In most European countries, rather than going on specific ‘dates' as you might in the US, getting to know someone romantically is far more casual: "Walks in the afternoon/evening which may be followed by an informal drink at a café or a bite to eat at lunchtime", or "meeting up in a group with friends" is not uncommon, says some European expats.

In the Netherlands you might take a walk or go on a bike ride.

In places like the Netherlands and Germany, people can be very direct in the way they speak (rather than being over polite and saying things ‘to be nice' that they don't mean to avoid hurting someone's feelings – as is often the way in the UK).

In the US and other English-speaking countries, the kiss just doesn't have the same significance it does elsewhere.

For example, in the UK, a woman might kiss one or more men when she's out in a club or bar (or vice versa) but it wouldn't necessarily mean anything or lead to a relationship of any kind.

Whereas in France, if you kiss someone on the lips (or have sex) it means you're ‘in a relationship'. In the UK or US, there's much debate about how long to wait before calling after a first date. Too long and it can seem like they're not really interested.

In Europe, once a man gets your number he will most likely call straight away, rather than wait a few days.

In Germany, couples don't start with formal dating either and it's only after a series of informal meetings – walks, dinner, cinema, theatre – that they might start being seen as a ‘couple'.

It's also common for couples to keep the fact that they're an item to themselves.

If a woman shows too much interest too soon, she may scare a man away.

As in France, a game of chase and refusal must take place before any form of ‘date' will materialise.

In Europe, getting to know someone romantically is fairly laid back.

People don't tend to go on ‘dates' with complete strangers but instead often get to know someone who's already in their circle or the friend of a friend, and then it ‘just happens' and they decide to go out together alone. There aren't too many rigid rules, either: "In the Netherlands there are no set rules – you might do all or nothing on the first or tenth date," and, "the timescale between the first date and having sex in France could be anything from 20 years to 20 seconds," said European expats.

After the first date, most people would probably expect to go Dutch (and not just in the Netherlands! Last year, a well-known romantic social networking site asked 13,000 members from around the world ‘Would you kiss on a first date?