5 Pro Tips for Being Friends with Chinese People
When I first came to China I was amazed by how easy it was to connect with Chinese people, but becoming close friends with them was another story. I knew that different cultural norms and language posed a challenge, and it took me a while to figure out how to approach this kind of friendship the right way.
Chinese people’s personalities and characters are greatly influenced by their history and culture, especially by Confucian ideology. Chinese people are friendly and welcoming to newcomers. Nevertheless, having Chinese friends can sometimes be challenging due to the language barrier and cultural differences. In this article, we bring you five tips on how to overcome these obstacles and become good friends with Chinese people.
1) Keep in Touch with Your Friends Using WeChat
WeChat is one of the biggest social networks in China. It is a must-have app for handling everyday life in China because it offers a wide range of services, but it’s primarily a social platform that helps you to easily connect with people. Messages in WeChat can be translated from Chinese to English and vice-versa, which is a great way to stay in touch even with non-English speaking friends. WeChat groups allow you to connect with a circle of friends who have similar interests and hobbies as you. Adding contacts on WeChat happens all the time, so I encourage you to add all people that you find interesting, even if you’ve just met them!
2) Sharing Food During Dinner
Sharing food and chatting has always been a part of Chinese tradition. Dinners are as important for making friends as they are for meeting with business partners and making deals. The most common way is to have dinner at a restaurant while sitting at a rotating round table. This way everyone can share all the dishes on the table. Making a toast is done by saying “ganbei” while slightly tapping your glass on the table before taking a shot. Chinese dinners are a great opportunity to taste delicious food and share funny stories with your friends.
3) Become a Karaoke Star at KTV
A common misconception is that Chinese people don’t party. This is far from the truth! KTV stands for karaoke television and this is the place where the party starts! You and your friends will get a private room with a karaoke machine, order some snacks and drinks and the fun can begin. Each of you will choose some songs and wait for your turn to perform. KTV is a place where even people with stern faces let down their guard and show others their singing and dancing moves. Having fun at KTV will help you and your friends to get past any shyness and language barriers.
4) Master Your Poker Face
You are at the bar or a club and suddenly you hear a group of people screaming and rolling dice – they are playing Liar’s Dice! Liar’s Dice is a very popular drinking game in China and playing it in a foreign language is a unique experience. This game is usually played with five dice and a cup for each player. You’ll take turns predicting how many dice with the same number other players have. When you think the previous player is bluffing about his or her dice, accuse them of lying and see who’s right! Apart from drinking alcohol, you get to perfect your poker face while calling others’ bluff. This game is a great way to bond with Chinese as well as other foreign friends.
5) Learn More About Chinese Culture
When I first came to China, I had many questions. I was curious about the trend of drinking hot water, dancing at squares, the meaning of “saving face”. Also, I couldn’t understand why some people burn joss paper at the crossroads and why my friends don’t let me pay the bill at restaurants. Answer to most of these questions lies in the Chinese culture and in order to understand the behavior and opinion of your Chinese friends, you will need to do some research. From my experience, the best way is to ask your friends. They will be impressed with your interest in their culture and this will strengthen your friendship even more.
Cross-cultural friendships teach us that we all have distinct ways of handling life situations, from dealing with hardships to celebrating successes. These friendships may take more work, sometimes even throwing our believes and convictions into question, but they will make us more open minded and make us embrace different ways of thinking. Immersing yourself in Chinese culture will let you step outside of your comfort zone, but at the same time you’ll get closer to getting to know yourself.
About the author Vesna Bozovic
Vesna is an enthusiastic girl with endless curiosity and passion for life. She has been living in China for the past three years while studying for her master’s degree. She likes colorful umbrellas, cheese and poetry.