I’ve been dating this Chinese guy in Beijing recently. We have this great chemistry and he’s wonderful to me in every possible way except one thing….he doesn’t really want to speak Chinese with me. Whenever I would try to talk w/ him in Chinese, he would answer back in English, so we would just usually end up speaking only English. He knows I studied Chinese before, and I asked him if we could speak a little more often….he always says he will, but we never do. I know my Chinese isn’t perfect but it’s not that bad. What gives?
So few native speakers, so many Chinese desperate to practice their English. Any foreigner who’s been to China knows the math.
But I’m not sure that’s the one explanation behind this. After all, this guy seems to genuinely like you, and I doubt you’d be with him if you started getting the “he’s just using me for English” vibe (which usually isn’t hard to sniff out).
Maybe it’s a matter of pride, that he’s so proud of his English ability that he won’t speak anything else with a native speaker. Maybe it’s just habit, that he automatically switches to English the moment he sees a foreign face. But whatever it is, that doesn’t make it right to do it with you.
Look, the best relationships should be about give and take, and he’s sure not giving you anything in the language department. That’s a shame. After all, I once wrote that the couple that wordplays together, stays together. I’m not saying the guy needs to become your private Mandarin tutor, but at least he should support you.
But more than that, he’s ignoring this entire dimension of who you are — the side of you that speaks Chinese. Maybe she’s not as eloquent as the English-speaking version, but she deserves a voice in this relationship too.
What do you think?
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