You take a trip with your friends to Berlin.
Everyone is hitting it off with other people, except for you.
But one faithful night, you notice a charming German across the way as you sip your tea at a local coffee shop.
You know a bit of German, or maybe you even consider yourself quite fluent, but even fluent people have trouble when it comes to flirting.
That’s why it’s essential to understand how to flirt in German. From ice breakers to talking on dates, the entire courtship process is one big mess unless you prepare with certain statements and understand the intricacies of the German dating scene.
That’s why we put together a comprehensive guide that will bring you confidence and zeal when approaching people you like, along with the ammunition to ask the person on a date.
Before you know it, you’ll be walking hand in hand on one of the many entrancing bridges of Schloss Charlottenburg.
Your Complete Guide to Flirting in German
How German Flirting Differs from the Rest of the World
To start, learning how to flirt in German isn’t only about going to Germany and finding the love of your life. In fact, flirting works at home as well, since you can impress someone you know speaks German, or you can even woo your English-speaking significant other or spouse, then tell them the translation later.
However, if your goal is to bring your flirting game to Germany, it’s wise to consider a few differences in the way Germans flirt and interact.
First of all, guys generally start the interaction, but it’s not a bad thing if a girl likes a guy and they initiate it. However, unlike other countries, where guys assume they need to walk up to a girl and start chatting up a storm, German flirting usually starts with a guy giving a subtle glance or smile to a girl. After that, it’s often the responsibility of the woman to decide whether or not she wants to go chat with the guy.
This illustrates the importance of eye contact in the German culture, since you should also try to hold that eye contact while going on a date.
Two big questions generally arise when flirting with people in other cultures: How can you tell if someone is flirting with you, and how can you ensure that you don’t accidentally flirt with someone?
In short, being respectful, fun and cheerful can take you a long way, just like many other cultures. The first rule to follow is punctuality. If you’re ten minutes too early or too late, this is seen as disrespectful.
Here are some other generalized tips (not rules, since everyone is different) from my experience:
- German men are rather shy.
- German women have grown up in a culture where they are considered equals.
- Because of this, German men often come off as more reserved than other cultures.
- If a man compliments a woman’s appearance, she will probably not take it seriously, but may laugh and consider it a joke.
- In short, German women are assertive and just as confident, if not more confident than men. They often run their houses, party just as much as men and work with more zeal.
It’s a good idea to see how actual German people interact with each other before diving in, which you can do on FluentU.
Pay attention to body language and, of course, actual language as you watch. In fact, learning with authentic videos is a fantastic way to see and remember new words, grammar concepts and learn about the culture.
FluentU is one of the best websites and apps for learning German the way native speakers really use it. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Watch authentic media to simultaneously immerse yourself in the German language and build an understanding of the German culture.
By using real-life videos, the content is kept fresh and current. Topics cover a lot of ground as you can see here:
Vocabulary and phrases are learned with the help of interactive subtitles and full transcripts.
Hovering over or tapping on any word in the subtitles will automatically pause the video and instantly display its meaning. Interesting words you don’t know yet can be added to a to-learn list for later.
For every lesson, a list of vocabulary is provided for easy reference and bolstered with plenty of examples of how each word is used in a sentence.
Your existing knowledge is tested with the help of adaptive quizzes in which words are learned in context.
FluentU keeps track of the words you’re learning and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
This way, you have a truly personalized learning experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or practice anytime, anywhere on the mobile app for iOS and Android.
And now, let’s break the ice with some flirtatious German phrases.
Walking up to Someone You Like (Ice Breakers in German)
You see a girl or guy that you’re attracted to, but you haven’t the slightest idea of what to say. In general, Germans have the same type of small talk you would find in an English speaking country, so here are a few go-to statements to break the ice with your crush across the room.
Ich habe mich gefragt, ob du vielleicht weißt, wo ich X finde.
(I was wondering if you know where I could find X.)
Ich habe mich gefragt, ob du mir vielleicht helfen könntest.
(I was wondering if you could help me.)
