How to Make a Good Impression on Your Chinese Girlfriend’s Parents

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Meeting the parents of your girlfriend can be tough, even when you’re dating someone of your same culture and nationality, so it can certainly be even more nerve-wracking when you’re dealing with an international dating situation. There are so many traditions and expectations that you may not be used to or even have the faintest clue about, and sometimes when you’re dating someone of a culture that is very unlike your own, it can feel like you’re walking on eggshells in an effort not to offend their family. It’s these differences in culture that add to the mystery and excitement of dating internationally, but it can also make for a lot of awkward situations if you are not cautious.

This is never more true than when you are dating a Chinese woman. As a Westerner, many of your experiences and social programming will simply not apply, and—let’s face it—you’re probably already at a disadvantage in the eyes of her parents because you are not Chinese. Keep in mind that Chinese people are more wary of foreigners than most Westerners are, and that they will be concerned for the long-term security of their child. You may feel sometimes that they are judging you, and they very well may be; in fact, they may even refuse to accept you, if they are particularly strict. You can tip the odds in your favor, though, by following these tips and making a good impression on her parents the first time that you meet them:

1) First of all, bring a giftBring a Gift For Your Chinese Girlfriend's Parents

Before you even head over to their house, be sure to pick up a thoughtful gift for your potential in-laws. It doesn’t need to be anything overtly fancy, but don’t insult them by buying anything clearly cheap, either. A good, safe zone is to stick with traditional edibles, such as teas and herbs. You might also want to ask your girlfriend for some suggestions if you really have no idea. Generally speaking, don’t bring flowers, as these don’t have the same connotations as they do in the West.

2) Be respectful

Make polite comments about the house and ask questions to start some small talk. Don’t get too loud or seem too emotional. Avoid getting too familiar too quickly, as well: It is much better to shake hands and nod politely to her parents than to try to hug them when you’ve only just met. In addition, address them with all of the correct honorifics.

3) Make an effort to speak Chinese

Even if your Chinese is broken, or you have difficultly understanding the dialect that her parents speak, her parents will almost certainly appreciate your effort when they see that you are trying to engage and do your best to bridge the gap. When they tell you stories, smile and nod even if you don’t completely understand what may have been said. Pay close attention to body language cues and laugh when everyone else is laughing.

4) Sing your girlfriend’s praises

Once you start getting into deeper conversation, this is the perfect time to start throwing in compliments about your girlfriend. Tell her parents how great you think she is, and explain all of the traits that you think are positive about her, especially those that would make her a good wife. Talk about how talented and smart and capable she is; this is an indirect compliment to her parents and can be very effective, and it tells them that you’re interested in her for the long term. They will also be glad that you appreciate their daughter for all the right reasons, so make it obvious that you truly care for her. On the other hand, however…

5) Avoid being overtly affectionate with your girlfriend

Don’t kiss your girlfriend around her parents or engage in anything that even vaguely implies sexual affection. Don’t hug her or hold her close, either; though such behavior is considered normal in the West, in China it is seen as disrespectful to do this in front of her parents.

6) Keep a look out for the needs of others

In Chinese culture, it is good form to address the needs of others before your own, especially around the dinner table. Offer food to others before you take your portion and fill people’s cups if they appear to be empty. This will go very far in making a good impression, especially since Western people are often viewed as being more rude and individualistic.

7) Do not refuse food Don't Refuse Food When Meeting Your Girlfriend's Parents

Make sure to sample a piece of everything that is placed on the table, and to eat everything off your plate. This shows appreciation for both the cook and the culture. Besides, you might find yourself trying foods that you’ve never heard of before, and that’s always a good thing.

8) Be genuine

At the end of the day, her parents are just people, and they’re almost certainly curious about you. The fact that you are meeting them at all means that you’re probably serious about their daughter, and that means that they are going to want to get to know the real you. While you should be on your best behavior, and act as respectful as possible, that doesn’t mean that you have to be somebody you’re not. Don’t put up a front; own who you are and all of your flaws. In fact, her parents will probably appreciate humility over any attempts to paint a fake, embellished portrait of who you are just to impress them.

As you might imagine, meeting the parents of your Chinese girlfriend can be a tense experience sometimes, and you may feel the weight of expectations on your shoulders very acutely. Try to remember, though, that her parents may be just as nervous as you are. They, too, may be trying hard to make a good impression, especially if they suspect that you may be their future son-in-law. Because of this, try to treat them with compassion and don’t view them as “the opposition.” Above all, find common ground where you can.

Dating Chinese Women – Tips You Need To Know

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Asian Model PosingThere’s almost always going to be some kind of learning curve when you’re first getting into dating women of a different culture—in fact, that exact sense of fast-paced learning and discovery is exactly why it can be so much more stimulating than dating a Western woman at times. That feeling of the “unknown” can make cross-cultural love affairs particularly intense.

