So, I have this Chinese acquaintance. He works at this Asian Supermarket that I frequent and I have a feeling he’s liking me too. But when I try to make conversation with him, he like speeds through what he says like he’s trying to politely brush me off. He makes me feel really intimidated. I’m not a timid person, but I sort of felt like I was making a little progress, but then my best friend (who’s a guy) went to the store with me twice in a row and I feel like everything fell back to square one. Which is horrible because it’s not like I got very far in the first place. I kind of feel like I have no real change with him because, I am just a customer, but I want to at least try. I feel like if I can make him realize I like him without making him feel awkward by confessing, then it may give him a little change to let me know either way, of how he feels toward me. Any suggestions?
This might sound strange, but try this — ask him to help you. Really.
When John (who is now my Chinese husband) and I first started getting to know each other, do you know what I did to spend more time with him at work? I asked him to help me with some Chinese translations I had worked on. We would sit together at his computer, smiling and laughing our way through translating every phrase. And when he saw me going to him, instead of the other translators in the company, I’m sure he got my message loud and clear.
With another Chinese boyfriend I had before John, I asked him to help teach me Chinese idioms. It started as a casual once or twice a week thing. But before I knew it, he spent practically every day after work going through a new idiom in my book. When he looked into my eyes and taught me the phrase 白头偕老 ([báitóuxiélǎo], live together to a ripe old age), let’s just say there was a lot more going on than just language education.
When you approach a Chinese man for help with a problem, you’re helping to avoid that awkward conversation or small talk (it took John a few years to learn the art of small talk, so your crush isn’t the only one). After all, most Chinese show their love through actions, not words. So it’s a lot easier to show your affection by singling him out in the store for help. And if you do it often enough, he’ll get the message that you’re really interested in him — without any embarrassing “I love you” confession that might force you to shop elsewhere for, say, your favorite Sichuan chili sauce.
Think about some Asian-grocery-related problems you could use a hand with. Maybe he works in the produce department and could tell you some great recipes for cooking Chinese broccoli, and how to pronounce the name for Chinese broccoli in Chinese. Perhaps he stocks the sauce section and knows which black bean sauce works better with tofu. Or suppose he’s familiar with the herbal medicines they sell, and might be able to suggest something for your migranes. You get the idea. And trust me — he’ll know that if you’re asking for Chinese broccoli recipe, you really are happy to see him.
I would start out with small things. Don’t worry if you hit him with something he doesn’t know — that might be an opportunity to ask him about his own Asian grocery specialty, which could help you come up with the next “problem” to have him solve.
But in the end, I personally hope he’ll be able to solve your most pressing problem — a lonely heart. 😉
What advice do you have for groceries? What do you think?
Do you have a question about life, dating, marriage and family in China/Chinese culture (or Western culture)? Every Friday, I answer questions on my blog. Send me your question today.