Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chinese people are sensitive to flattery?

In China people flatter each other a lot and constantly.
This a Chinese particularity. Anyone will praise anyone. Total strangers will flatter you.
While in France you seldom expect praises from anyone else outside of your parents. And even though a praise is usually rightfully earned!

In China you hear:
Your Chinese is very good.
You are so handsome.
You are clever.
You are kind.
Your child is very cute.
You look like a famous actor.
You look great today.
Your clothes are beautiful.
You are so tall.

Why Chinese people flatter each other?
I always wonder why Chinese people flatter each other all the time.

I think that it is because China is a group society. Chinese people live together in community. There is less place for individualism in China. Thus, everyone is part of the group and praise each other.
I once told you that Chinese people you meet on the street and don't know often ask intimate questions such as "why don't you have children? or why are you not married?"
Flattery follows the same logic: you care about others. You take part into their lives. Also Chinese people need others to live their lives. They need to share and look at others so as to make sure they are on the right path. But in fact we all do. In China it just goes a little further.

Another explanation could be that Chinese people have some inferiority complex.
Chinese people always want to hear that they are doing well or better than others. This has probably to do with China history, harship, humiliations as the country was occupied and plunged into chaos?

Are Chinese people sensitive to flattery?
As people praise you all the time, you don't believe in it so much.
Also praises are not customized. 
This is something I teach my student: learning how to praise people effectively! You can not tell someone: "your Chinese is very good", when he can only speak a few words. In the west this kind of flattery would be perceiped as a lie some hyprocrisy.
Even though since people praise you all the time, people feel better and more confident in themselves. They feel that what they do is right.

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