Editor’s note: This post was updated on January 30, 2018. The original post was published on April 14, 2014.
Finding out if you’re compatible with a Colombian woman can be a complicated endeavor, just like anywhere. There is no one way to woo them because of individual personalities and all the variables you encounter.
There’s also a lot of cultural nuance involved in dating as a foreigner in Colombia. So if you’re serious about dating paisa girls, I recommend Dating Medellín’s exhaustive guide to meeting women in Medellin.
In this article, I’m simply going to tell you some of my own observations from nearly three years living here, as well as information I’ve gathered from male and female friends.
Well, let’s get started.
Go beyond the nightclubs
I’m not saying it can’t happen, I’m just saying it’s less likely.
If you are planning to meet a woman at a club, a salsa club is probably the best kind of venue. Women are typically there to dance to music that does not encourage them to grind with you, as reggaeton does.
Ask a woman at the salsa club to dance. If you don’t know how, she’ll teach you. Afterward, try to talk to her.
Other people have had success with online dating sites or introductions through mutual friends.
You can also meet a different kind of girl by going to the theater or other cultural events around Medellín.
My friend Tatiana, the pretty and popular receptionist at The Wandering Paisa, met her boyfriend while she was waiting to see a play. They’ve been together four years.
Ready to give speed dating a try? Check out Colombia’s most popular speed dating site!
Punctuality is uncommon
You can’t really expect a woman to be on time in Colombia. It’s hard to expect anybody to be on time in Colombia.
Punctuality is just not part of the social culture, though official business like school and work seem to always start right on time.
You’ll just have to learn to be patient. Or try a couple of tricks.
Here’s a good one, courtesy of my friend Jessie, a Miami native born to Ecuadorian parents who now has a paisa girlfriend: “If you want to meet up at 7 p.m., set the date for 6:15. If she tells you she’s on the way, that means she’s about to take a shower.”
It is, of course, better than another scenario when they change their mind and don’t bother to call, leaving you waiting and wondering.
Chaperone companion is somewhat common
When your date arrives, she might have someone with her.
I know, you’re thinking, “That’s not a date,” but in Colombia, it can be.
Sometimes they bring friends to feel safe, sometimes because parents mandate it.
I know this can be annoying, just like paying for a woman’s taxi can seem ridiculous, but you have to decide what’s best for you.
My preference? That a woman doesn’t bring a friend and pays for her own taxi. Not saying either is a deal breaker, but in most cases I’ll move on if there’s a big gap in our expectations.
Don’t be shy, but don’t overwhelm them with attention
The secret is out. Women in Medellín are pretty.
They are used to getting attention all the time, so if you shower her with it, she might lose interest quickly.
At the same time, if you don’t show her enough, she can easily find someone who will.
You can usually tell when a woman is interested, either by the way they flirt with you or stare at you, or, in some cases, when they make the first move by telling you directly that they like you, sometimes with a kiss.
Other times, it’s harder to tell, which leads me to…
Don’t be presumptuous, and play it cool
Just because you’re a foreigner, doesn’t mean they all want to sleep with you.
Some guys will actually try lines like, “Q mamasita?” or “Cómo estás, hermosa?” The woman will probably roll her eyes.
Basic small talk is the best way to go in the beginning. Like most places, Colombian women are attracted to a mix of confidence and mystery.
When in doubt, just go up to someone you like and introduce yourself in polite, confident Spanish.
That brings me to…
Your Spanish is more important than the way you look
Quality women want to be able to have a conversation with you, a good one.
You should be able to talk about something interesting, maybe a book you read recently or a great place you traveled to, maybe something you saw on the news the day before.
Mix in some harmless jokes too. Laughter is always a good thing. If she’s laughing, she’s having a good time.
In many cases, this means you have to speak Spanish, and let’s face it, you should be learning the language if you’re living in Medellín, not just to talk to women.
Don’t hit on women who are obviously taken
This can get you into serious trouble. Maybe a jealous boyfriend won’t kill you, but acid attacks are on the rise here and that would be an unpleasant fate for trying to win the affections of someone in a relationship.
I understand there are cases in which you will not know. A friend of mine found out a woman he was seeing has a boyfriend when they got back from a lunch date and he was waiting for her at the salon where she works.
“Did you know we’re a couple,” the guy asked, and my friend said, “No,” and then he left and never talked to her again. No problem. Not his fault.
But I witnessed one incident where a Colombian woman was kissing someone at an event that caters to foreigners, and one of those foreigners still hit on her. What a moron.
Maybe she said, “It’s nothing serious,” but that doesn’t matter. Ask! Another foreigner did. The guy’s response? “We’re figuring things out right now,” a polite way to say, “Have some respect and don’t interfere.”
Shower every day
I know, you’re backpacking, you’re running around trying to see the sights. That’s not an excuse.
Hygiene is a big deal in Medellín so if you want to compete with the Colombian guys and other foreigners, shower at least once a day, twice if you had to do something that caused you to sweat throughout the day.
The women here like guys who smell nice. Just don’t take it too far and overload the cologne like some paisa guys do. The concept of less is more is lost on a lot of them.
Ditch the flip-flops, but don’t overdo your outfit
Nice jeans and a cool T-shirt are fine. You don’t need slacks and a collared shirt. Save that stuff for the special occasions.
You’ll probably find Medellín style to be more casual than major cities in other parts of the world, but many foreigners take it too far. You are not at the beach. Medellín is a busy urban environment.
I love seeing Colombians’ jaws drop in horror as some tourist with dirty bare feet passes them on the sidewalk.
So don’t go barefoot, and leave the flip-flops and shorts at home if you want to make a strong impression on the ladies.
For dates, start with something simple and classy
Taking your paisa date to one of the most posh restaurants in town on a first date is a questionable approach.
With some women, this means you’re setting the bar too high. They might expect each date to be like this from here on out, or think they have the upper hand.
With others, you’re trying too hard or trying to show off. They don’t like that either.
The best approach is probably the middle road. Take her to something low-key with a very social vibe. (Mercado del Rio in Poblado is a great example of this type of environment, filled with young professionals, students and couples.) See this article and this one for some additional suggestions.
Good luck out there, guys!!
I mentioned it above, but if you’ve got some time in Medellín and you really want to make the most of your romantic opportunities, Dating Medellín has put together an excellent guide.
Looking to increase your options with online dating? Or get started meeting women even before arriving in Colombia? Then check out the number one Colombian dating site, Colombian Cupid!
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