Freddie Highmore finds American dating confusing compared to dating in England

Freddie Highmore was on Jimmy Kimmel promoting season three of The Good Doctor on ABC, which premiered this week. He’s 27 but I keep thinking he’s younger as he has such a baby face. I’m not watching The Good Doctor yet but my mom loves it and says he’s great in it. I know Freddie from Bates Motel, where he was absolutely amazing and was robbed of even an Emmy nomination. How did Bates Motel get shut out of awards? He can act! I would like to see him on the big screen too. Freddie and Jimmy joked around about Jimmy setting Freddie up to look like a liar on Spanish TV, that’s a complicated but funny story which you can see in the interview below. The part I wanted to talk about was when Freddie said he found American dating confusing because it’s not as clear to him when someone is asking him out on a date.

In this season your character is dating. What do you like to do on a date? You work up in Vancouver, right?
North American dating in general is very different from the UK. I just find it quite baffling. In the UK it’s very clear when you’re going on a date, because it’s in the evening and it’s like dinner or disco… some sort of obvious date activity while in North America it’s “hey do you want to go kayaking?” and you just think you’re going kayaking with a friend and it ends up being… obviously this is very personal to me, the kayaking story. Even if you go to a sports game they get the jumbotron on and you’re meant to kiss the person that you’re with. You just think you’re going to see a sports game and suddenly it’s converted into this public date.

Have you been on the kiss cam?
It’s my biggest fear.

[From Jimmy Kimmel Live on Youtube]

Those type of activity dates: kayaking, hiking, go-karting, are good especially for early dates because you’re doing something and there’s not so much pressure to just sit there and talk to the person. It doesn’t feel like an interview like a standard dinner date. I know what he means about not realizing that someone has asked you out on a date until you’re on the date though! I’ve had this experience a few times. Once, a guy asked me if I wanted to check out a mutual acquaintance’s casual restaurant for lunch and I thought he was just trying to help me meet more friends in the area as I had just moved there. That was the way he presented it. Duh it was a date, but that’s also on him for being cagey and not revealing his intentions. It’s definitely true that it’s not as clear when someone is asking you out here. I mean I think that’s the case but I never dated in Europe so I don’t know how they do it. I have heard they do more “hanging out” in groups that Americans do though.

Here’s the interview and it’s queued up to the part about dating!



photos credit: WENN

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31 Responses to “Freddie Highmore finds American dating confusing compared to dating in England”

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  1. Eliza says:

    Ha! My now husband kept inviting me out with his friends, after the 3rd time I accepted because I liked him, but in the back of my head I was like come on man. To this day I laugh at him. He thought it was “less pressure” in a group environment for me… less pressure? I had to impress 20 people instead of 1.

  2. JanetFerber says:

    He’s cute. I’m happily married, but would date him just to clear up a few of his confusions (including not to date married women, but that would be revealed much later).

  3. Arpeggi says:

    I’m going on a date-date on Saturday with a guy I met at some friends’ wedding last weekend and I’m actually pretty excited to know it’s a « real » date, it seems it’s been a very long time since I had one of those and it some ways, it makes the whole thing much more relaxed than the « I’m not sure what this is »-dates I’ve been to, too often.

    • Pixie says:

      Aw I hope you have a great date! 🙂

      • Arpeggi says:

        Thanks! I think it should be. We already know each other a bit, we know we sort of like each other (or at least we did when we were drunk last week!), we have a good half a dozen of friends in common… And we’ve been texting all week. All the awkward stuff is gone so it should be fun! ☺️

      • Pixie says:

        Ah nice, those are always the most fun dates! 🙂

    • Kosmos says:

      I think a date in the U.S. can be anything–would you like to go kayaking, or hiking, or to a movie, or party, or dancing, or accompany me to my friend’s wedding–anything we do regularly in life we would like to eventually share with a significant other, so it’s nice to see if we have these things in common. With a strictly cocktail or dinner date, we’re forced to sit and talk or interview each other, whereas with an activity, there are distractions and it’s not as serious and focused on the other person.

  4. MC2 says:

    Shortly after my divorce, I went out with a friend to “hang out” and told him that I thought I was finally ready to start dating & a guy had asked me out on a proper date. His face got all weird suddenly & I realized “oh, sh*t…we’re on a date?!?!” Yea, that was awkward. I agree with him here & wish it was all more straight forward.

  5. Neva_D says:

    This has happened to me so many times! I don’t mind “untraditional” dates (in fact, I prefer them because activity based dates take the pressure off and make it feel less like an interview), but you have to tell me it’s a date. I’m oblivious to most social cues and unless someone says the word “date” I just assume we’re doing a fun activity together as friends.

    I once had someone tell me “I don’t think we should keep seeing each other, I don’t think we’re really connecting” to which I responded “… Wait, we were dating?!”

  6. Dani says:

    Lol he is so cute and earnest! He looks like a young version of Matthew Goode and I’m so here for that.

  7. Eleonor says:

    Seriously? My old spinster self has started dating for the first time in ages, and he (French) invited me to have a drink. Than a coffee, than a movie, and we will have another drink. It was clear!
    But kayaking? I wouldn’t have understood.

