Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Lets be friends…

Posted by w_thames_the_d on November 25, 2009


When I came to China I was surprised to see how many ‘friends’ I had. Everywhere everyone was asking me if we could ‘be friends’. Friends, I thought, hell yeah, cant have enough of them…

Now ‘being a friend’ in China can mean many things, just as in the States. For instance, if you have amorous desires towards a woman and she says this, well, just walk on. Or, for instance, in the fifth grade, this is akin to a pact, being a friend may mean best friend, or to be on one’s sacred friend list. A list of people with whom one can chat, phone, generally annoy.

What I have found out is that in China, if asked, answer in the affirmative that you will be a friend to all. When they ask they question here, they are basically asking if they may communicate further with you in the future. The beauty of it all is that they are pretty timid people, so keeping in touch may mean nothing more than a text message a week or an email.

Being accepted into a friendship in China, is like being in the mob. They have several layers, like an onion. Typically when asked this question, you may feel it odd, seems somewhat sophomoric. Basically it is a benign request, unless it is from an overbearing student or 20something who wishes to improve their English, it is just another person for them to put in their list of names in their cell. Maybe its for prestige when showing others, maybe to help you, doesn’t really matter, just say "Yes, I would be honored to be your friend."

All about Chinese culture…

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