Valentine’s Day has been and gone for another year, but expressions of love shouldn’t be confined to a single day. If you have your eye on someone who is a German speaker, there’s not much point in waiting around for another whole year to go by before you try your luck. In any event, Valentine’s Day, with a typically blurred and murky history has never quite caught on in quite the same way in German-speaking countries as it has in the English speaking world. It has been commercialized like Mother’s Day and Christmas.
So if your German is not fantastic and you are not familiar with idiomatic German, what do you say to attract the attention of a German speaker or to someone you have been seeing but want to express a more convincing message of affection to? Here is a small selection of phrases in German that have connotations of love and attraction. The trick is to get the courage to try the right phrase out with the right person!
#1 Du bist so schön
The simplest translation of this German phrase is “You’re looking good”. It’s gender non-specific so can be used on anyone, although preferably someone who is going to appreciate the comment. To up the ante, or just to be a little more expressive, you can say “Du siehst sehr gut aus” (You’re looking really good).
#2 Wollen wir irgendwann zusammen Abendessen gehen?
This is a pretty simple question to ask and a little conventional, but it can advance a potential amorous relationship a little further. It just means “How about going out for dinner together?” If you want to skip dinner and do something else together you could try “Hättest du Lust auf ein Date mit mir? As with asking someone out for a date (that’s what it means) who speaks the same language as you, it’s probably best to have something in mind for the date and know how to say whatever that is in German!
#3 Alles Liebe zum Valentinstag!
Valentine’s Day is on 14th February, so it has already gone, but there’s nothing wrong with some linguistic preparation for next year when it rolls by. Hopefully, Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns will be gone by then as Valentine’s Day by Zoom just doesn’t have the same appeal! This little phrase is pretty innocuous as it means “Have a happy Valentine’s Day” and theoretically could be addressed to anyone. You could make it more personal by asking Haben Sie Pläne für den Valentinstag? Which means “Do you have any plans for Valentine’s Day?
#4 Ich habe dich lieb.
There comes a time when it may seem natural to advance the relationship a notch or two and this simple phrase (I like you a lot) will certainly point you in the right direction. You could follow this up with a Magst du mich? Which means “Do you like me?” If things are going particularly well and emotions are running stronger, you could then advance on to Ich liebe dich “I love you”. Of course, the next question naturally becomes Liebst du mich? (Do you love me?). Of course,
if you get to this stage, communication doesn’t have to remain verbal. You don’t need so much translation for body language.