Ask the Yangxifu: How Chinese Men Can Approach Western Women in China

Western women in China
How can Chinese men approach Western women in China? Jocelyn offers some advice.

Xiaoheng asks:

Are there any good suggestion on Chinese men how to approach western women?  I think I need some advices which are useful for stengthening the communication, understading and respect between two persons from different culture and nationality. Especially I consider that respect the personality is very important to strengthen the relationship between Chinese men and western women. Because, Chinese culture are basically collectivism and western culture are individuallism. Multiculture communication is very important in this part, because I am interested in the multiculture stuff. So that would be very helpful. How do Chinese men respect the western women? I am currently in this situation of looking for my love and look forward to your suggestions.


So, you’re in China, and you can’t keep your eyes off a lovely young foreigner. What do you do?

First of all, exude confidence. They say confidence makes anyone more attractive, including you. Confidence, however, is not about being more aggressive (i.e. shoving your number in her hand, and asking her to be your friend; or flooding her blog with desperate comments, asking her to meet you) — it’s about how you feel about yourself. Do you believe in yourself? And, more importantly, can you see yourself as her equal?

For some Chinese men, it’s hard to imagine being equal to a Western woman. She’s from a more developed country, could be taller than you, and probably earns more (and even weighs more). But this is important, trust me. No matter how much you try to hide it, Western women will sense if you feel unworthy. So feel worthy to be by her side, before you even say “Hello.”

Confidence also means living with failure. You can do everything right, but sometimes she’s just not interested. Remember she isn’t the only single Western woman in China (believe me, there are tons of lonely Western women who would love to talk to a real, honest guy) — and if you think she is, you’re just going to get nervous and be too aggressive, which is a huge turnoff. Instead, be willing to accept defeat and move on, so you’ll be prepared for whatever happens.

Now, how to approach her? As much as possible, do it naturally. What is natural? Basically, don’t make it obvious that you’re walking over to her — don’t stare, don’t walk directly at her. As much as possible, try to make it feel as if you just happened to run into her. For example, let’s say she’s sitting on a bench in the park, reading. You might meander around at a leisurely gait, walking here and walking there, as if you’re looking for the right place to settle down. And then when you finally get over to her, you can ask “Excuse me, is it all right if I sit here?”

Or maybe she’s sitting alone in a cafeteria or a small restaurant, and there’s an empty seat nearby. Walk leisurely through the restaurant so that you happen to pass her, and then you might ask if you could sit down.

Let’s say she’s doing something such as running. Should you go run beside her and start talking to her? Or should you run behind her? No, because it’s too obvious (remember, you want to look as if you just happened upon her). It also makes you look like a stalker, killing (no pun intended) your chances to talk with her.

But let’s say you finally talk to her. What should you say?

I completely agree with this advice from Ask Men — it depends on the situation and on what you observe about her. If you’re approaching her online, it depends on what you’ve read about her.

Just remember: most Western women want true love, or a soulmate, and would prefer a guy with character. I once flirted with a Chinese man who showered me with compliments, love and every poetry — but he had the personality of a mannequin. I moved on, fast.

What not to say? Anything that seems too aggressive, such as “can we be friends?” Remember, most Western women won’t just be your friend because you ask her — you have to earn that friendship.

After you’ve first spoken to her, see how she responds. Is she smiling? Does she seem interested in continuing the conversation? If so, you’ve got a green light to keep talking. This is where the art of conversation comes in handy.

But if she seems evasive, bored, closed off, or not talkative, then back off, give her space, and move on. Never force the conversation — even if you never make a connection, she’ll thank you for being polite (and, additionally, you’ll make Chinese men, as a whole, look that much classier)

A word on language. Let’s say you speak to her in English, and she responds in Chinese. Instead of plowing ahead in English, switch to Chinese. Why? First, this lets her know you’re not interested in just using her to practice a language. Second, it will boost her confidence — she’ll think you’re speaking Chinese with her because her Chinese really is good.

So, suppose the conversation goes well. Should you ask for her number? My suggestion — give her your contact info, and welcome her to get in touch. When I was in China, I always felt nervous when a stranger, someone I just met, asked for my contact info — what if I didn’t want to give it to them? That means I have to decline in front of them — never pleasant — or give a fake phone number. Either way, you’re the loser. Instead, don’t press her for this, and don’t assume she won’t call if she didn’t give you her business card (though, since the possibility is there, just move on to looking for other people, and be pleasantly surprised if she does call you).

