Do you have asian friends

29th January 2018

First of all: I love my Asian friends. My best buddy from school is Japanese, my first friend in Berlin is Indonesian and my favorite roommate is Chinese. You could say that I have a good connection with the people on this side of the world. I appreciate her attention to detail, her subtle intellect and most of all her love for really awesome food. So at first I wasn't worried about making friends in China. Although after five months I can say that I have really taken a few people into my heart here, there are a few things to consider if you want to make (good) friends in China.

Respect and etiquette - typical Chinese virtues

The Chinese are often generous and courteous. That's why it's important to reciprocate their friendly gestures. It starts with accompanying your new acquaintances back to the subway after the meeting. The Chinese pay attention to that. Dressing properly for a date and being on time is also valued. Under no circumstances should you cancel at short notice or not reply to messages. This is particularly irritating to the Chinese because it makes them lose face. Not to embarrass others and not to bring him or her into inappropriate situations with your own actions or words, that is probably one of the most important rules of conduct in China.

Swap hotpot food for a German breakfast!

Would you like to be invited to a hotpot meal with Chinese? Then take the first step and show your new Chinese friends a German breakfast or a techno party with foreign participants. This is an absolute highlight for your new acquaintances and they will want to return the favor. That brings us to the next topic.

Quite pragmatic - acquaintances benefit foreigners and Chinese

Regardless of nationality, it's nice to have friends. You share the good and the bad moments, you make plans and seek advice. With local acquaintances, however, one is certainly looking for a way into the local culture and society. Accordingly, there is a certain interest in every foreigner-local relationship that goes beyond personal sympathy. This happens on both sides. For your Chinese friends, you represent the contact to “abroad”, to the “free-thinking world”, or simply the key to the exciting community of foreigners in China. Be aware of this and keep the doors wide open.

Enjoy the privileges, but without condescension

With an EU passport you are privileged when it comes to access to education, travel, media, information and much more. That makes you interesting in China. It is far more difficult, if not almost inconceivable, for the Chinese to travel without significant visa barriers. Nor can they research content that is censored in China without a VPN connection. Be grateful for your privilege and do not treat it arrogantly. That is, don't be too quick to judge when some Chinese have not traveled much or do not have a critical opinion on certain topics. Everyone has different life experiences. You can learn something from everyone.

International Chinese help to understand the culture

Especially with little knowledge of culture and language, the barrier is still a bit too high to deal with the Locals getting really warm. Fortunately there are Chinese everywhere, even in western cultures. I have heard that tens of thousands of young US, UK and Canadian Chinese flock to the land of their ancestors every year to take part in China's economic and cultural boom. They are often very interesting people. They are the best link to Chinese culture for newcomers. It is true that one then tends to speak more English to one another. However, the transition to Chinese is all the easier as soon as third parties, (native) Chinese, join in. I can safely say that I have come a lot closer to my Chinese friends in the West in particular.

Finally, I would like to thank my Chinese friends very much, who make my life here so much more beautiful. In the next article I am writing to some really very special acquaintances in Asia.