Major cultural snafu? Please help!

OK, I’m new here, only been in Taiwan a month and a half, and I gotta say this one seriously has me considering running for the hills (or at least right back home).

Last Sunday I needed a place to stay for a few weeks, so I responded to an ad on Tealit–a Taiwanese girl was offering to let someone sleep on her couch for awhile. I get there, the place is great, we chat some–her English was excellent, so I complimented her and asked if she’d studied abroad, you know, polite chit-chat. We agreed I’d move in the next day.

When the day came, I called her from downstairs and she said her cousins were going to visit in two weeks, so I had to leave by then. OK, say I. Couple days go by, we go out to dinner a couple times, more chit-chat, etc. We seem to be getting along really well. Then on maybe the third day it’s like a light switched off–she acts SO mad at me, like she really can’t stand the sight of me. I rack my brain, but can’t think of anything I’ve done. Actually, I’ve worked REALLY hard at being a good roommate.

This gets worse and worse until tonight, when she quickly announces that her cousins are coming day after tomorrow, so I have to leave tomorrow. This gives me 12 hrs to find a new place. Also, it’s so clearly a lie that I ask if I can talk to her–ask what I’ve done wrong. She starts yelling that she’s not obligated to tell me. Long story short, she ends up viciously attacking me for about a half hour, saying that I’m breaking her heart–I’m so jealous of her (cause she speaks 3 languages?), stuck up, cruel, and condescending. Said she didn’t like me from the moment we met and I said, snidely, that her English was so good and asked if she’d studied abroad. (Is this the wrong thing to say to a Taiwanese? Her English is really terrific, far better than my Chinese, I was just being polite!) Seems the cousins were an invention from the get-go. She said she tried to make the best of it when I came anyway, she tried to be nice to me, but I threw it in her face and laughed at her, how dare I laugh at her? Oh yes, also I was completely arrogant about being American. Me, who’s dreamed of leaving America since I first looked at a globe! That didn’t matter, got called a selfish bitch and later on a stupid bitch for not knowing where all this vitriol was coming from. She said she’s been crying in her room at night–wanting so badly to be my friend, but I’ve been breaking her heart–etc etc.

Right. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life been attacked like that for so little reason. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve been super polite, on my best behavior as it were. If my manner was so offensive, I think my Taiwanese language exchange partners & “friends” (have only known them a month, of course) would have let on somehow. Maybe not. I really don’t know.

So this is my question–have any of you guys run into this sort of situation? Is it common? If I’m going to be facing these sorts of major misunderstandings a lot, I really don’t think I want to stay here. Just can’t do this over and over again.

PS WARNING–her ad is still on You can PM me if you wanna know her name, to avoid her apt! She’s got a big room to rent, as well as the couch.

It means she likes you.

[quote=“Brendon”]It means she likes you.[/quote]…and you didn’t make a move :loco:

I don’t think you did anything wrong, but personally I’ve found that my own efforts at being polite sometimes have come across as cold, distant, or arrogant. Maybe she was expecting you to be her instant dearest friend, sharing the most intimate details of your life from the day you first met? All the same, it sounds like she’s lonely, emotionally unstable, and has an inferiority complex vis-a-vis Westerners. You’ll encounter some of this again, I imagine, but never on this scale. Get away and forget about it.

You have entered The Taiwan Zone.

She was being nice and you were too…She expected you to give back and possibly be her bf…simple. Selfish motives failed. She figured you owed her on some level. Move on.

My 2 sense.

RVolner, when I read your post, I assumed you were a woman…what gender are you?


Don’t sweat it RV. There are raving loons everywhere, some with nice apartments. :slight_smile:


I got assaulted (physically) by a coworker and I can not understand why the hell he did that. First day he comes in, he was nice, we talk and stuff, the on the third day, suddenly its like a switch flipped or something, he started ignoring me and stuff then just one day he threatened to kick my @$$ for whatever reason. Before that I kinda ignored him, minding my own business and stuff… Then just one time he walked by me and suddenly wresteled me to the ground, and I just could not understand why the hell he did that. Do Taiwanese have something against their own that speaks perfect English??

That was terrible! I’m not sure this is a cultural thing. Maybe there are mental health issues.

She is a crazy bitch with the emotional maturity of a 6 year old. Are you seriously asking how you can mend fences with a person whose heart can be broken in less than 24 hours?

Get as far away as possible.

Welcome to taiwan, it only gets better!

Yes, and the scary thing is, how many people in this country are actually mentally healthy? Growing up with all of the pressures and stresses they have to put up with, coupled with the fact that this leaves inadequate time to grow emotionally…and that parents allow their children very little independence, even when they are grown…throw all of this into the mix of a conformist culture, and you have a recipe for social and emotional disaster.

I am not surprised in the least when I hear about such behavior. In fact, I think erratic behavior here is more common than we as foreigners may realize.

“Give what you have. To some one, it may be better than you dare to think.” so said Mr. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

:wink: :discodance: :smiling_imp:

Then again…

:runaway: :runaway: :blush:

Thanks so much for all the replies–it’s good to know that I’m not the crazy one here! Indiana, Brendon, and X2M, ya I’m actually a woman. Sorry, should’ve said that earlier. Who knows though–the ad mentioned that she wanted a “gentle, loving roommate,” (thought it was cute at the time), so maybe she was just pissed to find that I have a husband in the US. Who can say? She did mention that she’d had a few bad boyfriends, maybe they turned her off men. :astonished:

Rahimiii, that’s awful that you got assaulted at work! As bad as this episode was, at least I don’t have bruises! Although one more “selfish stupid bitch” comment and it might have headed in that direction.

Shifty, I am certainly not wanted to mend fences with her! Just wanna get through the next few hrs with her until I can find someplace to go. And you’re right–at least it’s all uphill from here!

At the end of the day, I have to say that I’ve met more kind & generous taiwanese than I have…unstable…ones like her. Won’t leave quite yet! :slight_smile:

Maybe she was jealous of the fact that you are married!

Could be, I really don’t know what to think. :s

Part 2 of the story–attacks have kept up all morning as I’m trying to find somewhere to move to. I’m trying to figure out how to explain that I can’t just take my bags and leave, first I have to find out which hostel has availability. Oh yes, and without sounding condescending! :unamused:

[quote=“RVolner”]Could be, I really don’t know what to think. :s

Part 2 of the story–attacks have kept up all morning as I’m trying to find somewhere to move to. I’m trying to figure out how to explain that I can’t just take my bags and leave, first I have to find out which hostel has availability. Oh yes, and without sounding condescending! :unamused:[/quote]

You should tell her that you’re blogging this experience as she rants.

Exactly what jdsmith says. Tell her you’re telling the whole world not to answer her tealit ad :smiling_imp:

A vicious lesbian…wow! Unrequited & scorned

I have a theory about the mental instability here on the island -
2 things:

  1. The oft-mentioned societal pressure.
  2. Heavy concentrations of heavy metals in the water & food supply.

I’m developing a theory. Still unfinished.

But Chinese use heavy metals to calm the hun (for madness).