Ask the Yangxifu: Opposite-Sex Friendships in China | Speaking of China

5 Responses

  1. Beth
    Beth August 5, 2011 at 5:01 am | | Reply

    I think Jocelyn’s advice is excellent as usual, although in my opinion friendship between ex’s in China does sometimes occur, especially if the people are younger (like in their 20’s). I (an American living in China) am still friendly with an ex in his 20’s and I know that some of my former students (now in their early 20’s) are friends with some of their ex’s. Maybe this is a relatively new phenomenon in China, though, and I do think overall it is much less common in CHina to be friends with an ex.

    As for being friends with the opposite sex, I agree that this is relatively common in China. Although…it seems to me that if two members of the opposite sex hang around each other a lot exclusively people, especially the older generation, will assume things. I guess that’s true in the west too, though. Also, since you and he are in the States and not in China I would think he might be less reliant on Chinese social norms.

  2. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian August 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm | | Reply

    @Eleanor, just carry on as friends and see how it goes since you obviously like him. If love blossoms, well and good. If not, like they say, it is better to have loved and lost than not at all. As to whether an ex Chinese boyfriend will remain a friend or not after breakup, it will really depend on the man himself and it is difficult to predict. I don’t know about the situation in China, but there may be a grain of truth in what Jocelyn has said that Chinese people may find it hard to want to continue with an ex, rightly or wrongly.

  3. Bruce
    Bruce August 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm | | Reply

    I don’t think a Chinese man can be with his ex. He can be your friend but once you break up ,you will be his past. Majority of Chinese men don’t like to be friends with their ex. It’s just too much misunderstanding for future gf/wife. If you start as friends then it’s absolutely fine. When I kick a woman to the curb, she is never in my life again!!!!!

  4. Sean
    Sean August 6, 2011 at 8:41 am | | Reply

    I am a Chinese American man and 2 of my best friends are white girls. So I think friendships between opposite sex do occur. I think it really depends on the guy’s mind. If he’s been in the U.S. long enough, he probably wouldn’t care.

    Your question about exes though is different. I think disregarding any cultural differences, it’s hard to have your ex as your friend after a break up even here in the U.S. I have only knew one case of that personally and the reason those two are still friends is because they never really ended their relationship (it’s a mess).

    I would suggest you two go for it and give it a try. The longer you stay as friends, the more likely you will just remain as friends. Take a step forward when the passion is still there. Maybe you will discover enough things other than passion to sustain a long term relationship. If not, hey, at least you wouldn’t have to wonder about the “what ifs” when you are older and regret you didn’t take any action.

    Best to both of you!

  5. Sarah
    Sarah December 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm | | Reply

    I think this article is interesting. My boyfriend told me that he would like to be friends with his ex’s but expressed concern for an opposite sex friendship that I am in. He even told me that he still keeps photo’s of “the girl’s” he once loved. I thought it was inappropriate and strange. But, I ignorned it because it seemed idk, like something a kid would say. No offense to him but also because I still have things that ex’s have given to me. Not for emotional value but because they are mine and I don’t see the need for getting rid of them.

    Now to the topic. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t see the need to hold to people when things are over. Once we’re done, we’re done. So my boyfriend wouldn’t have to worry about that. My boyfriend expressed concern about my friend I mentioned above and a bit about my best friend. He thinks they are fine but obviously he wants boundaries, which I totally agree with, however, I don’t think that the boundaries we have in mind completely match. He once asked me if the roles were reversed, how would I feel. I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to say that I wouldn’t care but I know many men (and while I’m positive he’s not like them, you can never be too sure) who would then purposely seek out friendship similar to mine but with the purpose of “showing me”. Also, I thought, I haven’t been in such a situation so can I truly say I wouldn’t care. But the fact is, regardless of whether my insecurities sneek out or not, because they are friends and assuming I have no reason to think otherwise, it wouldn’t be my place to tell him to stop.

    I think I still wasn’t fully on topic, I apologize for that. I think this is a question you should really talk to your friend about. If you want to bring it up go for it or you can wait to see if the topic comes up again. Either way, if you both are expressing interested in each other, ask directly, “If we don’t, will our friendship last?” “If we do and it doesn’t work out, will our friendship survive?”

    One of the things I’ve always been afraid of, is the possibility of a friend telling me his feelings, regardles but almost always, if I have feelings for him as well. Because I know myself and how I am with my ex’s. I also figure that if I was truly in love with my friend, I wouldn’t even be thinking of the possibility of a break up and just go for it. Not that I believe that we wouldn’t break up but because I’m not looking for it. Why go into a relationship thinking about the end? It’s about the moments you have and about making them last for as long as you can.

    Anyway, that’s just my opinion.

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