Chinese Culture

Greetings

  • Handshakes are the standard, casual greeting. The grip tends to be lighter than the Western handshake and is also sustained for longer. 
  • In formal situations, people bow slightly or nod politely to greet one another formally. The bow is from the shoulders and should be greater if the person you are greeting has a higher status than you.
  • If seated, the Chinese will stand up out of respect when they are introduced to someone.
  • Always greet those that are older than you first.
  • Use a person’s family name and appropriate title to address them unless they have indicated that you can move on to addressing them on a first-name basis. 
  • Usually, only friends address one another by their given names.
  • Nicknames are used only between very close friends or lovers. 
  • To show a high level of respect, friends might use the terms ‘lao’ (old) and ‘xiao’ (young) with or instead of titles.
  • When first meeting a Chinese person in a rural area, it is common to be invited to join them for a meal. This is an old greeting that offers politeness, yet does not usually transpire into an actual meal.
  • It is considered impolite to greet a friend with a comment that could be perceived to have negative connotations, such as "You look tired".
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