Trouble meeting new people, and a 2-time two-timerQ. Since arriving in Korea to work, I’ve been to bars and parties that have attracted young Koreans. What I found strange was that Koreans almost never talk to strangers at these places unless they are introduced to them by another person. So the whole time people just talked to the group they came with. I tried to approach some people, but they were unfriendly or gave me strange looks, acting as if I had done something wrong. Before coming to Korea, I had looked forward to meeting new people. How do Koreans make new friends?
A. Even in situations that seem familiar to Westerners, most Koreans are not used to socializing in Western ways. Most Koreans meet and go out with people they have met through personal introductions, and there are various kinds of blind dates among singles. So, start telling people you know that you would like to be introduced to their friends. To make new friends, many Koreans join online clubs, whose members frequently organize offline meetings and events. And because many Koreans feel that they need an introduction, for a flat fee waiters at Korean-style night clubs will act as brokers, bringing potential dates to your table at your request. The Korean social scene is changing, but, of course, the changes are not going to happen overnight.
Q. I found out my boyfriend cheated on me for the second time. I’m very angry and feel like breaking off our two-year relationship, but I haven’t made a move yet. I’m a 26-year-old Korean-American, and my older sisters, who are married with children, advised me that it is “normal” for men to cheat at least a few times in their life and that if I break up with him, I’ll regret it. He is a very eligible bachelor, a smart financier, who is also handsome and sociable. I do love him, and I want to be happy with him. But at the same time, I don’t want to get hurt anymore. What should I do?
A.It sounds like you spent more time talking about your problem with your sisters than with your boyfriend, the person who is causing your heartache. It also sounds like you’re letting other people run your life. You need to make your own choices about your personal happiness. Stop listening to your sisters and your boyfriend for a moment and ask yourself a couple of questions: What do you want out of your life? Will staying with your boyfriend help you achieve your ambitions? He is apparently doing whatever he pleases. Perhaps it’s time you start doing the same.
by Ines Cho
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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