What personal habits of western people are most disgusting to Chinese?
There is quite a lot of habits that Western people tend to do that Chinese find either disgusting or inappropriate.
Much of this I learned first hand from my Chinese friends in Canada, as well as my many countless trips to China since 2010, and from living in China myself.
What’s also good to note, is that everything listed is pretty much the opposite effect on Westerners. Where as when Chinese do the opposite, many Westerners generally think it’s disgusting/inappropriate or just weird.
As with any answer like this, I will be generalizing.
- Swallowing Spit. Chinese people think it’s better to spit out right away and not swallow any spit. Where as Westerners tend to swallow it.
- Not Taking Shoes Off Inside. Shoes are really dirty, in Chinese culture (and other Asian cultures like Japan), it’s better to take off your outdoor shoes at the entrance and switch to indoor slippers or other footwear. Many Westerner households don’t do this.
- Leaving Dirty Pots/Pans Soaking. Chinese do not like the idea of leaving dirty pots and pans out to soak in water. It’s better to wash right away and take care of it. Where as Westerns tend to have a habit of soaking the pans, sometimes for days and days forgetting about them before washing everything at once. When I was in China, I cleaned up after each meal, but in Canada I still don’t.
- Taking A Business Card With One Hand. In many Asian cultures like China, you need to receive a business card holding both hands out, it’s rude not to. Westerners don’t really care about this aspect.Not Mopping Floor Frequently (Spring Cleaning). Westerners tend to be lazy when it comes to cleaning. It’s not done frequently. Some households only do a yearly cleaning, called Spring Cleaning. Chinese tend to clean weekly.
- Not Showering Before Bed. In China, people shower before bed and not in the morning. This ensures you are not bringing the dirt to the bed, and sleeping dirty all night long. Westerners is mixed, but just as many people prefer to shower in the morning before work instead.
- Washing All Clothes Together. Chinese prefer to wash undergarments separately from regular clothes. Westerners just bunch everything together.
- Biting Nails. Chinese think biting nails is really weird and disgusting. Westerners is mixed on this with many people having this as a habit.
- Kids Outdoor Clothes On Furniture/Bed. In China, when your kid has been out and about playing outside, they need to change their dirty clothes before going on couches or beds. Westerners don’t do this unless there is clear signs of dirt/mud.
- Sticking Chopsticks Straight Up In Rice Bowl. This is in regards to the symbolism of funerals and passing of spirits in China. Often times this is done when someone has passed away. Westerns tend to do this a lot as they don’t have this symbolism.
- Flipping Fish Over. In Chinese cuisine, you should remove the bones and move the skeleton to the side to get to the other side of the fish. Not flip it over. Can’t blame the Westerners as eating whole fish isn’t really a thing anyways.
- Elbows On The Table. This is generally rude in almost all cultures. It’s even rude in Western culture. Yet Westerners still do it. You know how many times I’ve heard “elbows off the table” when I was growing up in Canada.
- Sleeping In In The Morning. Chinese people tend to be rise and shine, got lots of stuff to do, and are always busy. Westerners like to sleep in on weekends, and hit that snooze over and over and over.
- Chewing With Mouth Open. Chinese has this thing where you lift your rice bowl up to your mouth, and one thing it does is it can hide your chewing there. It’s not okay in China to chew with your mouth open. Ever walk around a food court mall in the USA/Canada? People eat with their mouths open all the time.
- Eating Lots Of Desserts. China doesn’t have that many sweet desserts. Rice and other fillers are typically served at the end of a meal. Sometimes a very unsweet jello is, but mostly fruit. In the west, we got pastries, we got cake, we got pie, we got ice cream, we got everything you can think of that Chinese don’t care too much for.
- Not Offering Food When Inviting People To Home. This is a no-no China. If you invite someone to your home, you must offer food. In the West, we usually offer like a beer, and that’s it (if it’s not a dinner invite).
- Westernized Toilets. Chinese toilets are squatting type. It’s a hole in the ground. Westernized toilets are sit down types. Chinese think Western toilets, mainly public ones are gross because of how many people put their butts on it.
- Gifting With One Hand. Whenever you give a gift in China, you always want to give it with two hands. It’s important. Westerners don’t really care about this.
- Opening Gifts Right Away. In China, you don’t open gifts in front of the person you received from. Chinese wait until later, or alone. Westerners on the other hand always open right away.
- Brushing Teeth. In China, you brush teeth when you wake up right away, and then after each meal, and sweet snack. In the west, you brush teeth typically 3 times a day (at least told to), though most people only do 1–2 times a day, and Westerners have a habit of snacking (especially desserts) after brushing teeth.
- Keeping Dirty Kleenex In Pocket. Westerners have a habit of blowing their nose, and pocketing the Kleenex, or holding onto it for too long. Chinese would almost never do this, they find a garbage right away.
- Giving Clocks As A Gift. In Chinese culture, giving a clock represents the same word as attending a funeral ritual. It’s very bad luck in China to give a clock, or watch as a gift. Westerners like to gift watches.
- Giving Umbrella As A Gift. Same like above, but umbrella in Chinese is the same as scattering or breaking apart. So it symbolizes the end of a friendship. Westerners don’t follow this thinking.
- Giving A Green Hat As A Gift. Another one like above two. Wearing a green hat in China represents a wife cheating on her husband. Westerners like to gift hats, doesn’t matter the colour.
- Giving Anything In Number Four. Four in China sounds the same as the word for Death. Chinese avoid fours when possible at all costs. Westerners also don’t follow this line of thinking.
- Getting Angry/Causing Scene In Public. Chinese people do not argue or cause scenes in public. Westerners tend to.
- Drunken Public Outbursts. Chinese people do not get drunk and act stupid in public. Westerners tend to.
I could keep going, this isn’t even 10%. It’s a big culture difference between China and the West. Many of other stuff not listed is regional in China, and not as much generalized.
While this may seem like a lot, Westerners have just as long as a list for Chinese. It’s just a big culture difference.
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