No matter where you are in the world, it’s never easy to find “that one” person. Chances are, you won’t succeed the first time you approach a Western woman. But keep trying, keep up your confidence, and who knows? Years from now, you could be telling the tale of how you wooed your Western wife.

Good luck!

P.S.: Not sure how to find her? Read my advice for Chinese men on finding Western women in China.

What advice do you have for Xiaoheng?


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.

22 Replies to “Ask the Yangxifu: How Chinese Men Can Approach Western Women in China”

  1. Hi Jocelyn! I really like to read you blog. In my opinion (I am a western girl, spent some time in China) you point out exactly the do’s and don’t for approaching a (western) woman. I also don’t like it if someone is trying too hard. Personally, I need some time to decide if I want to get in contact with a guy or not (no matter which nationality). If he seems too aggressive and asks for my number right away, I’ll most likely refuse him.

    I wonder if there were more chinese-man-western-woman-couples if chinese guys wouldn’t be so shy 😉 I dated chinese guys in the past, but I also met a lot of them who just stared and didn’t dare to talk to me.

  2. Hi Jocelyn! This is a good suggestion for me! I really like your blog! I read lots of your words about Chinese man & white woman’s relationship. But I don’t know how to do, because my English is not good! I read your suggestion, maybe I use Chinese first. I really like caucasian women. Thank you!

  3. Hi Jocelyn, I am a Chinese guy married with two kids, so I am not interested in finding a western girl now, but I just enjoy your writing anyway. I always admire people who can write things in an insightful way, and yet make them crystal clear to the readers. That’s what I felt when I read these posts.

    I guess this kind of clarity is what we need to learn too. Most of us Chinese guys beat about the bush in all sorts of communications. When we feel it is necessary to be straightforward, we risk being aggressive as you described. I guess sometimes we are just not sure where the balance is.

    By the way, I blame “can we be friends” kind of annoying talk on TV. These soap operas make young people believe this is the way to approach a girl 🙂

  4. “I dated chinese guys in the past, but I also met a lot of them who just stared and didn’t dare to talk to me.”

    I hear same thing about Asian-American men, even those born in the US! But, then whites are a majority in this country and US, especially the US South has too much checkered history for such a relationship to prosper, whereas in China the Chinese are the majority and should not matter much unless the woman concerned wants to return home!

    1. @Mali, thanks for adding your voice to the conversation (your English, by the way, is fantastic)! I agree — if more Chinese men approached us with confidence, there would be many, many more couples of Chinese men and Western women.

      @pu, glad to help a Chinese guy like you! Let us know if you’re successful. 😉

      @Berlin, thanks for sharing your perspective, and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Interesting comment about the soap operas — you know, it’s been a while, but now that I think about them, yes, you definitely do get those cheesy approaches in some of them.

      @George, thanks for joining the conversation — you always come across as passionate when you post here. Indeed, Arizona is a sad state of affairs (yes, pun intended).

  5. Thanks for your reply, Jocelyn 🙂
    I was wondering then: why is it (almost) always the guy who has to approach the girl? Why wouldn’t I go over to him? My theory is: If a chinese guy lacks confidence with western women anyways, he’d probably be even more intimidated and unsecure if he’s not the one making the first step. Uh, and yes, I am kind of shy either 😉 I’d really like to read comments by Chinese people regarding my first point…

  6. A great post Jocelyn. In addtion to Jocelyn’s advices, Lads you have to be yourself, use your own charm and style is the best way to approach a girl, no matter where she is coming from.

    To Mali, I think you can make first move, and most of chinese guys won’t think too much of it unless he is very senstive Honestly speaking, almost two third of my previous relationships in europe, it was the girls made first move. It was something like, we had a few conversations from time to time and she asked if I have a girlfriend, here we go. This is one thing I like about european girls, honest and straight forward.

    By the way, for Chinese lads who wonders how to show your interest to a western girl. It is very simple, make a nice and sensible compliments to her and importantly be yourself(ie. your own words).

    Good luck lads

  7. Hi Mali! I think your question is troubled by Jocelyn. Maybe you can ask Chinese people.
    In my opinion, most of Chinese men are not shy, they are just worry about people’s talking them, or care about people’s thinking. This is Chinese culture. This is Chinese men. By me , I ‘m worry about my English. My English is poor.
    About your first move, you can ask him you like to help, then you can talk each other, know each other… Good luck!

  8. Hi Jocelyn,

    Thank you so much for your post. I hava got to konw how to do in the future.You know this post, it gonna be great helpful for my next step. As pu said, Chinese men sometiems do care about what other people talk about them. Sometimes I do. But I do think that no matter how people talk about you, you just do it but be polite, be nice, be friendly. I think no matter it is a chinese girl or western girl, most of girls dont like the boys to be aggressive. Most couples get to konw each other on the basis of normal friendship, and then step forward into next step, then become a love couple.

