Tuesday, October 7, 2008

No comments, please.

One thing I that sometimes leaves me confused is that every time I meet with a Chinese friend they comment on how I look. It stretches beyond the whole 'u look so fat' thing into comments about my face, about my clothes, and about my voice?! One given examples is my language partner. We meet once a week and every time he sees me he tells me:

-You look so tired!
-You look really happy today!
-You look like you've been sick.
-Your hair is different.
-I can tell from your voice that something has happened.
-You don't look too well.

Although this annoyed me a bit at first, I have now adapted to the method. I have caught myself always commenting how my friends look when I see them. (However, I try to leave out the not so flattering comments like 'you look terrible/like you've put on weight' etc). I guess my main confusion is, why is it so important to tell someone that they don't look good? Normally the person already knows him/herself. Paying a compliment is one thing going on about how 'tired' or 'worn out' the other person looks (at times it has been funny as well because there I have arrived, all happy and perky just to be told that my face looks really tired... aooch!)? Hm... I don't know. Sometimes the Chinese 'honesty' can be too much.

The driver at my bf's company is a classic example of when not to speak your thoughts.

The first time he met me he said:

-Oh Jonna, great to finally meet you! I have seen photos of you before although then I thought that you didn't look very good. Now when I meet you in person you look better.

-Oh... great to meet you too?!!

I know that there isn't supposed to be any direct harm in these words... but I don't know. I still find comments like this a bit odd. And I definitely don't understand what purpose they serve?


Anonymous said...

they said that just to show you that they care about you and they have noticed every little change in you..it's totally kind.
for example the chinese may say "you look prettier than in the photo!" when meet a girl at firsttime. Relatives tend to mention "you have gain weight!/u have lost weight!"when meet their children. usually men more often greet women like this so do relatives greet their children. it's just a way to show "u see, im not ignoring u but caring abt u"

Anonymous said...

By making those comments, it shows people you care. It's actually quite important, or at least I thought so...

Vampire Rabbit said...

No comment, you're welcome. :-p

Jonna Wibelius said...

Hm... OK I get it.. although I still think it is a strange way to show that u care about someone? But I guess that's what's called 'culture differences.' :)

Mark's Blog said...

That's indeed a big cultural difference--caring with Chinese characteristics

Unknown said...

thanks im not alone! my chinese friends always say the same to me !
"awww what happened?? u look so tired!! "
"u lost alot of weight! but i think u need to loose more! eat more fruits."
"u got "panda eyes" today" - this one is my favorite!