Ich habe gesehen, dass du ein Buch von X liest. Ich bin ein großer Bewunderer von ihm.
(I saw you reading a book from X. I’m a big admirer of his.)
Mein Name ist…
(My name is…)
Woher kommst du?
(Where are you from?)
Arranging a Date in German
If you make traction with your first few flirtation lines, consider asking the person on a date. This way, you can get to know each other better and speak even more German! Consider the following phrases to get someone to go out with you.
Wollen wir uns in diesem Restaurant treffen?
(Should we meet up at this restaurant?)
Feel free to replace “this restaurant” with just about any place in the above phrase.
Möchtest du was essen? Leckere Nudeln vielleicht?
(Would you like to eat something? Delicious pasta, perhaps?)
Willst du ein Bier?
(Want to get a beer?)
Soll ich dich abholen?
(Shall I pick you up?)
Um wie viel Uhr sollen wir uns treffen?
(When should we meet?)
Lass uns etwas trinken gehen.
(Let’s have a drink somewhere.)
Lass uns ins Kino gehen.
(Let’s go to the movies.)
Lass uns in einen Club gehen.
(Let’s go clubbing.)
Ich freue mich auf unser Treffen!
(I’m looking forward to our date!)
Keeping German Conversation Going on a Date
You’ve navigated through the most gut-wrenching part of flirting, but now it’s time to woo the other person at your date. Here are a few phrases to keep in your back pocket:
Sag mal, was hältst du von dem Essen / Kaffee hier?
(Tell me, what do you think of the food / coffee here?)
Ich habe eine gute Zeit.
(I’m having a good time.)
Du machst mich glücklich.
(You make me happy.)
Mit dir kann ich am besten lachen.
(With you I can laugh the most.)
This is the literal translation, but it basically means that you enjoy laughing with them.
Du siehst schön aus.
(You look nice.)
German Phrases for the Bold Flirter
All right, this isn’t for everyone, but sometimes it works to be upfront and reveal that you are solely interested in flirting.
Let’s say you wanted to express the following: “I was wondering if I could sit next to you.”
Say this: Ich habe mich gefragt, ob ich mich vielleicht zu dir setzen darf.
Now, if you’d like to say the following: “I saw you sitting here and I just had to say hello.”
Use the German version: Ich habe dich da sitzen sehen, und musste dich einfach ansprechen.
Note: Although it varies from person to person, I would argue that being bold is best for German women, since men tend to be a little shy in Germany. Not to mention, German women aren’t known for liking machismo or cockiness from men.
Complimenting Others While Flirting in German
Eventually it’s nice to compliment the other person you’re on a date with. You can also use these flirting phrases when walking up to a person you like or while at a party or some other type of social function.
If you’d like to say “You have beautiful eyes,” you can use the “Du hast wunderschöne Augen” phrase.
Maybe you get out on the dance floor and your partner is busting a move. Tell them you like the way they’re dancing by saying “Ich mag, wie du tanzt.”
Women are encouraged to tell men how handsome they are (I guess that’s biased, since I’m a guy), and that little tidbit can be communicated by saying “Du siehst gut aus.”
Finally, another way to progress the conversation and compliment another person is by telling them you like their clothing. Simply say “Ich mag deine Kleider.” The cool part of this statement is that you can exchange Kleider with anything you want.
Note: As I stated earlier in this article, German women probably won’t take you seriously if you compliment their looks, but it can draw a smile and break the ice.
If All Else Fails…
Go for the corniest pick-up line you can think of and try to make the person laugh.
Ask her, “Ist dein Vater ein Dieb?” She will ask, “Warum?” And you will say, “Weil er die Sterne vom Himmel gestohlen und sie dir in die Augen gesetzt hat!”
What does this interaction translate to?
Is your father a thief? Why? Because he stole the stars from the sky and put them in your eyes!
Yes, it seems super lame, but it may just work on that special someone. Otherwise, keep trying these tactics for how to flirt in German and you will become a smooth operator in no time.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.