Dating in Berlin: Im Gegenteil – “Slow Dating” Rises

Berlin proves to be an exhilarating destination for those in search of a new adventure, particularly for the increasing number of expats from around the world choosing it as their residence. With its dynamic culture, vibrant nightlife, and thriving art scenes, Berlin has emerged as a hub for its many residents eager to explore Europe and connect with others along the way.

Yet, what kind of dating experience can you expect when navigating the Berlin dating scene? Let’s explore both real life and online dating opportunities in this amazing city.

German Dating Culture

The German approach to dating is characterized by a deliberate and measured pace, differing significantly from the passionate fervor found in countries like Italy and Spain. Germans opt for casual dates, utilizing this phase to better acquaint themselves with their potential partners. Consequently, the initial dates may lack the romantic intensity one might anticipate.

Despite the prevalence of casual dating, there’s an unspoken expectation of exclusivity. Dating others simultaneously is generally considered offensive and disrespectful unless explicitly agreed upon from the outset.

The transition from casual flirting and dating to a committed relationship tends to be gradual, reflecting Germans’ inclination to avoid rushing into new relationships. Relationships often evolve slowly and organically. Patience is key during the dating phase, contributing to a more assured choice in the end.

A Progressive Dating Scene

Feminism and gender equality hold significant importance in Germany. For women accustomed to men covering the expenses, it’s customary to split the bill evenly at the conclusion of the meal.

Germany’s progressive and liberal values are evident in its LGBTQ+ friendliness. Same-sex marriage and adoption have been legal since 2017, fostering an inclusive environment. Strong LGBTQ+ communities thrive in cities like Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, and Cologne.

Dating Apps

Online dating apps have been gaining popularity among both Europeans and Americans. These platforms, accessible through websites and mobile applications, simplify the process of creating profiles where users can precisely define their preferred characteristics in a potential partner.

This includes specifying age range, profession, and hobbies, and even applying filters to screen out undesired matches based on criteria such as distance or language proficiency. While it may lack the spontaneity of meeting someone in person, online dating effectively eliminates the awkward small talk phase, ensuring that time is not wasted on connections that may not be the right fit.

Online Dating in Berlin

Im Gegenteil, Berlin’s slow-dating website, looks like a consumer glossy magazine website at first, comparable to Marie Claire or Esquire in the United States – and then you realize the “products” are people. These are not celebrities either. They are singles, generally in their 30s, looking to find a partner. These singles can be gay or straight – but the end result is very hip. Here are some of the other popular dating apps in Germany:

  1. Tinder: The most downloaded matchmaking app in Germany, widely used for casual dating with instances of users finding significant relationships.
  2. Lovoo: Often referred to as the German version of Tinder, Lovoo, founded in Dresden, boasts the highest ranking among the mentioned apps. It allows users to contact individuals of interest before matching and browse profiles in incognito mode.
  3. Hinge: This app enables users to get to know a person before initiating a conversation by prompting users to fill in details about their character as part of their profile completion.
  4. Bumble: Similar to Hinge, Bumble requires users to answer prompts about themselves to provide insights into their personality. Notably, only women can initiate the first contact, while in same-sex matches, either party can send the first message.
  5. Grindr: Geared toward gay, bi, and trans individuals, Grindr boasts the largest network in this category and is widely known for making hookups a breeze.

Made with Passion, Time and Love

The two founders, Jule Müller and Anni Kralisch-Pehlke, liken Im Gegenteil to a single’s magazine than a dating platform. Dating websites nowadays are quick and might not provide a glimpse into someone’s actual life – the profiles are more like checkboxes or filters, great for snap decisions but not so great for developing intimacy and connections.

Im Gegenteil, on the other hand, takes about a day to construct each profile and takes photos of the applicant – not just any photos, but artful ones in the applicant’s own home or surroundings. That way, Kralisch-Pehlke says, “[if] you want to write to someone on our site, you have something to work with.”

Online dating in Berlin

© pixabay

Dating in Berlin: “Only for Berlin’s Hipsters?” “NO!”

The applicants are mainly in Berlin, but other areas have been added also, enabling people from Zürich and Köln to be featured on the website as well. And thanks to the Im Gegenteil team of bloggers and photographers, there are articles beneath the profiles – lending credence to the self-description of it as a singles’ magazine rather than a dating platform.

Unfortunately, this very hip and photogenic emphasis has led to some deriding Im Gegenteil for catering to Berlin’s hipsters – or hipsters in general. As someone who has lived in Brooklyn in New York, I can safely say that Im Gegenteil would not be out of place there either. But where is the line between helping the applicants look good and being derided for being the province of the exclusive?

Müller and Kralisch-Pehlke plan on expanding Im Gegenteil throughout Europe and possibly beyond, so maybe we will see it in places like London or New York. Time will only tell.

If your German is up to speed or you want to practice, you can look at Im Gegenteil here: Currently, it is only offered in the German language, though hopefully in time will be localized to other languages alongside the expansion plans.

First Date Etiquette

Once you have found someone you’re interested in dating, you’re likely contemplating what to do on your first date. Opting for dinner, grabbing a drink or coffee, or taking a leisurely walk are all suitable choices for a first date. While it’s essential to dress nicely, keep in mind that the dressing culture is generally laid-back, so avoid overdressing when trying to impress your date.

When the time comes for your date, punctuality is crucial. Germans highly value being on time, so ensure you arrive promptly.

During the date, your companion may not be overly forthcoming. This reserved approach is typical as Germans tend to reserve judgment on the first date, preferring to get to know your personality better before determining the nature of the relationship—whether it’s romantic or platonic, and before making the first move.

If they perceive that there isn’t a match, Germans are forthright in expressing their feelings. While their communication style may not always be as direct as expected, honesty prevails in their approach.

FAQs about the Dating Scene in Berlin

Here are some of the question people ask about going on a date and finding love when living in Berlin and Germany.

Is it easy to date in Germany?

Dating in Germany can vary based on personal experiences, but overall, it is possible to find romantic connections. Germans tend to approach dating with a more measured pace, emphasizing getting to know the person before rushing into a relationship.

How do Germans approach dating?

Germans typically approach dating with a rational mindset. Casual dates are common, typically when gathering in clubs or at parties, allowing people to get to know each other before deciding the nature of the future relationship.

Is Tinder big in Germany?

Yes, Tinder is widely popular in Germany. It is the most downloaded app of this kind in the country and is often used for casual dating.

What is the most popular dating site in Berlin?

In Berlin, Tinder remains the most popular dating app, with a significant user base. However, other platforms like Lovoo, Hinge, and Bumble also enjoy popularity.

Summing Up: Dating in Berlin: Im Gegenteil – “Slow Dating” Rises

Immerse yourself in Berlin’s dating landscape with a blend of “slow dating” charm and progressive values. From German dating customs to the city’s popular dating apps and websites, Berlin offers a diverse and inclusive environment, as long as you know what to expect to prepare for the perfect date.

Im Gegenteil adds an artistic touch, making dating an experience as unique as the city itself. If you’d like to learn more about German culture, come check out our blog!