Dating as a Millennial vs Gen Z

A unique characteristic of Generation Z is their native use of technology. Whereas Millennials were considered “digital pioneers,” who bore witness to the explosion of technology and social media, Gen Z was born into a world of peak technological innovation — where information was immediately accessible and social media increasingly ubiquitous.

Therefore, as an online social and dating app, Fika wants to know: Do Millennials use dating apps differently than Gen Z? And what about dating etiquette? Does Generation Z adhere to a different set of norms and standards than others?

To help us determine how each generation approaches dating, Fika, in collaboration with Dreamplex, is hosting an online talk show and workshop to answer these questions.

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Real is Better than Perfect

Throughout our lives, we’re told to be perfect, to hide our flaws: To cover up the ugly freckles, to hide our cellulite, to lighten our skin, or to smoothe out our stretch marks. There is a lot of pressure from society to be perfect. We are blasted with media messages to look perfect, live perfect, be perfect. But no one is perfect and this is what makes us #real and true!

Fika is proud to release our “Real is Better than Perfect” campaign to celebrate the stories behind every unique face, as well as inspire you to glow up and own your perfect #flaws because to be #imperfect is to be #free.

Real is better than Perfect is not just a concept, it also defines Fika. We recently celebrated our 1st anniversary and our team is made up of real people of different age groups, nationalities, and backgrounds (from Gen X to Gen Z, and from Vietnam to Sweden and the US) — it is this diversity that is truly special to Fika, where we can comfortably be our true and best versions of ourselves to deliver the most authentic and meaningful connections. We can’t wait for the official launch date of the campaign!

Download Fika here:

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30 & Suddenly Single

Like many people, I’ve been in a few relationships. The most recent lasted five years and ended July 2021. Everything before it felt like it was arranged, that we would be happy forever. However, time causes things and directions to change, and this gradually replaces the original harmony. It’s difficult for two people to be in sync on everything, to find each other amidst the chaos of worries, especially in today’s social conditions.

At the time, I was still working full-time at my previous job, and it wasn’t until May 2021 that I officially devoted my entire time to creating Fika. Being fully focused on Fika was probably also a huge reason for me to not succumb to the negativity of the breakup. I needed to balance both sides of work, and not to mention that life, friends and family seemed to have changed as well. It was taking up all my time, and I’m a person who won’t allow myself to wallow in sadness forever. But, to be honest, looking back now, I realized that maybe the “break up” wasn’t the scariest thing. When hearing the phrase “break up,” many people, especially women, often associate it with fear, loneliness and sadness. However, from my point of view, “break up” is a way of respecting yourself, and also the most reasonable way to end a love that is no longer complete. I used to fall into a pattern of thinking, trying, moving on — trying to change myself and that person so that we can continue to be together — that’s probably not the best way to approach the problem. It’s wrong.

Life moves fast, so people are forced to move faster — often caught up in the vortex of money and ambition — people often pay less attention to emotional issues but instead focus more on career development. So, if a person’s career is so important then why is there still pressure from society to find a partner, get married and have children, especially for women my age?

A strong woman is not always in control of everything, but she must make all the decisions. A strong woman knows how to balance difficult decisions with easy ones. And, most importantly, a strong woman is also someone who knows when to stop, knows what she needs and wants, and respects herself.

Being single also has many advantages. It’s been more than 4 months since the breakup and I’ve come to gain some insights that I would like to share:

You come out of a breakup knowing yourself better and what you want in your partner, thereby drawing a lot of experience for the future.

  • You are in control of your life, doing anything you want, like simply having a spontaneous night out with your girlfriends.
  • With the experience and self-knowledge that you have acquired, you will easily create quality friendships or emotional relationships.

Be beautiful, talented, and shine with who you are, as long as you are happy. After all, being single at 30 isn’t as scary as people think! Embrace it!

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Romance is as much a quality of Vietnam as motorbikes or street food

Obscured behind the pollution, trash, noise and tempestuous traffic of Saigon, there lays a hidden romance. You may have seen it or even experienced it. The romance may be unorthodox and even sometimes dirty, taking the form of hourly sex hotels, elderly statesmen and businessmen with inordinately younger women and discrete foreplay in the parks and alleys, but it is present nonetheless. Even foreigners who have lived in Saigon for decades never cease to ponder and contemplate about the nature of Vietnam. However, romance is a quality of Vietnam I have never once heard uttered. 

