Some background details: I’m a 26 year old male ABC working in a Taiwanese chip company for the past year and half. During my employment, I tend to focus on my work for the most part and ignore gossip. I converse with my colleagues in Chinese, when it’s work related topics it’s not an issue, however conversational topics can be challenging at times. I maintain a professional relationship with them, but recently I’ve been noticing that it may be beneficial to be slightly casual. Any tips on how to get along better with Taiwanese colleagues on a more personal level?
Maybe try talk about something personal that’s interesting to them? Typically new grads in the tech/chip industry here aspire to make more money and find a girlfriend, so I like to talk to them about dating, what apps they use, and how they can make/save money with money tips, tax avoidance or crypto staking. Some of the closer friends I’ve made in Taiwan are because we’ve collaborated on a side project or went on double dates.
I think Taiwanese are not different than any other people you will meet in the work place. Be nice, polite and show genuine interest in their lives and you will get along better with them.
That being said - you need to show genuine interest, if the person is not intersting for you, and you have nothing in common, dont fake it, just be nice and polite.
If you like hiking, try to find out if they like hiking too, then you can bond over that. If you like working out, try to find out who likes working out and talk about that. If you like Crypto, see who is into that etc… BUT, dont try to force a hiking conversation on a crypto enthusiast, they will not care…
Topics popular with male Taiwanese co-workers, may or may not apply to ABCs:
Sports (NBA and to a lesser degree MLB)
Anime (SlamDunk just released a movie)
Stock trade or other investments
Taiwanese youtubers (preferably hot girls, such as https://youtube.com/@pinpinponpon627 )
Camping and other outdoor activities
Gossip about relationships when you’ve gotten to known each other really well
Play K-Pop really loudly and talk about FAMOUS food.
or the best places to take selfies
Go back in time and grow up in Taiwan instead of the US. Some will always hold that against you for some reason. Don’t even bother with them. For those who are friendly, just chat about trivial stuff. Be forewarned, that if you spill any juicy secrets about yourself in confidence to anyone it will become gossip fodder for the next month.
Yall talking about Taiwanese girls, definitely not what most engineers would be into. They already have to pretend to be into those with their girlfriends.
in all honesty, if they’re techies, ask the guys to help you buy a secondhand souped-up laptop (maybe MSI for gaming) from sellers online.
My good local friend is in IT department and helped me buy a used laptop from online seller. he even met them in person to test specs. Bought him a dinner for it.
Can go out for beers beforehand and talk specs.
I always had difficulties fitting in with any Taiwanese. Americans are hard enough already but they really don’t like ABC types here for some reason.
The sample size was you.
Me too, I’m an ABC and find it hard to make local friends. I generally don’t have anything in common with locals unless they’re into entrepreneurship or certain hobbies. My local friends are all friends I made through startup networking or previous friends from the US. The girls I go on successful dates with all have some western background/education, and one of them told me her father hates Chinese people. Being a Chinese who grew up in western countries in Taiwan is hard-mode compared to other foreigners in Taiwan. My bankers try to say I’m from HK because of my funny Chinese accent, and I’ve corrected them before and said I’m originally from China.
but that is just human nature, doesnt have to be typical to Taiwanese. If you moved to Spain or Greece you would have the same problems, different childhood experiences, different pop culture and different interests.
I don’t like sports, I’ll have a hard time bonding with people who only care about posting their workout on Strava.
I like wrist watches, never had a problem striking up a conversation.
In my experience, the locals expect you to fit right in without any trouble despite not being one because you’re a 華僑. But, also may alienate you for precisely the same reason. Often times leaves me unsure because it’s just confusing to navigate through which is which. But I digress, these days I just chalk it up to being Island mentality, however, it’s become significant enough for my career that I want to put in more effort to fit in and try my best to not take it personally.
Honestly I stop trying to fit in with Taiwanese. Talking to them is like playing 5D chess. Every word has its strategic value and all that. If they still want to be around me despite being myself, that’s fine, but overall Taiwanese bore the fuck out of me. Way too rigid and won’t try new things or anything outside of their comfort zones.
This can get tiring. Not everybody but yes many like that . Want to know about you but not willing to spill their own beans. Cards close to their chest. Also more than a few middle class here are extremely obsessed with money, houses, brands and cars. Few people willing to break the mould so to speak.
The others could be cool but hard to converse with through the binlang stains and smoke from the fireworks.
Not every blue collar folks in Taiwan chews binglang or smokes. Find ones that don’t. At least they don’t keep their cards close to their chest and all that…
My dad wants me to get to know my step mom’s children better. I don’t care to because I am tired of playing 5D chess with them.
I can only imagine being the guy waiting for her to get out of the hot spring room. Get ooooooout! Who are you talking tooooo? You went in alone!
Buy them drinks. Thats best way taiwanese coworkers bond with each other.