Young German trying to understand/help young Taiwanese (face, "strange" behaviour)

No, he is the only asian here, but he will go back to Taiwan when his work here is done, but nobody is sure yet, when this happens…

Sounds like a mixture of culture shock and missing home, friends and family

It’s a real pity because Germany is a great place before Christmas usually with the Xmas markets. He certainly is unlucky. Try and bring him out for some kind of fun stuff…Somehow. He must be very lonely bring him out on a day tour there must be something you can visit. Or invite to dinner in your house …whatever works there.


Does being shy and introverted have something to do with saving face? I tend to find those most obsessed about saving face being loud and obnoxious. For example, Trump to me is all about face. He ain’t even Asian.


Not in every case, some Asians avoid confrontation and such, thats such a traditional thing, they have…

Okay, I was today on the hotel he lives where he is in Germany, and I really dont understand why he behaves himself so ugly.

I knocked on the door because I wanted to speak a little bit with him, he opened, had tears in his eyes and red eyes and as I asked him what happend he telled me he just watched a sad movie. I am probably not the smartest one, but not that silly. As I asked further, he excused himself and closed the door.

I dont know what he has, but I cannot help him, because he doesnt allows this, so I think it would be the best to go to distance to him.

Thanks a lot for the help, I know that taiwanese are very open minded in general, but he is a little bit strange, and I really dont know what I have done to him to declare his behavior against me.

I will ask my boss on monday if he can search for another one to watch in the company for him, thats for me too ugly and it hurts me that I cannot help him, but how said if he do not even allow speaking, there is no possibility to help.

I’m guessing 40.

NEVER, I know its hard to say but this guy is never 40, not because how he looks, and he has not the experience a 40 year old would have, hes still a half kid…

I think you were being too direct. He may think you are too pushy and intrusive by showing up at his door. And when it comes to “saving face,” you should not tell him that he has a problem and he needs your help. The most you can do is show concern by offering a gift, inviting for a meal, or just offering a chance to talk.

You could send him a message and say “let me know if you want to talk. Hope you are okay in Germany, but if you have any problems you can talk to me.”

If this employee is experiencing personal problems, depression, or self-doubt, he may very well want to hide it from others. He may see it as a sign of failure, and he hopes to finish his job and just go home. Pointing out this perceived failure to him would indeed cause him to lose face. I don’t agree with this point of view, but people suffering from depression often want to hide it, or avoid conversation about it. Even if he would benefit from help, you can’t force it on him, you can only offer to be a friend. If you try to convince him that he has a problem and needs to be “fixed,” then you are making him lose face!

I’ve known Germans and Taiwanese. I find the two cultures to be almost exactly opposite.

My German friends tend to take everything literally, and expect to have very direct conversations. They don’t take offense from misunderstandings, but usually assume that what you said is what you mean.

My Taiwanese family speaks in clues and metaphors, and expect other people to infer meaning from suggestions. All in the name of not offending or assuming too much, which is part of saving face.

I don’t think either one is right or wrong. I am on the very direct end of the spectrum, more like Germans. (A lot of German in my family.) I have learned that both communication styles work if you are in a society that uses a matching style of communication. When you are pulled out of one society and set down in another place with a different culture, it can be obviously difficult. I feel for the poor guy who has a work assignment in a foreign country during the pandemic.


I have a few questions for you. I hope you don’t mind. It may affect the type of advice you get.

  1. Is he fluent in German? If not, maybe you can ask him to do a language exchange. Assuming that you’d be interested in learning Chinese.

  2. What do you think is the age gap between you two?

  3. Have you tried small talk like chatting about video games and movies? He mentioned he just watched a sad movie. That could have been a bridge topic.

If you find out he likes video games, maybe you can try to ask if he would like to hang out and play some video games. Or you could invite him out to an arcade and hang out for a light meal afterwards.

Keep it casual and not super serious like he has something wrong with him.


