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Most socializing in Japan is done in groups, and while there’s definitely something to be said for the “the more the merrier” philosophy behind it, that same social norm can sometimes work against a person’s love life. Sure, a guy might have a thing for a girl who he’s in the same school club with, but it can be hard to take the relationship to the next level if they never have any time alone together. On the opposite side of the scale, if there’s no one who strikes a man’s fancy in his immediate social circle, expanding his network of acquaintances, and with it his dating pool, can be a tricky endeavor to pull off.

The end result is a number of men in Japan who don’t enter into a serious romantic relationship until they’re well into adulthood. Luckily, this isn’t a complete deal breaker for them, but that lack of experience does change the playing field, as shown in a survey of 206 Japanese women in their teens, twenties, and thirties who shared their hopes and concerns about being a guy’s very first girlfriend.

Let’s start with something positive. If romance itself is a new and exciting thing for a guy, there’s a good chance that at least some of that jittery enthusiasm is going to rub off on his girlfriend.

“I want a guy who’s so naive it’s irritating,” said another woman, with a laugh. Sure, it may be a little embarrassing to see a full-grown man turn beet red when his date grabs his hand, but if the electricity is there, some Japanese women feel it’s worth it.

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Still, it’s possible to go too far in being taken completely by surprise by the idea of getting a little affection. “I don’t want to hear a guy say, ‘Oh, well there’s no way anyone would want to do that with me,’” explained one respondent in her 20s. A lack of experience can sometimes be the basis for a lack of confidence, and the validity of that psychological connection aside, many of the survey participants don’t want to hear it from their boyfriend.

▼ If you tell the woman you’re dating “No girl would want me,” you’re either hurtfully refusing to validate her feelings or accusing her of secretly being a dude.

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That said, the women in the survey don’t want their boyfriend to go out of his way to explain how popular he was with ladies either, in spite of never having been in an exclusive relationship before. Saying, “Oh, things just never clicked with one special girl” was also flagged as a no-no. “After I’ve managed to start liking a guy, when he says stuff like that, it’s so uncool,” complained one teenage respondent. “Showing off like that is just lame.”

In general, a guy focusing on the things he did or didn’t do in the past was considered a warning sign. “Some late bloomers become really hard chargers, trying to make up for lost time,” pointed out one woman. “I’d kind of like them to stop doing that.”

“So, all set for our third date?”

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In fact, many participants in the survey said they hoped for the exact opposite. Instead of trying to keep up with what they perceive as the pace others expect them to move at in a relationship, women said they’d prefer their inexperienced boyfriends to relax and let things develop in a natural, unhurried pace.

“So, all set for our third date?”

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Doing so will help the inexperienced dater avoid another pitfall, trying to force fit advice he heard somewhere into his own relationship. “I was my old boyfriend’s first girlfriend, and I hated how he would suddenly say, ‘Oh, your shoes are nice!’” moaned a teen participant in the study.

▼ Apparently, nothing says “I love you” like “I hate your shoes.”

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Again, the lack of experience can work in the guy’s favor, particularly if it helps rekindle a feeling of youthful passion in his girlfriend. “I’d like to re-experience the pure-hearted love people have in their student days,” longed one woman in her 20s.

▼ Do we qualify for having that romantic school days aura if we still don’t quite get geometry?

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Of course, you can’t keep things feeling fresh and energetic without taking the occasional step outside your comfort zone. Some women were concerned about whether or not a guy with no romantic experience would be up to the challenge, and were afraid he might shy away from new experiences instead. “If you do that, how are you ever going to get any better?” wondered one exasperated teenager.

This was tied into another complaint from a woman in her 20s, who can’t stand her boyfriend constantly asking for permission to do things like hold hands. “Decide for yourself. Be more confident,” she commanded.

As we look over the collected responses, the sad truth seems to be that there’s more variety in how a man’s inexperience can lead him to blow his first relationship than help him succeed. Still, the surest way to ruin your chances for romance are by failing to be confident, or at least fake it convincingly.

Besides, for those of you still feeling timid because you’ve never had a girlfriend before, stop and think about even the worst-case scenario: getting dumped. Sure, it’s never a fun experience, but you’ll come away wiser and more experienced, with the “I’ve never had a girlfriend before” curse broken.

▼ Yeah, OK, you screwed up. Now get back on.

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Source: Hachima Kiko
Top image: Amazon
Imsert images: Ikumen Style, Joshua Teis, Kekkon J, Yukarigaoka, Trading Post, Obenkyo Sokuho, WordPress