us at [email protected] for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you. Photo by Unsplash.

About Emily Jackson

Currently working as an au pair in Paris, France, Emily loves to take photos, sing, and drink French wine. She spent four months in Geneva, Switzerland during university studying international relations, so when she didn’t want to go to grad school directly following graduation, going back to Europe seemed like the best option. Follow her travel adventures on her blog or on Instagram.

34 thoughts on “7 Things Tinder Taught Me About French Men

  1. Lisa
    November 3, 2020

    I have lived in different countries im about to move to france and am looking forward to being there and having more culture than we now have in the uk, im english and single and happy to be moving to france, every person is different ive had good and poor experiences in different cultures i hope this is positive. Ive learnt alot of lessons and wont be making the mistakes ive made in the past….

  2. Erin
    February 18, 2020

    Hello! I started chatting with a French man who was surprisingly polite even though we both wanted to only hookup. I am in the United States while he is in France but travels for his job. He is coming to The States this spring but he ended up texting me daily and asking me questions about myself besides only for photos or facetime which is a huge surprise because men don’t do that out in America! Even after our FaceTime sessions he would want to talk. It made my heart melt…

    Shame I’m not ready for a real relationship. But how I would love one with a French man such as this! (In time)

  3. Anky
    April 7, 2019


    I was dating a french guy in France. We both are of same age 29 yrs. We had a quite nice time here. We went on a trip together for 3 days. We were meeting every weekend and communicating daily about our activities in a day.
    One day, suddenly he came up with the news that after 15 days he is moving to Hong Kong. We spent quite a lot of time together before he left. but I was surprised to know about his move all of a sudden. He told me he was not sure of it that’s why he didn’t mention it to me.
    We decided to be in a long-distance relationship and see how it evolves. I mentioned him quite clearly that if we really want to see the potential, we both need to put efforts and communicate well. Otherwise, there would be a problem.
    and I also gave him the freedom to break up with me now, if he wants. As I was upset and crying and I was the one who proposed the Long distance thing. So I didn’t want him to sympathize with me and continue anything without heart. In response, he said he likes me very much and have strong feelings for me. He moved to HK and since then we have very few conversations. Normally I initiated the conversations and he mentioned that sorry for not messaging you much. He has been very busy with projects, house hunting and other challenges. After 15 days, he got the apartment. I was trying to share light stuff to make him feel light and inspirational messages about him. he was happy to see those of it.

    But now even after getting an apartment, he is not the one to initiate the message. He stopped sending morning and night messages. Even if he initiates, it’s quite normal. Not sharing much stuff from his side.
    When I ask him about travelling somewhere with me, he says yes.
    On the other hand, I guess, he was not so convinced in calling me as his gf. Though we were going out publically and even kissed publically.

    I am so confused about it. Whether he really wants to be in long distance with me or not? Is he really busy as it’s not even a month?
    Should I ask him clearly now that whether he wants to continue with it or not? Or should I wait for a few more days and then ask him?

    Coincidentally, I am attending a conference in July in Hong Kong but I didn’t tell about it to him yet.

    Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks.

  4. Amanda
    December 2, 2018

    I have started dating a French man a few about 8 months ago in New Jersey. He seems to be serious about getting into a serious relationship but seems like his kids are always in the way. When we are together his kids cannot spend 30 minutes without texting him. I know my boundaries and I respect it, however, I know kids are kids but if I am only spending 1 day of the weekend with him he should manage a way to let us have 1 un-interrupted day together. Anyway, why am I begging for one day when he is the one who should beg me? I don’t have a situation like that at all. Should I take him seriously when he said he really wants to be with me but yet he can’t even plan a good full day together?

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