As above people said, what you did sounds surprisingly direct. I had thought you would give him a small gift at the work place with a small casual conversation…

The situation is not very clear, but did you make an appointment or give him a notice of your visit?

Ok, probably that could be a mistake, I was near the hotel, so I thought “Lets see how he is” probably that was too much surprise for him.

I am not good in handle those strange cultures, even if I have to say he is sweet.

Absolutely not, he cannot speek German, only English and he has problems with English too…

I dont know exactly how old he is, I think he is around 20 (Ihave seen pictures from Taiwanese who were 20 years old in the internet and that fits) in this case he would have the same age as me.

I tried small talk, gut he is so shy that not even that helps. I tried too to speak to him because of this movie, but at this timepoint he has closed the door already so the only I had left to speek was the hotel room door…

The next problem is, that I am only 20 Years old, but have a size of 1,85 Meters, against that he looks like a child, probably he gets fear because of that?

I really dont know how I can help him, but the problem is that I am very sensitive in this manner so it hurts me too, to be not able to help…

I have read your posts very carefully and now I’m confident enough to say this. I think at least one of you is in love with the other.

Take it easy, don’t push too much, things need to go easy, you don’t want friction but lubrication.


I had that thought too already, but why is he then so extremely shy against me?
I mean, if he doesn´t say something, how can I know it then?

I really don´t know it, but how I said I tought about it already…

Yes face exists in TW. I met a middle aged rich woman who looked like every Taiwanese woman of 45, and honestly they All look The same. She was a friend of my gf and my gf wanted to to introduce me. It turns out that because I didn’t start with “OMG, you are so beautiful!”, she lost face. Another I interviewed at a tiny school and the “President” of the school was not there. As I stood up to leave, he entered the room I was leaving and he had thought I stood up because the “President” had arrived and he lost face when he realized I stood up because I was leaving (not to kowtow to him).

Your post is irrelevant here.


You think I have taken him his face, and now he is evil on me because of this?
Its really hard to understand asians, really…

If it would be a colleague or a not asian person, he would had simply said “Let me in calm I dont want you to help me” Then the case is clear all ok. But eventually he wanted to tell me that in his way, and I did not undestood it.

I will try a last try to write him SMS so he can tell me when something is wrong, otherwise the case is done for me, because even if he doesnt make himself thoughts, I make myself thoughts about his health, and I know only two ways: Help him, or not help him. But that slowly contacting, then find out what his messages and body language and further mean und such thats nothing for me, then I stay better by my german friends because its me too much effort to “Learn me in” to their way how to communicate and such, man thats harder to learn than C++…

It would be so or so better to stay by my german friends because he will be gone some (near) day and go back to Taiwan, so what should it bring to start a friendship with a person that is gone 6500kms away soon.

Face is 1 thing. Inability to show feelings is a different thing

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Hey folks,

I have wroten him a SMS today morning, and he answered and asked if I want to see him. I was a little bit confused why he asked me if I wanto to see him because I think its his decision? I answered that it depends on him and if he want, and get the answer from him and he asked me if I can come to the hotel. I did that, he opened the door, and we speaked in the doorframe (I had the feeling he did not wanted me to come in his hotel room, so I dont asked if I can come in. I speeked a little bit with him, and he was a little bit more open than the last time, but still shy and did not much responsed. I asked him too what would be intersting for him to talk over, but he said that would be my decision. What the heck?

Now the part I could probably get a little bit smart out of it: I have sometime as I speaked with him asked how he likes his job, but it seemed he didnt want to speek about it, so I changed the theme, and idiot as I am, I asked him about his parents, and how he is in general, and this was the point he aborted to speak with me telled that he have to go to the bathroom fast and closed the door.

Probably he has familiar problems, but then he could simply tell me that he doesnt want to speak about that theme.

Why the heck does he slam always the door? Is that normal in Taiwan? If it is, I never heared about that, this person, I have really to say (Dont want to offend someone) is the most ugly guy I meeted in all 20 Years of my life…