    About the confidence of Chinese men, I would like to say that most of them have confidence but as i konw from some of my friends, they think that if you want to get to know a western girl, it seem like they dont have so much common and same topics to communicate with each other unless the guy get to know a girl who is interested in China. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to step forward for the next step. Do i say it right, Jocelyn?

    To Mali, as to your first point, sometimes some chinese guys will feel a little be strange when you approach them firstly but of course as i know, later these guys will welcome your first step to get to know each other and build up the friendship firstly. Because at this moment, they find that,” Oh, a girl is interested in me, probably i get a chance to become her boyfriend.” Your first step to both is very useful.

    To J, your idea should be simple but very useful.. Guys must use their charming, talents and wisdoms to build up a good relationship. Right? Be yourself! Obama tells me,” YES, I CAN BE MYSELF.”

  9. “Indeed, Arizona is a sad state of affairs (yes, pun intended).”
    Men are always afraid not just of rejection from the woman, but whether his or her family would accept the relationship, and Arizona does not really help the matter either. After the passage of the Arizonal immigration law, mormons are having a tough time converting Mexicans and foreigners as far as India to their faith!

  10. Hi Jocelyn,
    first of all, I’d like to tell you that I really enjoy reading your blog, although I do not have a Chinese boyfriend, I think your sensitive advices do not only help multinational couples understand each other, but also help build friendships between people who have a different cultural background.
    For me, making me want to get to know a Chinese person better, the most important thing is being treated as an equal. While there are cultural differences we should be aware of, I still feel most comfortable in company of somebody who first and foremost will see me as a person and not just as a foreigner. There’s already enough people out there watching my every step in public, making me feel like a 外星人, so if I spend time with somebody who can ignore the stares and concentrates on the similarities rather than the differencies, I’m lucky and grateful at the same time.

  11. ” I still feel most comfortable in company of somebody who first and foremost will see me as a person and not just as a foreigner”

    -Peipei yes! That’s how I feel! But why is it so hard to find? 🙁

    1. @Crystal, that’s an awesome video, thanks for sharing!

      @Mali, looks like you got your answer (thanks to my Chinese readers for stepping in)!

      @J, I think you say it perfectly — be yourself is great advice.

      @pu, thanks for helping Mali — I’m glad you chimed in.

      @Xiaoheng, thanks for sharing, and offering your own advice. I definitely agree that Chinese men will have much more success if they approach a girl with a real interest in China. She’s far more likely to want to stay around, to get to know his culture, and to be more understanding, overall. I agree that the girl could definitely make the first move (I admittedly have!). 🙂

      @George, I agree that rejection from her family can be a problem. Just got an e-mail from a reader on that subject, so it’s out there.

      @Peipei, thanks for the comment! Great point — it is so important for the guy to see you as a person, not a foreigner. I’m glad you brought this up.

      @Fern, thanks for weighing in! You’re right, it can be hard to find Chinese men who see beyond the “foreigner” in us. I’ll let my Chinese readers offer some reasons why this is so (any Chinese care to answer?).

  12. >>>Let’s say you speak to her in English, and she responds in Chinese. Instead of plowing ahead in English, switch to Chinese. Why? First, this lets her know you’re not interested in just using her to practice a language. Second, it will boost her confidence — she’ll think you’re speaking Chinese with her because her Chinese really is good.<<<

    This is excellent advice. Your insight is incredible on this point. I'm a western female and when a Chinese guy plows ahead in English, I feel like I'm being"used" for the English language and nothing else in me matters….! thanks for this column.

  13. i think language and right topics are the things that hold back chinese guys in approaching western women. some guys know well what topics to have when meeting up girls, no matter she is chinese or westnern, it is the guys’ ability that counts.

    speaking chinese to western woman if she prefers is really a good point, i made mistakes on plowing ahead in English when someone started speaking chinese to me. now i know what to do next time 🙂

  14. Great post & comments as well! Going off of what Peipei said– it’s really refreshing to have an interaction with a Chinese person you’ve just met in which you’re not reminded you’re a foreigner. “How long have you been in China/Where else have you traveled in China/Your Chinese is so good” are all fine icebreakers, but China seems to be the default topic when meeting a foreigner. Any guy who opens with something different really stands out! Basically anything you might say when chatting with a Chinese girl works; I would suggest something related to the location or activity (library, park, store, etc.).

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