On the other hand, of course there is a dark side of sorts to this: With every moment of extreme passion and exploration, there can be moments of frustration. The very things about her that seem like an exciting mystery at one moment can become an annoying enigma the next. And you know what? It’s probably the same from her perspective, too; don’t forget that a woman encountering a man from a strange culture such as yourself is likely going through the same emotional ups and downs as you.

One thing that can minimize the downside when you’re first starting the seduction process, however, is a bit of education. Take a look at these tips for when you’re dating Chinese women and try to internalize them as best you can:

1) First of all, accept that you’re foreign

Own what you are. The last thing you want to do is to try to act like an average Chinese man in order to appeal to her. If she showed interest in you, it’s probably because she’s looking for something “different” and exotic, not because she wants to experience the same old traditional dating ritual that she’s used to from men of her own culture. In fact, she may be looking for a little bit of adventure with you, so why not play along with whatever fantasy she has in her mind? If she’s looking to date you because you’re specifically foreign, half the work has already been done for you; don’t break the allure of mystery that you can build by trying to “act Chinese.”

2) Don’t be afraid to challenge her

Again, she’s probably looking for something different if she’s making moon-eyes at you, a Westerner. Most attractive women, especially those who live in an environment as conservative as the Chinese culture, deal with suiters who attempt to go through the usual, expected notions of buying her dinner and trying to win her through favors.

Throw all of that out the window. Be different. Be unexpected. Keep things casual and stay more or less aloof at first. Allow her to show interest in you first before you become too invested. Introduce her to new customs, foods, and other enriching aspects of your own culture. Constantly throw new and challenging things at her; this is likely not only what she’s subconsciously looking for from a foreigner, but it’s also what will make her attracted to a man, regardless of his cultural background.

3) Don’t look too unkempt

Of course, the Western standards and the Chinese standards for “unkempt” are likely to be different, so educate yourself on what the local preference may be. For one, though, Chinese girls seem to prefer clean-shaved men, but if you’re going for that “exotic” angle, it might not hurt to keep a small, well-groomed goatee to make your Western-ness stand out a little more. However, you may find that you won’t have much luck with the long, voluminous hobo beards that have been popular in the West of late.

By the way, Westerners have a general reputation in a lot of Asian countries as being more “gross” than Asian people. It may be an unfair categorization, but just to be on the safe side, be sure to give yourself a good wash and rub some deodorant on your pits.

Finally, wear some decent clothes. In the West—particularly in the US—people are used to wearing extremely casual, sometimes pajama-esque clothes all the time, even when they go out. By all means, don’t wear a tuxedo or anything when you meet her, but a decent shirt and pants wouldn’t hurt.

4) Do not tie yourself to one woman too soon

Like the women of most cultures, as much as they may deny it, Chinese women like to see a man who is desired by other women. Of course, you don’t have to rub it in her face that you’re seeing other girls, but, on the other hand, making it clear that you’re 100% invested in her too soon will make her feel pressured (not to mention less attracted to you), so seek a happy medium and let the question of your commitment hang a little. Don’t deny that you’re seeing other women, but don’t go out of your way to confirm it, either. It’s much more powerful if she learns about it through the grapevine anyway.

5) Don’t be a lying, cheating sleaze

On the other hand, there is no need to be dishonest about your romantic activities, and in fact behaving like a sociopath will not win you any points with Chinese girls the way some people claim it does with Western girls.

Keep your word and don’t be flaky. Avoid playing immature mind games. Be honest and upfront about what kind of relationship you’re looking for, and don’t pretend that you desire some kind of commitment if you’re only looking for a casual romance.

6) Listen carefully to the messages in her actions

Generally-speaking, Chinese women (and Chinese people) are not as expressive with their emotions as Western people are. Many of them have never even told their own mothers “I love you.” Because of this tendency to be more guarded and slower to reveal her true emotions, you will have to read between the lines here to see the signs of her affection.

Instead of looking for the evidence of her feelings in her words, look at the way she acts. Does she do lots of little favors for you? Does she cook for you? Does she buy you trinkets on occasion? These could all be signs of a special fondness that she feels for you. Pay close attention.

7) Don’t insult her family

This may be obvious, but when you’re dealing with a different culture, you might not realize certain critical local customs. If things are getting serious and you’re about to meet any members of her family, familiarize yourself with cultural habits and introduce yourself as politely as possible.

Ultimately, though there are a few things to learn that are particular to the Chinese culture, dating a Chinese woman is, at its core, not much different than dating any other woman. Most women, regardless of culture, are looking for an exciting, challenging man who can offer them diverse experiences in an honest way. Simply be that man, and the rest follows.

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