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Why the Chinese don't go Dutch ?

Popularity 13Viewed 6395 times 2014-10-22 16:57 |System category:News| restaurant, Recently, everyone, Chinese, dinners

Recently, I feel burdened when facing the fact that I have to respectively invite so many people  to dinners. As everyone knows, western people will go Dutch while having a meal in a restaurant, while the Chinese don’t go Dutch, they will pay the bill and check out generously. Western people don’t often entertain guests, while the Chinese often invite friend to dinner, and this is a part of so-called Chinese table culture. I really want to say I'm tired of this kind of culture.

Why is there such a difference?

Western people eat for health, while the Chinese eat for friendship. Western people  advocate individualism and independence, so they express that respect for each other’s independence by means of going Dutch. The Chinese like making friends, and they value the interpersonal relationship very much. There are lots of folk proverbs in China, such as "Things are easier to handle if you have many friends." As we can see, the position of a friend is so important in the mind of Chinese people. The reason why the Chinese don’t go Dutch is that they don’t want to destroy their friendship. Traditionally, going Dutch is considered stingy in China, which is unfavorable to keep harmonious interpersonal relationship.

Generally speaking, in China when a person invites you to dinner, he may well pay the bill. The purposes for invitation vary. For example, if you do him a favor, he will invite you to dinner in order to express gratitude, certainly, he will pay the bill. Then suppose I'm a manager of a company, and you are the manager of another company, I want to talk about business with you, and I will say: “Let’s go out to dinner together!”. Certainly, I will pay the bill. My purpose is to promote the cooperation between our two companies.

The fact that the Chinese don’t go Dutch and treat someone to dinner may not only be a kind of custom, but also develops into a social gathering means for different purposes, I don't know, maybe it's to repay a favor, or to ask someone to do a favor, and so on so forth.

   VS  

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report J.E.Overington 2019-2-28 16:34
You're right, there are east-west differences, but nowadays the rhetoric about individualism vs collectivism is old and boring when we are told to talk about it in class. The 1900s had that conflict because some people didn't like property being taken and redistributed, but now people who talk about these things agree that equalization of opportunities are better than equalization of results, because giving an opportunity means being able to see who is diligent or lazy, who is selfish or socially responsible, and who is traditional or modern. The westerners you described are modern. Traditional westerners still treat friends to dinner. Also, in many English classes nowadays, when we are told to compare individualism with collectivism, we agree with Confucius that many blades of grass are stronger together and although individualism teaches self-sufficiency earlier, and although individuals need to be self-sufficient to be able to be strong group members, not teaching children how to collaborate is a huge mistake costing so many opportunities. The opportunity cost of rejecting the error-corrections in collectivism is a mistake. Traditional, diligent, socially responsible westerners will gladly treat you to dinner as a good friend, without seeking favours, as long as they can afford the time and money. So. I hope this helps you interpret the individuals you met so far.
Reply Report MichaelM 2019-6-6 15:47
Western people rarely go Dutch. In fact, I never remember doing this my entire life. We love to entertain and often invite others for meals. Family gatherings, romantic dates, friends just meeting up and of course, we nearly always do business over a meal. I don't know which 'Western people' go Dutch, but, it is very rare in America where I come from. On the other hand, we invite others out for meals quite often and love to entertain. We love treating others just out of having a good time together with no expectation of owing favors or 'who bought last time'. We don't keep tabs on owing favors or exchange of favors.
Reply Report Newtown 2019-6-16 17:01
MichaelM: Western people rarely go Dutch. In fact, I never remember doing this my entire life. We love to entertain and often invite others for meals. Family ga ...
Don't Dutch people "go Dutch" ? And here's a few squibs for the resident grammarian:

The sheeps eat fishes. The poops cover the ices. The mouses prefer octopuses."

Hi ho Silver and away !

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  • Why the Chinese don't go Dutch ? 2019-6-16 17:01

    MichaelM: Western people rarely go Dutch. In fact, I never remember doing this my entire life. We love to entertain and often invite others for meals. Family ga ...
    Don't Dutch people "go Dutch" ? And here's a few squibs for the resident grammarian:

    The sheeps eat fishes. The poops cover the ices. The mouses prefer octopuses."

    Hi ho Silver and away !

  • Why the Chinese don't go Dutch ? 2019-6-6 15:47

    Western people rarely go Dutch. In fact, I never remember doing this my entire life. We love to entertain and often invite others for meals. Family gatherings, romantic dates, friends just meeting up and of course, we nearly always do business over a meal. I don't know which 'Western people' go Dutch, but, it is very rare in America where I come from. On the other hand, we invite others out for meals quite often and love to entertain. We love treating others just out of having a good time together with no expectation of owing favors or 'who bought last time'. We don't keep tabs on owing favors or exchange of favors.

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