Chinese Gestures and Dating

The biggest obstacles in any mixed interracial relationship is the language and cultural differences, but all we know, it’s very hard to learn them well in a short time for foreigners. Under such circumstances, a basic understanding of gestures and body language is helpful and absolutely essential. Below is a collection of the key Chinese gestures that anyone who is dating a Chinese woman or man should be aware of.

Some Basic Gestures
Like most countries, head nodding means agreement or greeting, and shaking head means disagreement or “No”. Applauding means appreciation or agreement, and waving one’s hand means goodbye. Most Chinese and English expressions and their meanings are totally same. For example, patting on the back means encouragement and appreciation. Pulling a long face indicates unhappiness and anger. Being all smile means happiness, standing with folded arms means indifference, etc.

Showing in Love
When you meet and greet new Chinese people, please remember do not hug and kiss. In China, people greet with each other with head nodding, smile, hand shaking and so on. Even good friends just hold hands for a short time or hammer softly on the other friend’s shoulder. In many English speaking countries, people used to hug or kiss each other in public between males and females, which is unacceptable and only exists between lovers and couples in private in China. Usually, Chinese people do not show public affection towards each other, but this tradition may change over time.

And it may be common to see youth of the same sex hold hands or walking arm-in-arm in China, they’re just friends though in English speaking countries, it will be regarded homosexuality.

Different Gestures in Different Cultures
Take some examples to explain the different meaning of the same cultures to avoid embarassing mix-ups:

A foreigner broke a dish in a restaurant and felt embarrassed, but Chinese who were on the spot smiled at him, which made the foreigner angrier. In fact, this smile means “Never mind”. Another facial expression is stretching out one’s tongue. When a Chinese girl realize that her behavior is unsuitable and feel embarrassed, she often stretch out her tongues and shrink her necks at the same time. But Americans never do it. They think it is rude.

In America, common friends and acquaintances will avoid body touch except greeting, when touching the other people slightly or unconsciously, people will say “Sorry”, “Excuse me” in a hurry to express apology, or they will be abused. They particularly mind their private space, which often represents people’s privacy and intimacy. But Chinese people pay less attention to their private space. It is crowded in China because of a large population. So Chinese have got used to it and they often show their understanding and tolerance.

Or you may have found many people in China consider it rude to show the inside of their mouth, especially Chinese young girls. That’s why so many Chinese girls cover their mouth in a cute way while they laugh.

Conclusion: If you will visit China to dating your Chinese girl, if you don’t speak much Chinese, or if her English is rusty, please learn somen Chinese Body language and Gestures, then you can speak with your hands.
If you have a Chinese lover, please remember:
•make sense of the Chinese cultural differences
•relate to your Chinese lover with more compassion and understanding
•make a more favorable impression on her friends and family
•broaden your knowledge of Chinese culture and traditions
If you have not, please:
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