Some of your advice to get out there and meet people led me to putting up an ad on a Chinese website. About 60 people added me to QQ in the last two days!
There is someone I have been speaking to from online that I did a video chat with and I really liked him but he is in Shanghai and wanted to meet in Hangzhou but I felt unsafe going to a city I don’t know so well with no other friends there to meet a stranger.
I hear a lot of bad things about online dating in China, that not so many Chinese do it. I was actually only looking for friends and not boyfriends or to fall in love or anything like that but I can’t imagine the men I meet will have the same expectation. And then maybe some are just contacting me because they think foreign women are easy?
So my question is: what do you or John think the motivation is for Chinese men contact girls on such a website? Do you think there is any chance for a geniune person to be looking for not just an English teacher or a ticket to another country or amusement because you are different? And is it safe to meet someone without friends present even if they look harmless (and cute)?
Online chat in China is like an unopened gift box of mooncakes — you never know what you’re going to get. Depending on the guy, he could be looking for a friendship, a relationship, or just a one-night fling. Same with online dating (where, in fact, some people just end up finding friends instead of finding a partner).
Do I know of men who have stalked places like QQ for “a good time?” Absolutely. Two of my husband’s friends, who will remain anonymous, cultivated a reputation for finding girls on QQ for a little, well, you know.
Are there crimes? Absolutely. Just do a search of online friends (网友) and cheat (骗) in google news, and you’ll get a motherload of articles.
And, admittedly, the majority of people you meet online probably have the same ulterior motives as anyone else in China, as you note (English improvement, amusement [on different levels, depending on the person], interest in leaving China). In fact, chances are, you’ll run into more of them because, for the shyest Chinese, online chat is a much less intimidating way to meet people.
That doesn’t mean, though, that online chat all tastes like, to follow that mooncake metaphor, egg yolk (my least favorite mooncake flavor — insert yours as needed). There always could be that one genuine guy out there who isn’t just trying to game you. Could that be your new friend?
Even so, you should listen to your intuition about meeting a strange guy in an equally strange city. And, think about it — even when Chinese date, they often do it in groups first before even thinking of going out with a person alone. Looking “cute and harmless” is no guarantee of good intentions.
If I were you, I’d do a couple of things to make this meeting a little safer. Don’t go alone — bring at least one Chinese friend with you. As I mentioned in my article about dishonest Chinese men, your Chinese friends can help you “vet” strangers, picking up on suspect speech/behavior you probably wouldn’t even notice.
In fact, this is a great way to “test” him. Tell him you plan to come with your Chinese friend (or friends), and see what he thinks. If he balks, or insists on seeing you all alone, that’s a definite red flag.
Whatever you decide, good luck to you — and may you never, ever, end up with a horrible egg yolk mooncake (yuck!). 😉
What do think? What advice do you have for ChatGirl?
UPDATE from ChatGirl: “I met the guy and despite all he said he actually was in that number of scum that don’t mean anything they say and just want sex. I feel stupid but I fell for it hook, line and sinker but it’s all over with now and a lesson well learned.”
Do you have a question about life, dating, marriage and family in China (or in Chinese culture)? Every Friday, I answer questions on my blog. Send me your question today.