When saying good night means much more than just good night

About one and a half years ago, I get a message from a Chinese friend’s friend, the latter of which is an acquaintance of mine. He asks me a simple question and ends the text message with a “good night”. It’s already quite late, so I reply with a “good night”, not thinking too much about it. The next evening he sends me another message, again ending it with “good night”. Since I read the message on the morning after that day, I don’t reply with a “good night”. On the third day that he sends me a message ending with “good night”, I decide not to reply. After all, I don’t know this guy that well and I’m in a relationship, which he knows. On the fifth day in a row that he sends me a message saying “good night”, I ask my Chinese girlfriend about it. She tells me that this is an indirect way of saying “I’m in love with you” in Chinese. Two weeks into receiving text messages telling me “good night” and me ignoring them, the guy finally gives up on texting me. When I tell my girlfriend, she laughs, saying that two weeks is quite short actually and if I were unlucky, he would have chased me much longer than that with his text messages.

Have you ever received similar text messages?

On a side note: If you wonder how to say good night in Mandarin Chinese, here’s the answer: 晚安! (Wǎn’ān!)

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About

Hi, I'm Ruth, welcome to China Elevator Stories! I have been living in Kunming and Shenzhen in the past and am now staying in Northeast China with my Chinese husband and our baby and toddler son. Join us on our journey bridging worlds!

7 comments

  1. andrew

    In Sweden, the women have the lead role of initiating flirtation. A man looking for a mate increases his chances of success by standing in a well-lit area smiling, hoping the woman he fancies approaches him. In England, “Fancy a fuck?” passes as an acceptable way to engage conversation with a stranger of the opposite sex, at least when accompanied with a drink. In the US, there are entire DVD series devoted to teaching young men how to flirt with women by having the young man pretend as if he isn’t interested in the woman at all (Double your Dating/Inner Game, ect.) In Austria, you can spend the whole day naked at the spa with a female friend, say ,,ich hab’ dich lieb’ ” and kiss her on the cheek and not necessarily mean anything romantic by it. Crazy world. Who’s right? Sweden. Diffidently Sweden. Well, it’s late, good night.

  2. Thanks for this interesting comment. Who would have thought that in Sweden women are supposed to initiate flirtation? It makes it so much more difficult if you have different cultural backgrounds and are not sure if someone is just being friendly or if their words/actions mean more than they would suggest at first glance. Being aware of these subtelties can definitely help. I’ve found that in China if a guy initiates conversation and wants to hang out with you, he might actually be in love with you.

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  4. Hi Ruth, it’s an interesting story you posted here, even though I just read it only a couple of days ago. My perception on it is (from a Chinese male’s point of view): don’t underestimate the impact of your foreign appearance on the local Chinese males. Most Chinese will be attracted first by your exotic looking hence want to know you better (like why you’re here in China, your personalities, your likes and dislikes and etc…), then there arrive later their initiative for a much closer conversation and requests for hangout. In such a chase there always comes first a crush from the opposite sex at the beginning of knowing you, however, after they really know you, they’ll make their own decisions whether to fall in love with you or not. So give a chance to those who really wanna know you and distinguish them from those who just wanna enjoy the sensations from a crush.

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  6. I stumbled upon this just now, and OMG, I had no idea. Is this always the case? I wonder how many Chinese have been walking around believing I was in love with them. This is very, very good to know!!!

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