You must feel a certain degree of admiration and respect, perhaps even love, for China if you’re planning on finding a Chinese wife and relocating to the Middle Kingdom. From your Chinese online dating experiences, you must already be aware of the cultural clashes that can sometimes be exciting or amusing, and at other times simply confusing or annoying. You can survive these by knowing and preparing yourself for the typically Chinese behaviors that you can expect when you get there.
When greeting or meeting somebody for the first time, for example, shaking hands is not the typical form of Chinese greeting. In business/professional settings, shaking hands has been adopted by many Chinese, but it’s still only a very cursory gesture. While considered a formal form of address, Chinese handshakes are seldom firm.
In most other settings, particularly the casual ones, you might only get a quick glance of acknowledgement, maybe even a small wave; the Chinese don’t like making direct eye contact, so don’t feel offended when they won’t look at you. When being handed a business card, accept it using just the fingertips of both hands; if the person is standing, you should also stand. Give the card a thorough look before putting it in your wallet.
Whether they’re acquaintances or friends, the Chinese have the habit of asking questions and making remarks that are often considered too personal by westerners. Again, don’t be offended if somebody asks you what you do for a living and how much your salary is; if a neighbor asks about your marital status and gives you unsolicited relationship/marriage advice; if a co-worker asks about the car and house you own back in your home country and how much they cost; or if the old lady at the market says you should watch what you eat and exercise more because you’re getting fat.
Depending on what area of China you’re going, you should also expect a certain degree of “celebrity status.” In less developed areas, the locals will stare and point at you, whisper amongst themselves, wave to you and shout “Hello,” and/or ask to have a picture taken with you. Always remember to be patient and polite.
One thing you might find harder to adjust to is the constant invasion of your personal space. You will often find people standing so close to you that their arm brushes against yours or you feel their hot breath on your nape; when somebody’s talking to you, they might lean or stand too close to make you uncomfortable. Just remember that given China’s dense population, especially in the urban areas, having personal space is, more often than not, simply impossible; additionally the concept is completely foreign to the Chinese.
What you may find even more annoying than the invasion of your personal space is the Chinese’ habit of line-cutting or not falling in line at all. You will just have to learn to cut lines, as well, and to develop a strategy that will minimize the instances of people cutting in front of you.
Whether you’re walking, waiting for the train or a cab, standing in line, or simply enjoying the sights, you will most likely hear and see a local coughing up and spitting out a glob of spit. Maybe you’ll get used to it, or maybe it will never make you stop cringing. In any case, just always watch where you step.
Whatever opinions you may form based on these behaviors, don’t forget that you are still only a guest in their country. You may not approve of some or all of these behaviors, but you should not act rudely or as if you’re better than them. Keeping your mind open does not mean that you always have to do as the Chinese do. There are so many more things about China that deserve your appreciation, not the least of which are the lovely Chinese ladies.
Discover tons of great information about living in China, Chinese dating and relationships, and Chinese women on the blogs, magazine and forum of ChinaLoveMatch.net (the home of trusted Chinese dating), where international men and Chinese women share their life experiences and bare their souls to give you the real goods on love, cross-cultural relationships, and all things Chinese.