In Gambia male & female relationships are mostly
initiated by men. This is done either directly or
indirectly using a third party.
start dating in their teens, although in the rural
areas courting can begin earlier than that.
People date and go out more or less freely with each
other in the urban area, while in the rural areas
things are much more controlled because the community
is very small. Young people dating do not physically
express their love in public except at parties or
when they are amongst people their own age.
As a woman, don't be surprised if a man comes and
tells you he loves you; that is how it is done. If a
man approaches a woman then no matter how long the
conversation the words 'nobb' or 'sop' may
come up. The word actually means "like" but very often they are
mistranslated by local people who think it means "I love
you", but actually it means "I like you".
Gambian men who approach you will rarely take a 'no'
for a 'no'. They'll try at least two more times
before giving up. To make your life easier, do not
take it personally when men insist so much. Gambian
women, even when they are very interested, will
always start by declining your amorous advances both to test the
pretender's determination, and to show that they are
not an easy prey.
However, other relationships may be platonic; this
may be co-workers, neighbours etc, who are friends
and may visit each other quite often, although this
sometimes may result in a physical relationship.
Sexual matters are discussed among peers of the same
Gambian men are very friendly with women, and while
you will be eager to meet new people and make
friends, be aware that Gambian women may interpret
your reactions toward male solicitation in a way that
you never intended. If you find that you are
overwhelmed with unwanted male attention, try to use humour to diffuse
the situation or to exit it without incurring bad
feelings. Humour is used in many situations in
Gambia, and it can be a very effective tool to
communicate difficult messages without insulting
is used among some young girls to prevent
pregnancy, but again it is used more in the urban
than rural areas due to illiteracy, poverty and lack of