Because of the difference of culture, there are some differences between Chinese etiquette and occidental etiquette. There are seven aspects.
1. Treat praise
The attitudes which Chinese and occidental treat praise are different. Though the happy very much, Chinese always give courteous denying to others’ praise, in order to show modesty: “Still not all right!”, “So-so!”, “Can’t compare with you!”, “I’m flattered!”… Occidental attitude towards praise may be “very joy” and say “Thank you!”
2. Entertain guests
Chinese are always used to think about from others angle when Chinese get along with people. This shows on receiving guests or as a guest. Guests always try not to trouble the host; therefore guests always decline the host’s hospitality courteously. For example, the host asks what guests want to drink, guests will generally say “I am not thirsty” Or “Don’t bother”; the host pours the wine for guests, guests always decline, say “It is enough, it is enough!” But in fact, guests may want to drink, just stand on ceremony. So, the competent host will not ask directly what guests want, but try to figure out guests’ demand, and offer content actively. Hospitable host always urge the guests to eat dishes and drink wine ceaselessly at dining table. So, the atmosphere of Chinese receiving guests is often very warm: host urges ceaselessly, guests decline ceaselessly.
No matter the host or guest, everybody is very frank when Occidental receives guests. The host will ask the other side directly “What would you like to drink?”; If guests want to drink, will reply “what beverages do you have?” and choose a kind of beverage liked oneself; if guests do not really want to drink, guests will say “Thanks! I do not want to drink.” The host will ask guests whether or not need some more on the dining table, if guests say enough, the host will not try to urge the guests to eat dishes and drink wine.
3. Modesty and self-approval
Chinese deem that the modesty is a kind of virtue. No matter to own ability or achievement, Chinese always like self-effacement. If not so, others may criticize “non-modest” or “arrogant and conceited”. For example, before the Chinese scholar lectures, will usually say: “my knowledge is not deep and the preparation is insufficient too, please everybody give advice or comments” (In fact he is very erudite and the preparation is very adequate); The hospitable host faces the dishes on all over dining-table but says: “have no good dishes, please help yourself” on the banquet; Chinese will usually say modestly:”I am probably difficult to be competent.” when the leadership give an important task.
Occidental does not have modest habit. Occidental think one person want to get others’ recognition, must self-approval at first. So, Occidental always appraises own ability and achievement objectively.
4. Advice and suggestion
No matter Chinese or Occidental, all like proposing some friendly suggestions and advices to relatives and friends, in order to show caring about and cherish. But the way of advice and suggestion are different.
Chinese often propose suggestion and advice to the friend directly and often use some words with order tone. For example, “it is very cold, you should wear more clothes and prevent catch a cold! “, “very slippery on the road, walk carefully!”, “you should pay more attention to your health!”, “you should shave!”, “you should go to work!”…
The words is very mild and euphemistic when occidental propose and advise to relatives and friends, for example, “it is very cold today, if I were you, I will add a sweater”, “you had better shave the beard.” Even if is the most intimate person, will not use order tone. Otherwise, will be thought not to respect one’s own independent personality.
5. Personal right of privacy
Occidental pays attention to the personal right of privacy very much. Everybody will seldom involve the other side’s “private problem” in ordinary talking. Chinese do not pay attention to the individual privacy. Especially between relatives and friends, everybody likes sharing the private life of the other side together. In addition, the elder can inquire the private life of the younger at will, in order to reveal care about the younger.
6. Time concept
Occidental time concept are very strong, schedule is very compact. A lot of Chinese concept of time isn’t too strong. It is quite general that unexpected visit and invite temporarily.
7. Send gifts
Occidental does not pay attention to sending gifts, seldom regard the value of the gift as important. But great majority Chinese relatively regards the value of the gift as important. The value of the gift represents the emotion of the person who sends gifts.
In addition, there are obvious differences between China and Occident in way of sending gifts too. Occidental generally opens the gift in front of guest and expresses the appreciation to the gift. If does not open the gift face to face, the guest will think the host don’t like the gift. But Chinese don’t open the gift in front of guest. The purpose is for showing that regard mutual friendly feelings as important, but not material benefit.