  8. Lucy says:

    He’s really cute and seems charming.

  9. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’ll be sandblasted for this lol, but I think he’s being kind. I believe one word separates our dating cultures. Games.

    • Bree says:

      I’d also say intimidation. Guys in my part of the USA are scared of something. I don’t know what. That I need a ring before the end of our coffee date? But in literally every other country I’ve lived in (5), it’s way more obvious, way less stressful, and it’s also just not a big deal to ask someone out. I really don’t get US guys (in my state).

    • My Dogs Asleep at My Feet says:

      Bree I agree with you. I experienced this problem in California when I was in my twenties and thirties. Now in my forties I don’t want to date anymore but I try to talk to the men I see every day at work or the dog park. The older ones are cool (sixties or thereabouts in age) but the younger ones aren’t. They seem anxious when I strike up a casual conversation with them.

      I still remember one man I spoke to who three times said, “I’m married.” I told him something along the lines of relax, you’re here every day at the same time as I and it seemed silly not to say hello and have a conversation after seeing you here so often. He didn’t seem to chill out, so I left him alone, which was weird for me because he came for the next couple of years. Another man was in his twenties, single, and I kept thinking I should say to him, “Look I can see you’re a young fit man with a good job and I’m almost double your age. I’m not trying to start anything romantic with you. In fact, I can predict you will date a cute young woman in her early twenties who has a tight body and a dog that appeals to both sexes like a beagle.” I never said it but I just walked away and left him alone like the “I’m married!” man. Within two months, the young man showed up at the dog park with a girlfriend. Exactly the type I predicted down to the beagle. I should moonlight as a dating psychic. I laughed on the inside when I saw this young woman. I thought to myself, “I’m effing Nostradamus.”

  10. Meg says:

    I was bullied growing up by immediate family so I interpreted teasing etc from anyone outside the home as leading to bullying so i pushed it away. it’s crappy that a lot of young guys see teasing as flirting, ‘oh he insults you because he likes you’ what? Why can’t he just be nice? I remember a guy in a college class I took, we were together in a group project and he was a jerk; then when the project ended and we were leaving i said bye to all of them and he said, ‘actually I thought you and I would date’ huh? You were rude to me the entire project. That’s how you treat someone you like? I just said, ‘oh? You did?’ and just walked away.

  11. girl_ninja says:

    I’ve not found dates to be this confusing. They’ve always been clear cut for me. Just not a lot of success after the first or second🤷🏾‍♀️

  12. BayTampaBay says:

    Let’s hear from some fellow European CBers on the differences between North American and European dating.

    • Eleonor says:

      As I have said: the French (uh la la!) Invite for a drink an apéro.

    • LeaTheFrench says:

      A French would typically invite you first to have coffee at a nice coffee shop, and then a typical second date would be a movie or drinks in the evening. Back in the days I found it oddly unimaginative, because you’re sort of following an established blueprint and it’s all rather heavily coded. But There is also something reassuring in knowing exactly what is going on, and to be able to track the “progression” in the relationship. Date #3 (drinks in the evening) = probably going to end with a kiss 🤗 I was utterly confused by dates when I did my student exchange program in the U.S. 😂 There was no discernable pattern. That led to fairly comical situations, I must say…

  13. tealily says:

    I tried to invite a friend along on a first date with my now ex. We were all mutual acquaintances and she and I were both new to the city. I assumed he just wanted to show us (me) around. At least she had the good sense not to come! Oops.

    ETA: She and he are both European. I’m American.

  14. Pixie says:

    I’ve been on dates in a couple places around Western Europe and I have never been confused. It’s usually drinks in the evening, or dinner in the evening and the fact that it is a date is usually explicitly said or heavily implied. Usually activities are dates 3/4 when you have already established that you like the other person and you want to do something fun together. I have been on dates where we get drinks first, and then meet up with mutual friends in the evening if they’re out too but that’s about it. I do wish there was more of a culture around doing fun things on the first date, because that would make the whole thing a lot less anxiety inducing.

  15. leslie says:

    Omg. He’s so adorable! And he’s a phenomenal actor! I feel creepy crushing on him as I’m 42. 😆

  16. Bread and Circuses says:

    I knew a guy in university who came in all grumpy one day. He was a pilot of some stripe and had invited a girl he liked to go flying with him, and then she’s spent much of the “date” talking about her boyfriend.

    Yeah, my dude, you’ve got to make your intentions clearer.

  17. My Dogs Asleep at My Feet says:

    I wanted to have male friends, so I went hiking with a few. I discovered the men had different agenda than I. Without telling me, these hiking excursions were non-date, dates. I had to cut off these relationships because there was no way I was going to date them. After these experiences I’ve concluded that there is something to be said for a formulaic date. It forces the man to make his agenda clear before you leave the house. That way you aren’t at the top of a mountain making the awkward realization that this friend isn’t interested in friendship at all and now you have to get back down to the car hoping he doesn’t try to hold your hand or kiss you.