Amore in Italy

Let’s perform a comparative analysis of romantic locales. Paramount in most people’s minds would be Italy. Italy? The place where it’s socially acceptable for men of all ages, marital status and occupations to fondle and sexually molest women at all hours of the day? Most women cherish the prospect of visiting Italy, only to find the barrage of whistling, grabbing and staring intolerable. This is no mere hyperbole. I must concede that Italian cities are mesmerizing and sumptuous. The churches, restaurants, fountains, plazas, streets and buildings are all delightful for the senses. But I’m yet to hear stories of romantic dalliances by passionate Italian men picking flowers for an exquisite maiden for which their heart longs. Yelling at passing girls, touching the asses of wandering passersby and one of the world’s highest rates of infidelity hardly seems romantic. 

Amour in France

Next on many people’s list of romantic destinations would be France. First, I have made friends with French people (yes, it is possible) in foreign countries (Japan, Tanzania, Central African Republic, China, Thailand) who left their country primarily because it was too difficult to get a girlfriend. I must admit that dating American girls is also challenging and often more costly than beneficial. Sometimes it’s just easier to date in foreign places. But, when speaking to the pundits of French dating (i.e. French men), the rules and regulations of dating dynamics are baffling. France has lovely cities and there are plenty of romantic places to visit. But do you know how most French relationships start out? With sex. Not foreplay. Not serenading or courting. Just sex. It goes from nothing to a serious relationship with the only ritual filling the void being sex. If French men can’t succeed, what chance do the rest of us have? 

Love in America

Being American, it’s only fair I critique our own dysfunctional emotional state. We are, after all, the likely birthplace of the anti-Valentine’s Day movement. There are scores of dissatisfied men and women who can’t even endure seeing other people who are coupled and, at least ostensibly, happy.  Having relationships in Vietnam, they are always surprised when I make a big deal about monthly anniversaries. They always say, “We don’t celebrate those in Vietnam!” I inquire how they can celebrate the death of relatives each year but not the relationships of those still living. In the US, we are expected to remember holidays, birthdays and anniversaries, but most of the gestures take the form of purchasing gifts. We do buy chocolate and flowers for anniversaries, birthdays and other occasions. We do have myriad delivery services to bring all of these love devices to our partners or targets of courtship. But, we also have a 50% divorce rate, enough cheating to make a confident person profligately suspicious and lots of distant, unemotional and frigid couples afraid to express themselves or reveal their inner desires and passion. Like so much of America, we compensate for lack of authentic romance and emotion with capitalist endeavors (flowers, cards, chocolates, expensive restaurants, jewelry, etc.). 

The first film I ever saw about Vietnam was Three Seasons. This film won plethora awards at festivals around the world and is a fantastic film. So, of course, nobody in Vietnam has seen it. Well, the story is really about three love affairs. One is between an American former soldier who fought in Vietnam and discovers he left behind a daughter with a Vietnamese woman. He returns to Vietnam to try to find his daughter and make amends. The next love affair is between a young Vietnamese woman from the countryside who comes to Saigon to pick lotus flowers on an elegant lake owned and operated by an elderly poet who is a leper and never lets anybody to see him. She wants to hear his poetry and learn lessons from him and help him to write the story he never finished. The final affair is between a poor cyclo driver who wants to win the affection of a lovely prostitute who comes from a poor family. She won’t grant him a chance until she becomes ill and he nurtures her back to health, showing his true emotional commitment. Upon my first viewing, I was enchanted by the flowers, water, attire, streets and singing of a romantic Vietnam. 

Granted that is a movie. But, Vietnam has its charms. The flowers may be cheap, the river along Vo Van Kiet may be polluted and have an unpleasant olfaction and the fecund parks may be surrounded on all sides by bustling howling traffic, but romance is ubiquitous here and it’s a trait associated with Vietnam that is rarely discussed. I’m living in Vietnam for my first Christmas/New Year’s holiday season and there are few places I can visit in Saigon without seeing couples taking photographs together. 

There are plenty of shops, streets, cafés and restaurants with pleasant decoration. There are plenty of couples touching each other in the parks or along the river at night. Sometimes it seems like there isn’t a single person existing in Saigon without a partner to share their love with. Most people are aware of the significance of family, friends and relationships to Vietnamese people. I have plenty of cafés that I love to take dates or even go alone. They are vibrant and living, with fish swimming in flowing water, flowers and plants adorning the walls and walkways, delicate music filling the night air and every couch occupied by a 70-year old business man and his chosen nubile escort. So, why does nobody mention this quality of Vietnam? Is it because Vietnamese people themselves scorn public affection? Is it because the romance takes a distinct form from the traditional places like France and Italy? Is it because this quality is unappreciated and neglected in favor of the more salient aspects of Vietnamese culture? Whatever the reason, I think romance is as much a quality of Vietnam as motorbikes or street food. Like the saying goes, “When in Rome,” so buy some flowers, dress up a little and take your sweetheart to the park, riverside or café and profess your most poetic expressions of romance. 

