First: Forget the word “dating" because it doesn’t exist in French dictionaries! Ollivier says the closest word they have is “sortir,” which means “to go out.” It’s because from the French point of view, Americans treat dating like a “confessional,” where we lay out all our needs on the first date, like how many kids we want, or that we’ve always dreamed of a winter wedding. But the French tend to be more casual when they meet someone new. As she puts it, they prefer the “slow burn” to the “big reveal” until they’re in a relationship.
To put that another way: Don’t date with goals. Ollivier says we North Americans tend to go into new relationships with a list of questions about the outcome like: “Where is this going?” or “Could she be The One?”But the French are more likely to go with the flow, and just enjoy the experience of being with someone who makes them happy.
Another relationship secret from the French: Follow your heart, not your head. Ollivier says North Americans spend too much time worrying about the “dos and don’ts” of relationships, like “Don’t call him back too soon, because you’ll seem desperate.” She says rules like that imply that you can predict and control relationships, which you can’t! That’s why the French ask one simple question when it comes to relationships: “Do I feel passion for this person?” Because as long as your answer is always “yes,” then you won’t feel like a failure if the relationship doesn’t work out because you can walk away with your emotional integrity intact!