Will Understanding Chinese Culture Endear Me to this Waitress?
" I tried to ask her out for lunch...but she seems not to understand me."
I am interested in a Chinese waitress at a restaurant I have been going to weekly for about a year and a half. Over the past few months I have been gradually been getting to know her and have learned a little about her:
- What days she is off work
- She has been in the US for about 2 years
- She moved here to be with her family
- She told me when her birthday is
- She has friends in New York (were in Florida)
- She loves Chinatown
- She doesn't like American fried food
- She doesn't like noodles either
- She learned to read and write English in China but learned to speak English after she moved here
- She wears a jade cross that her mother gave her
“If I make a Chinese culture mistake and don’t know it will she hold it against me?”
I told her that she is interesting and that I enjoy talking to her. I complemented her cross and when she changed the way she wears her hair.
I make sure most of the of the conversation is about her interests, origin, what she likes.
I am always very polite and try to avoid expressions and slang terms she does not understand.
Does the cross mean she is Christian?
Her 20th birthday (may be her 22nd, I may have misunderstood her) is soon and I was thinking about giving her something. A friend suggested a lucky cat or something cute like a Hello Kitty. What do you recommend?
I tried to ask her out for lunch and suggested we meet when she is free to talk and but she seems not to understand me. What does this mean?
I was thinking of trying to get some coworkers of mine (men and women) to come to the restaurant and invite her to come as a group. Is that a good idea?
I’ve starting going more often and during down time between lunch and dinner or right when they open for lunch, so she has more time to talk.
When I am alone and she is not busy she comes over to for a while and talks till a customer comes in or my food starts to get cold. When I have guests she comes over but not as much. Does this mean she is interested?
Also the other waitress (her roommate) has stopped coming over as much. Does this mean something?
If I make a Chinese culture mistake and don’t know it will she hold it against me?
By the way I am 32 and have been in the US navy for 14 years. I have been to many places including Hong Kong. I enjoy traveling and learning about other cultures.
She has also met my mother because I take her and my niece there for sushi some times. It's actually why I started going there. I heard this could be a good thing because it’s important how you treat your family in Chinese culture. What do you think?Victoria's Answer:
First of all, I sincerely thank you for your interest in our website. We will do our best to offer a helpful hand.
My reply to your questions:
- Does the cross mean she is Christian? Just by wearing a cross doesn’t signify if she is a Christian or not. In China, people usually wear a cross only as a decoration. Many Chinese people believe a jade amulet of any shape offers protection.
“...the more you respect Chinese culture and customs, the more respect she will have for your culture and customs...”
- Recommendation for the gift: The gift should cater to her own habits, hobbies and favorite preferences. For instance, if she likes reading then you could send her a book. If she likes dressing up, you can send her a beautiful dress. It is very important to add a beautiful card and a personal note why you decided to send her such a special gift.
- I’ve tried to ask her out for lunch and suggested we meet when she is free to talk and but she seem not to understand me. What does this mean? Probably she really didn't understand you. You could try and show her these Chinese characters: “等您有空时，能赏光一起去吃个饭吗？” After she reads that, I’m sure there won't be any further misunderstanding. Then you will know if she is interested or not.
- I was thinking of trying to get some coworkers of mine (men and women) to come to the restaurant and invite her to come as a group. Is that a good idea?I think it's better to wait until you are more familiar or you have set up relationship with each other, before you introduce her to your coworkers. Otherwise you may cause her to feel embarrassed.
- When I have guests she comes over but not as much. Does this mean she interested?Maybe she is interested.
- Also the other waitress (her roommate) has stopped coming over as much. Does this mean something? I think partly the is out of politeness. In China, if a friend of ours comes with some guests, we usually first come over for greetings, then leave them alone to be polite and show our respect. Besides, I think your guests also don't want this waitress to come over again and again to interrupt you.
- Treating family well in Chinese culture Yes, in Chinese culture, it's important to get the family's approval before a couple gets married. Even if you haven't set up a relationship with her, the good impression she left to your mother will help her to get approval in the future.
And yes, most Chinese people who immigrate overseas are very understanding about cultural mistakes. That said, the more you learn about Chinese culture and customs, the more respect she will have for you and for your culture and customs.
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