What are the major differences between Chinese and Western cultures?
Gabriella Crystal Hendricks, studied at Northwest University
I'm sorry for taking so long to answer this question. I thought a lot about this question. And I don't want to answer a question Bc I have to, I want to answer a question Bc I have my own experience and opinion about it.
About money: Chinese people love to share their financial situation with people. And sometimes people will ask you how much money you make every month. Not Bc they care, Bc they want to compare and to see who make more money.
For westerners, it's not polite to ask people's financials. Bc it's none of others business.
About spending money: Chinese likes saving money instead of spending. For example, we decorate our house for living, not for feelings. We don't buy extra useless stuff to make our home look beautiful. We buy stuff to use, not for looking. As long as it's still working, we don't get a new one to replace it.
For westerners: people like to make their home cozy and beautiful, sometimes they buy candles and decorations to put it on the table to make it look better.
About who pay the bill: for Chinese people, the elder,the male,the staff instead of the boss, the one who asked people out.
For westeners: ALWAYS PAY FOR YOURSELF
About dating: for Chinese boys, if a boy likes a girl, he would get her number and talk to her, maybe flirt with her and ask her out sometimes without telling the girl that he likes her, if he "felt"the same way, then he will tell her that he likes her and asks her to be his gf. Then if everything goes well, after they became bf and gf,they will go on dates. But sometimes, girls just don't get it. For example, one of my friend gave me medicine when I had a cold. I was grateful about that, but I didn't have a second thought.. We didn't talk that much, I didn't know him that well, he didn't know me well either. One night, he told me that he liked a girl and he didn't know if he should let her know, I was like sure, why not, the chance is fifty-fifty. So later that night, he sent me a message like he wants me to be his gf. I was totally shocked. So I told him that I was busy at doing my homework and I'll talk to him later. He probably thought I was going to turn him down,so after couple days,I told him that I don't him that much, I can't be his gf. And he texted me back said: I was kidding! So I said that I was kidding too. He was trying to save his dignity. But the truth is I don't even know who he is. But for him, it's about I look down on him Bc he's not good Enough. That's not true. It's just Bc I don't know him well Enough. I don't like his personality either.
For westerners: ask a girl out that makes a date and both of them know it. They gets to know each other through the dates.then they establish a relationship. If it doesn't work out, no hard feelings.
Thomas Pauken II, Reporter at Freelance Entrepeneur (2014-present)
I can speak from experience since I have lived in Beijing, China for the past 10 years. There are some major cultural differences but I’ve noticed remarkable similarities as well.
Outside China, few people have awareness of the good traits of the Chinese people because the Western media has portrayed the country in a very negative light. Therefore, many people think the Chinese are bad; but for those who lived in China for awhile or have gotten to know the Chinese they will discover they are good people too.
We should never ignore human nature and that all people have good and bad attributes, they have talents along with strengths and weaknesses in their characters. Some people are good at drawing paintings while others can writes amazing stories. Each person is unique.
Nonetheless, the countries and families they were born into can also impact their behaviors, attitudes, actions and mindsets. But that’s not to say all Chinese are the same as their fellow citizens while you can’t say the Americans are all the same either.
But overall, many Chinese are very forgiving people and pragmatists. I have only met a few Chinese who are diehard stubborn or perfectionists so when mistakes happen they are quick to forgive and seek to move forward without feeling long-held animosity against the person who made the mistake, so long as they understand it was an unintentional act.
In the same vein, many Americans have a similar nature as “forgive and forget” people. You can fight them one day and after matters are resolved they go back to being your friend the next day. For Americans and the Chinese, the mistakes and fights are just normal occurrences in our daily lives, so we should not allow it to ruin our outlooks.
But the biggest cultural difference between Americans and the Chinese would be on the issue of patience. Americans are very impatient and proud of it. They think impatience can connote assertiveness, hard work ethic, proactive and dominant personality.
Whereas the Chinese are much better at patience, willing to wait, wait and wait. And if necessary, they can wait, wait and wait some more without feeling anxious or troublesome. From their perspective an impatient person can not control their emotions and are easy targets to exploit when negotiating deals or settling arguments.
They just wait for the other side to say. “I can’t wait any longer” and they swoop in and suddenly announce their demands in a “take it or leave it” framework. That’s the brilliance of Chinese culture, but the weakness in this strategy is that sometimes patience does not pay off.
Many Americans view the patient person as slow-witted, lazy and weak; while many Chinese think impatient people are foolhardy, rude and unstable of mind. But a good point would be for Americans and the Chinese to look at each other in a more sympathetic manner.
There’s lots of differences. Some are as follows.
Harmony - In ancient Chinese culture, harmony with the universe is emphasized. There’s an order of things that you ought to follow in order to be successful. That’s why China often preserved it’s natural resources because it realized how important it was for it’s survival. Western culture is about imposing your will. You make things happen. You have to work hard and achieve the impossible regardless of what happens. That’s why you often see nature being destroyed in western societies.
Individuality vs. Hierarchy - Chinese culture has a collectivist society. Conforming to a group is very important. They do what’s best for the family and it affects their careers, dating lives, list goes on. If a boss disrespects a Chinese person, he/she is expected to take the insult. Preserving harmony and knowing your place in society is more important than yourself. This isn’t the case in Western culture. The person is more important than a group. You have your own values, choices, opinions, etc.
Success - In Western culture, success is defined by the outside world. Your self worth depends on your achievements and successes. In Chinese society, success is found inside of yourself. You find yourself by eliminating the “false” self and being self-aware. Virtue is highly valued.
Jay Kim, studied Business Administration & Technology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2001)
The Fear of Failure and Challenging Authority
After having spent the last 12 years living over in Hong Kong, I finally feel more Asian than American. As an “American Born Korean” I grew up most of my life with a very western mentality and honestly I still don’t speak Korean very well.