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Allen Cui
Talk about a litte funny thing happened in China but not about Chinese      Every time when i see  foreigners on the road, only if i have a look on them,they wouid say hello and give a smile to  me .it's friendly,but surely we don't know each other before.In china ,we hardly talk to strangers.unless it's a really beautiful gril here or borrow a fire.So why you  foreigners do this in China ?Certaily it's a good thing .i'm just curious about of it .
Sep 19, 2016 9:35 AM
Comments · 8

Part of it is also culture. Where I grew up, if our eyes meet, then we should acknowledge it with a smile, a greeting or both.

But, if you're alone in a foreign country, especially if you don't know much about the language - any semblance of communication goes a long way. In many cases, a smile is good enough. 

September 19, 2016
There are various reasons, but mostly I think because we want to be friendly, to communicate something without words, especially when language could be a barrier. A smile goes  a long way to create a quick friendly hello. 
September 19, 2016

- If you make eye contact with someone in the street by accident, do you smile?

- If you enter a lift/elevator with a stranger, and you're alone with them, do you say hello?

- If you enter a shop, do you smile at and greet the shopkeeper?

My answer to all of these questions would be YES, this is what I was socialized to do in Kansas with fairly low population and lots of farming. Even though I grew up in a city, people are still pretty friendly.

I once traveled with persons from other parts of the U.S. to Europe. I liked my trip, but honestly I felt so happy when I got back home where people smiled warmly and greeted me even if they did not know me.     

I live in the country, but work in a city.  In the country, our norm is to wave and smile at anyone who drives by (as we try to figure out whether we actually know the person or not).  In the city we do not do that.   

September 20, 2016
We are similar in Germany as far as talking to strangers go, and every country has different expectations and ways people interact with strangers so if it's someone's first time to China you can't expect them to know the rule about talking to strangers as it may be different where they come from.
September 19, 2016
Cultural differences put aside, I think smiling at a stranger when you make eye contact is also a very natural mechanism. We humans are social creatures, and unless someone has a very cold expression on their face you are more likely to smile at passers-by :)
September 19, 2016
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Allen Cui
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
English