This post could help you to avoid embarassing or humiliating situations. It will give you 10 important pieces of advice on what you should do if you want to make friends and make a good impression with Chinese people. Keep these in mind at all times!
Never accept a compliment
You could be astonished when you compliment a Chinese person for the first time. If you are invited to his home for the first time and you compliment the meal, he will answer that the food was horrible. He will say the same thing if you compliment his son for example. He will say that he’s ugly and stupid. It’s not mean, but humble and polite.
Moral of the story : feign humility, even if that isn’t your style.
If you want to be appreciated by Chinese people, and be like them, you will have to avoid compliments.
Never humiliate someone
The worst thing you can do to a Chinese person is humiliate him or embarrass him. If you do, he will be less inclined to be friends with you. So, don’t put them in an embarrassing situation with people.
But, what you can do is help someone to gain confidence by giving them a compliment. Do it whatever the situation, your kindness will always be appreciated.
Never get angry in public
When you are really angry, it’s really seen badly by Chinese because they don’t know how to deal with it and they seem uncomfortable, even more if the angry person is a tourist. Everybody will lose respect and that’s what you have to avoid the most. What Chinese appreciate the most is a harmonious group, with polite tourists.
Never call someone by his first name
Chinese have a first name and a family name like everybody.
However, in China, the family name is always used first. Family and close friends take precendence in general. Joe Smith from Minnesota is known as Smith, Joe. If a men presents himself like LI Ming, you will have to call him Mr. Li and not Mr. Ming.
Unlike Western people, Chinese people are uncomfortable with calling someone by his first name. There is only the family and close friends who can add before the family name, lao (old) or xiao (young) to show that they are close.
Never eat with the wrong side of the chopsticks
Next time you will eat with Chinese people, you will understand that people will never give you food because everyone serves himself with his own chopsticks on his plate.
Never drink alcohol before offering a toast
A Chinese dinner includes 8 to 10 different plates with a lot of alcohol.
You can drink rice wine, or industrial Mao Tai which is known for getting foreigners drunk. The only way to slow the drinking is to follow Chinese tradition by offering a toast to your host or somebody around the table. It will first of all avoid you being drunk quickly, but also shows your gratitude to your host and to people around the table. If anyone offers you a toast, saying Gan Bei, be aware.
Gan bei meens drink the whole drink quickly, and you will have to finish it. Don’t worry, you can answer shui yi and only take a little part of it.
Never let somebody pay the bill before fighting for it
Most Western people are astonished by some scenes you see in a restaurant at the end of the meal. When you have to pay the bill, everybody does what they has to do, fighting like never before to be the one who is going to pay. Chinese appreciate people who insists violently and try to catch the bill. This can take a while, like few minutes in general until someone wins and pays.
Never come without gifts
Chinese always give many gifts, and not only for special occasions. If you are invited to someone’s house for business discussions or other reasons, both parties give gifts to each other. Westerners are always surprised by the number of gifts that a Chinese host is offered. The general rule is to bring many little gifts when you are traveling to China. You never know if someone will give you a gift and you will always have some on you.
Never accept food, drinks or gifts without refusing many times
Respectful guests will never accept a gift when they are invited in somebody’s home. Whatever they always give and receive gifts, China’s tradition wants you to refuse many times the gift before accepting it.
Never accept the no thanks
Chinese systematically refuse food or drinks many times, . Never take the « no thanks » literally. Even if they repeat it, give them food and drink anyway. A good guest is supposed to refuse at least once, but a respectful host is also supposed to make the offer at least twice.
Post proposed by Antoine