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I've been living in mainland China for about 5 years now, and I still haven't gotten used to this word. So does this word bother you? If so, what do you do when you hear it? If it doesn't bother you, how does it make you feel?
It makes me upset to hear it only because it seems to be used in an almost exclusively negative context. My personal "rules of engagement" are the following:
1. If I hear a stranger say it, and I am in no way involved in a conversation with them, I ignore them and pretend I didn't hear it.
2. If it's someone I just met, I will ask them politely to not use that word, as it makes me uncomfortable.
3. If it's someone I know well, I will be more direct and tell them to stop.
Everyone feels and reacts differently to and about this word, and I'm not here to argue if it's a "bad" or "racist" word or not, because the concept of racism is a very complicated subject within most Asian cultures and can be difficult to understand. My interest is solely in how different people react or respond upon hearing this word.
Let's keep it friendly!
Actually，as a Chinese I don't like this word,too.
Well，I think it's not involved with racism,but I consider it's impolite.
Your personal "rules of engagement" has nothing wrong in my view.Just keep your principle and I believe reasonable Chinese will respect your feelings.Don't care the unreasonable ones.
I didn't know that 老外 is a negative word, I thought it's just a nickname of 外国人(foreigner) .
Anyway, I learned a lesson today.
I agree with River, actually I think most of the people who say this word didn't mean to be impolite. Just a nickname of foreigner I guess. You may come across with another word “外国人” often，do you like that? If this word do not bother you,I think there is no need to feel unpleasant,because “老外” has the same meaning as “外国人” and it's shorter and easier to say especially for the old generation.There is no racism and other feelings involved.
Although I'm not used to say it, but I still want you to feel relax because I think most Chinese are very friendly. Hope you enjoy your time in China. :)
hey buddy! As a chinese i think they just wanna show their curious about you.you know there are not so many foreighers in some cities of china. So be positive at least it means you are handsome and charming because you attracted their attention.
its just a nickname without any offense，take it aesy，most Chinese are very warm and willing to help others（especially strangers）
enjoy yourselves in learning Chinese！ ：）
Take it easy, it's just a call。Chinese sometimes like to call other people using "老"。
Take is easy. 老外 is not an impolite way to call foreigner. Chinese even call their moms 老妈， dads 老爸， husbands 老公， wivies 老婆。 See? 老 means dear. I dont understand what makes you feel so upset?
1."老外"is a neutral words,it's true!so...relax~
2.suppose I hv a very good foreign friend and others call him "老外",I don't like it.
3.I will not call my good friend "老外" 'cause it sounds regard him as an outsider