Meeting people, socialise, friends... where to start?

When I’m in Taiwan (I’m a white-faced westerner) I speak Chinese with almost everyone. For the most part it works just fine, and if I miss part of the conversation the people I’m with just expect me to keep up. It’s not often someone wants to use English with me.

Another factor might be one’s proficiency with Chinese. Even though I feel insecure in my Chinese speaking ability, I can say objectively that my listening comprehension is good, my pronunciation and tones are great (which tricks people into thinking I’m fluent), and I can read and write OK. In contrast, I know westerners who are married to Taiwanese and live in Taiwan for years, and their ability to speak and use the language is crap.

It’s painful to listen to a foreigner who butchers the language because they can’t distinguish tones or they speak in a monotone. In that case Chinese speakers will switch to English because you’re torturing their ears! :laughing:

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Guilty as charged.

I envy you guys that are good at this. Chinese is hard!



If you have a job lined up, try to meet people at work or friends of your colleagues. That’s an easy connection.

You can also look into FB groups or meet ups of your hobbies. There’s probably more than handful of them for each one of your hobbies.

As for speaking Chinese or English, if you established early that you prefer to be spoken to Chinese to improve your capabilities, I am pretty sure most people would be happy to help you out. However, if you’re still learning and can’t really follow or hold a full conversation yet, it may be tough to convince them to speak to you in Chinese if you can’t understand a majority of what they’re saying.

Good luck!

Yeah nah. Don’t tell a newbie there’s an app when there isn’t an app. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

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Is there no app? I have an icon on my homescreen.

No app. It’s the mobile website version.

How did you find people that play mahjong with at work? When I moved here I thought finding people to play with would be a breeze. Turns out nobody at work plays. Seems like there is a gap in this generation. Everyone is focused on job or family.

Your post full of bragging tortured my eyes.



Edit - I see others have already asked that.

I agree.

Thank you!

My adult students. Though as you said, most everyone has busy lives and can’t afford to set aside an afternoon to play, but little by little I found college students, housewives, retirees and just plain mahjong fans to play.

I drink and I knit. I met a group of friends by hanging out in bars and knitting. I met a group of women who do just that. What are the odds? If an old broad like me can do it, you young whipper snappers can too.
I must say these are truly exceptional women too. I’m blessed to have met them.
Dedicated bar knitter


I think it’s more the other way around, older Taiwanese most of the time have 0 English knowledge so they will just speak Chinese to you.


Ignore the bitter and jaded responses. Taiwan is an awesome place to live when you’re young (and, don’t worry, early 30s isn’t “too old” at all). You’ll occasionally meet foreigners who stayed in TW for too long and encountered all the problems that have been discussed on this forum ad nauseam, like low salaries and a glass ceiling for foreigners, but there’s no reason why you have to end up that way. Just make the most of your time in TW while you can.

From my experience, making friends in TW became easy as soon as I started making an effort. Going to language exchanges, groups for activities you enjoy (there are plenty of hiking and nature-related groups), and simply meeting random people in your day-to-day life (you don’t need to force it - it will happen eventually) are all great ways to make friends. Fortunately, Taiwan is a very easy place to make friends if you’re not into drinking and nightlife. Most Taiwanese people aren’t and there are plenty of foreigners who aren’t either.

I lived in Taiwan in my late-20s and early 30s and it was the best time of my life! As somebody who generally finds it hard to make friends, I found it easy in TW once I started putting in the effort. All the best!


This isn’t me

There are still plenty of stubborn people who just want to speak English, especially if you are white.
They kill the vibe. Doesn’t matter to them how good your Chinese is. Taiwan has a lot of Mandarin speakers that don’t actually speak standard Mandarin or switch between Taiwanese and Mandarin and that is
Was a big challenge for me in some environments . You won’t encounter this in Taipei much simply because most younger people don’t speak Taiwanese there. They don’t speak anything because they are playing with their phones.:sunglasses: You make a joke to any language and many don’t know how to respond.

Ignore people who live overseas I will tell you how it is now , most Taiwanese young people are shy and hard to get out of their shell. They are not used to talking with foreigners . They don’t have good social skills in any language. Southern European will be like a chess grandmaster in terms of social ability compared to some locals. You must push it yourself. If you are good looking and patient and smiley it will help a lot .

Coworkers and working in Taiwan is another ballgame entirely. The language is not the cause of social gaps, it’s cultural… A whole bunch of stuff .
The biggest issue is constantly being reminded you are a foreigner.


[quote=“tigerninjaman, post:19, topic:202699”]
All the stuff about being a foreigner, learning Mandarin, etc. comes with time. Reading through this thread, just remember this:

Hehe indeed it was always so.

I never knew such a thing existed. Seriously. Good for you guys. Beats smoking.


I’m sure the ladies have less facial hair but