By Jonathan Lam

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He Said, She Said: Shy when it comes to moving in for a first kiss?

Should it be the first date if things go well or should I wait? Should a guy ask for consent first (I literally had a girl tell me that was a turn-off and just to kiss her)?

He Said:

The key is to actually just pay attention to what is in front of you. Human beings give off all sorts of very obvious non-verbal cues; you just have to be aware of them.

If you have been paying attention, don’t doubt yourself. Just don’t be too aggressive. Moving in for the slow, romantic first kiss is a solid move. And if you are wrong, she will back off so fast you will be in no doubt she is not down with it.

Totes agree with the girl. If there is an old-fashioned element to women in Vietnam it is wanting their men to be men. Be respectful, for sure, but also bring some testicles to the game. Brother, in general, my advice is just stop being so precious, and stop treating women like they are these fragile, delicate creatures. When a woman wants to be kissed, she’ll let you know in her own way. The best thing is to just get out of your head. You will both be happier for it.

She Said:

Asking can be very sexy and this 100 percent depends on the delivery. If the question was proposed in a low, husky voice as you gazed into my eyes, then I would definitely consent to a kiss… and maybe to a lot more, too. However, if you asked as if you’re doing a survey I’ll probably check no. 

Women aren’t difficult to read as you have seemed to psych yourself up to believe. There are some obvious signs when we’re interested in a guy (print this list and carry it with you on your next date):

  • Flirty laughter
  • Touchy
  • Makes eye contact
  • Gives you undivided attention
  • Leans in close
  • Licks her lips

If you notice any of these then just shut up and go for it. Dating and dodgeball are similar sports and women follow the same 5 Ds when we’re trying to avoid an unwanted object coming at us: Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge. And if this happens to you, laugh it off, go home and download Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story — Christine Taylor’s lesbian kiss will make you forget about your bad date. 

He Said:

I didn’t know about the licking the lips signal. Does that still count if there are peanuts or pretzels on the bar?

Ok, I do take the point about how maybe asking in the right way could be very appealing to her. But I would suggest adjusting it slightly and (using that same husky voice) saying simply “I’m going to kiss you now”. Rather than a question that could come off as kind of timid, it is a simple declaration of intent, and also brings some more of the aforementioned testicles to the game.

Hey, and once you have made the statement, she can also tell you there is not a chance in hell that is going to happen. However, I would hazard a guess that most often she will be down with it. Ok, maybe two out of three, like “The Naked Man” gambit from How I met Your Mother.

Bottom line is, you need to find a balance between being respectful and being respected.

She Said:

Yes, salty peanuts and pretzels count.

Aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson’s aptly named K.I.S.S. principle (or Keep It Simple Stupid) states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made overly complicated. And this, my friend, applies to your questions as well. 

As much as M insists on bringing testicles into this, please keep them in your pants (or for the second date) — your lips and tongue will do just fine for kissing.

He Said:

The ‘testicles’ in question were purely metaphorical.

By Matthew Campbell and Tina Nguyen

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What Muay Thai Fighting Taught Me About Business

I had never made a connection between doing sports at a competitive level and my education, career, and now entrepreneurial achievements, however, after reading an article in Forbes where it states “the skills that give you an edge in competitive sport can give you an edge in business. Focus, determination, perfect practice. Staying cool under pressure and a heightened awareness that hard work pays off. Sport creates expansive entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs create resourceful sportspeople” — it’s obvious now.

In retrospect, I can see the time I spent in the ring has helped prepare me for my career, especially in creating Fika with my co-founder Oscar.  While I was working at my 9-6 day job, I had to stay focused on my ultimate goal ­— Fika — and with fighting determination, we were able to launch our online dating app earlier this year in my birth country Vietnam.

Sports and the business world — two highly competitive fields — encourage women to break gender norms, especially if we want to reach the top position, and Muay Thai has instilled in me these 3 values:

1) Understand what you’re good at, where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and focus on both.

2) Always have a game plan.

3) Trust in the process. Believe in where you’re going, keep on pushing on and, most importantly, always show up.

Never give up, even if you lose the first round, because there will be another round and another fight just ahead.

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All those considering the move, read on and find the scientific formula for marital bliss

As someone who has just celebrated one year of wonderful marriage and with the added good fortune of marrying a fellow mathematician, you can imagine my enjoyment in finding some solid statistical research on the issue. So, all those considering the move, read on and find the scientific formula for marital bliss.

