When it comes to dating, times are changing — and no, I’m not talking about the latest app or trendy millennial dating trend. The days of our parents’ generation, where you’d meet someone in your local area from a similar cultural background, fall in love and get married, are fading into extinction.
A recent study from OkCupid found that singles in 2018 are much more open to breaking language barriers to find love. Could this be a sign that we’re all becoming increasingly open-minded when it comes to cross-cultural romance? (Because if that’s the case, I’m all for it.)
OkCupid worked with Rosetta Stone to collect nearly 700,000 responses to questions on love, language, and how they intersect, and found that most people don’t see speaking different languages as a real barrier when it comes to love. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: their Language of Love Report proves that singles are increasingly open to relationships with people who speak different languages and come from different countries.
As OkCupid recently wrote in their blog, “Today we find that people are turning away from an insular mindset, instead embracing the idea that interacting with people from other backgrounds is a good thing — in life in general, and in their love lives.”
This global perspective is reflected in the stats. Nearly two-thirds of participants said they could date someone who doesn’t speak their language well. Ninety-two percent of singles surveyed said they’re interested in learning another language, and 94% said they’re more open-minded after they’ve visited somewhere new.
When it comes to dating someone who doesn’t speak the same birth language, unsurprisingly it’s the younger generation that’s enthusiastically leading the pack. Millennials (18–36) reportedly are the most invested in love that crosses borders. While over half of both the 37-53 and 54+ age groups believe it is very important for a couple to come from the same country, less than one-third of millennials do.
As OkCupid notes, “Millennials are nearly 10% more likely to be open to dating someone who doesn’t speak their language well compared to non-millennials. And they’re actually the generation that responds most positively to all questions on language and love — from being interested in learning another language, to be more open-minded after traveling somewhere new.”
But it’s not just about willingness to date someone who speaks another language. The study found that in general, speaking another language is considered an attractive asset. When asked if they find someone who speaks another language more attractive than someone who does not, 73% of millennials responded “yes,” compared to 65% of those aged 37-53 and 53% of those 54 and above.
So, what does this mean for the future of online dating? Here’s a few things we can take away from the study and apply to our own love lives.
Geographic and language barriers are breaking down — and that’s a good thing.
For most people, finding love is a process and doesn’t always come easily. The fact that singles are willing to look beyond traditional linguistic and cultural barriers is a positive thing. If you’re not finding what you’re looking for in your local area, why not expand your search to include further-reaching locales?
As mentioned above, people who speak other languages are considered more attractive.
If you don’t already speak another language fluently, why not use this as an opportunity to brush up on your high school Spanish or learn a new language entirely? If you already speak another language or are interested in learning one, mention it in your profile. (Your interest in language might just help you meet someone special!)
Don’t limit yourself.
If there’s anything we can take away from this study, it’s that dating is becoming increasingly global. While certain world leaders are trying to build walls and create divisions, millennials are interested in doing exactly the opposite in their dating lives — and that’s a good thing! If someone doesn’t speak the same language as you very well, don’t automatically eliminate them as a prospect. Sometimes the most amazing connections happen when you’re willing to reach across barriers.