If you want to succeed in Chinese dating and also be able to build meaningful relationships while living in China, you will have to learn the Chinese art of saying “No,” and negative statements in general. The American way of doing it is just too blunt, careless, and insensitive – at least, this is how the Chinese view it. In China, you can’t just call it as you see it, especially when it will cause someone to lose face; you have to be considerate, give them a way out, or simply leave them guessing.
This is especially important in your place of work and, when you finally find your dream Chinese woman, when you’re interacting with her family. It will take time and plenty of confusing experiences, but, eventually, you will develop a more-or-less-acceptable euphemistic tongue, which will help you build and nurture long-term relationships.
In the work place, colleagues, particularly those who have lower positions than you, will often take on more work than they can handle because they won’t say no when you ask them directly if they can finish it, and you’re not able to read between the lines of their vague answers. Of course, you will then expect them to actually finish the job because you don’t know any better. Here are some ways that they might try to tell you in a very roundabout way that “No, they can’t do it.” You can even use these replies yourself and your colleagues will understand your real meaning perfectly.
- I’ll do my best.
- It’s inconvenient.
- Maybe I can.
- I’ll give it a shot.
The same goes for situations where you have to refuse a request or tell somebody that they can’t do something, like take a nap in the middle of work. And it’s always best to do it when nobody else is around so they won’t lose face.
- I’ll think about it.
- Next time we need to talk to a client, observe how I do it.
- I hope you’ll get plenty of rest tonight, so you won’t be too sleepy tomorrow at work.
- It’s been a very busy day at work today, Honey; it’s up to you if you still want us to go to that videoke bar or just have a quiet dinner at home tonight.
When you’re asked for an opinion or have to approve a completed work, instead of saying something is awful, you can use these statements disguised as positive reinforcement.
- Not bad.
- It looks alright; how about you take some more time to make some improvements?
- I appreciate your effort! Review it some more and then show me again.
- That dress is nice, Honey; but you look lovelier in the red quipao.
If you don’t agree with something, the best way to handle it is to mention why it’s maybe a good idea but not the best and the reasons why another option is better; don’t just say you don’t like it.
- Honey, I want us to get married as soon as possible, so maybe we should have a more intimate and romantic wedding, and then maybe we can go on that honeymoon cruise we wanted!
- This idea might work, but how about if we do it like this?
Being an expat means the Chinese around you are often more understanding if you get confused or if you are more direct than is considered polite. But being an expat also means you will have to adapt to the Chinese way of doing things, don’t expect them to adjust to you. Always remember that if there are any misunderstandings, it’s very likely that there was a complete disconnect between what somebody said and your expectations. Given enough time and an open mind, you will soon be able to decipher Chinese euphemisms for “No” and even deliver them yourself like a natural! This is especially important when you’re seriously involved in Chinese dating while seeking your ideal China love match.
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