A 2010 study (yes, I had to go back very far to get this info), published in the European Journal of Operational Research looked at 1,074 couples aged between 19 and 75 years, to find which social factors were most important to a long and happy relationship. The results concluded that the perfect bride should be five years younger than the groom, from the same cultural background, and smarter by at least 27 percent. Optimally, the woman should have a degree, while the husband would remain relatively uneducated.

 The logic is that because women traditionally invest more raw emotion in a relationship, women tend to carry the emotional happiness of the entire relationship, while the men tag along. Basically, if the wife is happy, then the husband is happy, too. Another academic reasoned “going back to prehistory, women have needed to invest more in relationships than men because men are more biologically adapted to spread their seed around, they were, therefore, more likely to invest their intellectual abilities in maintaining that bond.”

Lead researcher Nguyen Vi Cao stated, “If people follow these guidelines in choosing their partners, they can increase their chances of a happy, long marriage by up to 20 percent.”

He added that marrying a divorcee makes it far more unlikely that you will be happy.

Hearts drawing with calculation and drawing tools

Another mathematician (Lindley) figured out the best age to get married by deducing the best time to make your decision is roughly one-third of the way into your period of availability. To be exact, you divide your total “available” time by the exponential e, which is equal to 2.718.

For women, the period of availability [sic] is about 30 years, from age 16 to 46. Available time over e is roughly 11. Add 11 to 16 and you find that the “mathematically correct” age for a woman to get married is 27.

Many say that men have a longer period of marriage availability from 16 to 60, which is a 44-year window. Over e again is 16, add that to their 16-year starting time, and you find that the mathematician’s time for a man to get married is 32 years of age.

But as far as the math of marriage goes, sometimes the numbers don’t add up. But then again, sometimes the result is greater than the sum of the parts.

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4 Minutes, 20 Women: Does This Math Really Match Up?

As I walk into the venue I’m given a name tag and tread apprehensively across the bar floor, quietly attempting to discern those looking for love from the people merely supping post-work beers and cocktails. I’m apprehensive to approach anybody.

“Hello sir, are you here for speed dating?” asks a waitress. A moment’s hesitation is quickly followed by a nod before she reveals that I’m entitled to two free drinks — presumably for Dutch courage and to help alleviate any pre-date jitters.

Clutching my drink, I eventually head over to my fellow speed-daters. The scene resembles a junior high school prom with the men and women grouped separately in opposing corners. Apparently, I’m not the only one feeling a tad self-conscience.

Minutes of awkward small talk pass before the organizers bring the two tribes together to explain the rules and format of the night’s event. It’s straightforward stuff — ladies stay stationary, men rotate every four minutes and both are given a piece of paper to tick boxes of those they’d like to meet again. If any matches are made, contact details are emailed the next day and everyone presumably lives happy ever after. We’re told to have fun and are encouraged to be as offbeat as possible in order to avoid repeatedly asking the standard questions such as “What do you do?”, “Where are you from?” and “What do you like to do at the weekend?”

And with that we’re off. I take a seat opposite my first date and catch her off guard by immediately asking what animal she’d like me to be and what color she thinks Tuesday is. Obviously confused by my unexpected line of catechism, date number one gets off to more of a stutter than a canter.

Proceedings gradually improve over the remaining dates, with an array of disparate personalities providing a variety of conversation. The four-minute time limit increasingly feels shorter with each girl I meet, leaving some encounters on a tantalizing knife-edge that could provide the right amount of bait required for a second rendezvous. Also, the pensive atmosphere that initially smothered the evening has dissipated; the room is full of chatter, laughter and smiles, and everyone appears to be having fun.

Micro Dates

Interestingly, a majority of the women participating are Vietnamese and all of the men are foreign which, unfortunately, means that those clichéd conversation fillers inevitably arise.

“A lot of expat men complain that they find it difficult to find women who are independent, interesting, attractive, and who they can converse with,” she says.

Adding, “The role of women is also changing rapidly in Vietnam, particularly in urban areas. There are more professional, educated and financially independent Vietnamese women than ever before. Some of these women actually face challenges with Vietnamese men who are not prepared to let go of traditional and aging ideas about the role of women”.

Following the end of my micro-dates, I can’t say I’ve made a true love connection, however, a few trends have been spotted. Most of the participants are young professionals working in high-pressured and long-hour jobs such as sales, marketing, events and advertising, and are generally in their mid-to-late 20s and 30s. While finding it generally easy to meet people in Saigon’s chaotic bars and nightclubs, most struggle to make meaningful connections with people, either romantically or otherwise, in a relaxed setting.

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How to Buy Fika Coins on IOS and Android

A quick guide to buying coins for both IOS and Android.

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Let’s travel around the world with Fika’s new feature: Fika Explorer Pass

With the Explorer Pass feature, you can freely travel to any country and make meaningful connections! 💘

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