#126: 请客吃饭

2015/01/26 8 Comments

一个中国朋友说,她最近认识了一个美国男生,他们在一起吃了好几次饭,但每次都是AA制。她觉得这个美国男生太小气了,从来不主动买单。我听了哈哈大笑,告诉她请客吃饭这件事在中西方的文化中是有差异的。

中国人一般认为请客是一件很有面子的事,而“面子”对中国人来说非常重要。有句俗语叫“打肿脸充胖子”,意思是因为要面子,就做一些超出自己能力的事。而在中国,如果一男一女一起吃饭,人们通常认为男人应该来买单。一方面是因为男人要维护自己的面子,不能显得太小气。另一方面是因为在中国的传统思想中,女人是较弱的一方,应该被男人呵护和照顾。如果这两个人是情侣,除非女人坚持要买单,其他情况都由男人买单。

虽然现在一些年轻人接受了西方的观念,吃饭时喜欢AA制,但总的来说,AA制在中国被认为是一种缺乏人情味儿的表现。中国人认为好朋友之间,不能太计较金钱。但是有时候,一起吃饭的人比较多,这顿饭的花费又比较高,很可能大家买单的时候就会平摊。另外,中国人在和朋友吃完饭后,会抢着买单。可能有的人并不是真的愿意买单,只是为了要面子,或者出于礼貌和客气,所以做出想请客的样子,有时候甚至为了谁买单产生争论。这是个很有趣的文化现象。

中国人讲究礼尚往来,意思是互相送礼才能够长久地交往下去。没有人愿意每次都买单。如果这顿饭你的朋友请客,那下次你就要主动要求买单。好了,关于请客吃饭,今天就先介绍这些。大家如果有什么问题,欢迎在网站留言讨论!

A Chinese friend said she recently met an American man and they have eaten together quite a few times, but they split the bill every time. She thinks this American man is too stingy, never taking the initiative to pay the bill. I roared with laughter when I heard this, and told her that treating a guest to dinner in Chinese and Western cultures are different matters.

Chinese people generally believe that treating a guest to dinner is a face-gaining/saving event, and to Chinese people ‘face’ is very important. There’s a commonly used sentence saying “打肿脸充胖子‘’ (dǎzhǒng liǎn chōng pàngzi, lit. ‘beat one’s face until swollen and pretend to be fat’), meaning ‘to do things that exceed one’s capabilities on account of face’. And in China, if a guy and a girl eat together, people generally believe that the man should pay. In one regard it’s because men must maintain their reputation, and can’t appear too stingy. Another aspect is because in traditional Chinese thinking, women are the weaker party and should be cherished, protected, and taken care of by men. If these two people are sweethearts, unless the girl insists on paying the bill, in all other situations it is up to the man to pay the bill.

Although nowadays some young people have accepted western ideas and when eating out like to split the bill, on the whole splitting the bill is believed to be an indicator of a lack of feeling in China. The Chinese believe that amongst good friends, you can’t discuss money too much. But sometimes when there are quite a lot of people eating together, and the cost of the meal is quite high, it is very likely that the bill will be shared equally. Besides, after a Chinese person has finished eating with their friend, they will scramble to pay the bill. It may be that some people don’t really wish to pay the bill, it’s only for the sake of saving face, or stemming from manners and politeness, so they act like they want to pay, sometimes even to the point of creating an argument over who will pay. This is a very interesting cultural phenomenon.

Chinese are particular about ‘礼尚往来’ (lǐshàngwǎnglái), which means only if presents are mutually given will contacts be able to last for a long time. Nobody wishes to pay the bill every time. If your friend pays for your meal this time, then next time you should take the initiative to pay. Ok, with regard to treating people to dinner, today we’ll just introduce these few first. If anyone has any problems, feel welcome to leave a message and discuss online.

 

8 Comments

  • Mitra, your comments are not at all helpful, simply show you are no less than a barbarian.

  • Mitra

    This entire monologue is based on a false premise, that it somehow is the standard in Western culture to split the restaurant bill when in fact it is the case that among even minimally cultured Americans, it is always the case that one will try to pay the entire bill oneself, especially when together with friends. This monologue just seems to be another instance of the rather irritating tendency of Chinese to look down on anyone who is not Chinese as essentially being more or less a barbarian.

  • 如意

    希茜,写得真好!可以也说说到中国人家里做客时的礼节吗?谢谢。

    • 希茜 Xixi
      希茜

      好啊!下周我写一篇关于做客礼仪的文章:)谢谢你给我提供有意思的话题!

  • Flo

    谢谢你们发表了这篇文章,很有意思。再加上和Bradley一样让我饿死了。:)

  • 这照片让我饿了。

  • TEN

    我 觉得请客吃饭 在中国跟在法国是一样。
    如果请客吃饭是一个幽会就男人应该买单。必须! 必须!别用AA制!!!
    如果吃饭的人很多,那么顿饭的花费就会平摊。不管每客人吃了不同菜就每客人的花费一样。这种方法是AA制吗?

    • 是的,你说的那种平摊的情况就是AA制。中国人如果是好朋友之间更多的是轮流买单,这次你买,下次我买,大家有来有往,从长期来看,也算是一种AA制。但是中国人不太习惯每顿饭都AA制。至少不像美国这么普遍,美国餐馆会直接按人数平均分好,然后各自刷卡签字买单。中国餐馆很少有这种服务,这点非常不一样。