Why Chinese People Like to Stare at You, and How You Should Respond

Staring. One of the best ways to make a person feel a little uncomfortable, especially if they are a complete stranger.

When I was growing up, I was taught that it’s rude to stare at someone else.


Photo courtesy of Flickr.com/StevenDepolo

But come to China and try telling someone on the street not to stare. You might as well tell them not to breathe! It’s one of those phenomenons that has its roots planted deep within the culture and it shows little signs of stopping.

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Chinese People: Direct or Indirect?

As a foreigner living in mainland China, it’s really easy for me to pick up on all the obvious cultural differences between my culture and the one I currently live in. The spitting, the staring, the squat toilets…these are just a few of the many things that go against what I think should be “normal.”

What’s much more difficult to discern is why the Chinese do certain things.

Today, I want to focus on their style of communication. As a general rule of thumb, Chinese mainlanders are more indirect than Westerners. We tend to be more black-and-white in our communication, while the Chinese tend to beat around the bush a little more.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com/FutUndBeidl

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com/FutUndBeidl

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