Chinese people are famous for their hospitality and they are always excited to show foreigners about the Chinese culture. They’re also curious about people from different cultural backgrounds. Therefore, if you’re a foreigner living in China, don’t feel surprised if your Chinese friends invite you to their places for a visit, even if you’re not really familiar with them. Now, what should you pay attention to when it comes to visiting a Chinese family?
1) Prepare a small gift
In China, before you go visit your friend, they may tell you not to bring anything and put an emphasis on the fact that the most important thing is “you”. Well, you’d better not take it seriously, they’re just being polite with you. In the Chinese culture, visiting a friend “with empty hands” is considered discourteous. However, there’s no need to panic just because you don’t know what to bring as a gift. A box of chocolate, or a small handicraft would be perfectly fine.
2) Be on time
In China, it’s very important for you to show up on time to show your appreciation and respect to the host. It’d be even better if you could arrive a bit earlier than agreed. Nevertheless, it’s regarded indecent to arrive late without a proper reason. So, pay extra attention to punctuality.
3) Take off your shoes
Chinese people (and actually Asians in general) take off their shoes when entering their homes. When you arrive at a Chinese home, your host would probably tell you it’s okay to wear your shoes, but if you take them off, you’d definitely earn some extra points. And usually your host would provide a pair of “home slippers” to wear indoor.
4) Pay Compliments
Although modesty is highly valued in the Chinese culture, Chinese people love to hear compliments. When you’re paying a visit to your Chinese friend’s house, you may flatter them with compliments about the decoration and furnishings, and your friend won’t treat it as something superficial or insincere. If your friend happens to cook for all the guests, it’s customary to express your gratitude to your friend for making the delicious food.
5) “Let me show you around.”
During your first visit to your Chinese friend’s house, they might offer to show you around. It’s regarded disrespectful to touch anything displayed on the shelves without asking for permission. In addition, you’re not expected to look around yourself without telling your friend about it. Finally, bear in mind that you’re not supposed to “comment” on anything when you’re being shown around the house, however, “compliments” are always welcome.
BONUS: Enjoy yourself!
Lastly, just enjoy yourself and the company of your friend and their family. It’s an honour to be invited into someone’s home, just like in any other culture. So have fun and enjoy your blooming friendship.