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Hello everybody, 大家好!

Yesterday I had an interesting discussion with a German friend who complained to me that Chinese people were so difficult to understand and that he could not become real friends with them. This gave me occasion to ponder and I came up with the idea, that probably there is a fundamental difference concerning the concept of "friendship" in the cultural areas of Europe and China. Here is my hypothesis:

Friendship in...

1) Europe is an emotional connection of people without materialistic connotations.

2) China is a connection of people based on mutual usefulness. If one of the persons involved ceases to be useful for the other, the friendship stops.

What do you think, how much is true of this? Also, are there different nuances in different areas of Europe or China? What do you think can be expected of friendship?

Dec 6, 2014 7:08 AM
Comments · 18

Different people have different attitudes toward friendship, family and career, etc. Personally speaking I dont think friendship is based on mutual usefulness or some stupid materialistic connection since I earn everything by myself. The stereotype and generalization here make the standpoint invalid. I have come across Europeans who "use" people for their own advantage and when the goal is achieved, the so-called friendship ends. I have also come across Chinese who sacrifice their own time and benefits for the sake of friends.

December 6, 2014

That is so not true.


Friendship does mean "an emotional connection of people" in China too. Of course sometimes I will ask my friend for a favor or I will help my friend, but it does not mean that I see my friend as a "useful resourse". I will not stop our friendship just because my friend stop being useful to me, and vice versa.   


However, some people might hang out with each other for material intentions because "connections" are important in China. Knowing a lot of people may be your ladder into higher class. That is not friendship. No one will see that as a friendship.  Nowadays "connections" are becoming less and less important in China due to economic development. 


Honestly, I find that western people are hard to understand too. I think that is because of culture difference.  People from different places think differently. This is normal. Just need to know each other better.

December 6, 2014

Hello. All of the views were very interesting.

   I would say China is very huge so that China has 1.4 billion people, people from different cities have different characteristics. There is absolute a different than other countries.  Because China's education system made Chinese got different qualified education, although our education has been in development, but the level is completely different. I must say I did not discrimination.

  I heard one of my friends said the goal in her school education was the results are everything. Their teachers trained them to believe that learning would change their life. So they do not even care about true friendship. Think everyone is a contender in her class, thats the reson why lots students wants to get high points in their final test of high school to enter the big cities. this is the second different than Deutschland. I always think this is a failure of Chinese education. Maybe this is the reason why most Chinese Ministry of Education employees put their children study abroad.

  But china also have good quality education in Beijing, Shanghai and some big cities.. shame I really want to say more cities but I want to be honest.  Our police was started the first quality of education (素质教育) at Beijing in 1983. They started not just focus on result.
  I was a Chinese teacher, all of my students are foreigners. and most of them are German. They are really nice and sincere made me like German style very much. A German girl  became the best foreign friend of mine. Shen said we are sisters. No more bad mind.
By the way. Every contery has good and bad thing. but I am sure MOSTyou and your friends may need some luck. When you make friends with colored glasses, then you will got friends with colored glasses.

December 8, 2014

Hi, 熊力, Bruce! It is very nice  to read your discussion.

First, I 'd say Chinese do have real friendship when someone who is Chinese is familiar with you. 

Like Bruce said above, lots of Chinese have a reserve, especially lots of Chinese you meet in this forum, because I believe that most of Chinese who come here for learning English are students and lots of Chinese students tend to be reserve. This arises from Chinese education, which froces students spend most of their time just for examinations, achieving good scores, attendting good unversity, etc. As we have been spent so much time, nearly more than 15 years, for these things, lots of people even do not know how to communicate with others appropriately, not to mention euthusiasm for a stranger. Also, such a long study process or having a unversity education does not mean they could find  satisfied jobs.  Besides, In China, people sometimes do not feel save when talking to a stranger, so most people seldom start a conversation with strangers, and this is more commonly found among young people.


December 6, 2014

emmm....It is an interesting topic.I think the friendship is all the same meaning no matter where are you comes from .A real friendship shouldnt be based on mutual usefulness (or interests) but common tastes.The problem that your german friend can not make friends with chinese maybe dues to the diffferent cultures .

December 6, 2014
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