Greeting Card Messages

How to greet a Chinese girlfriend’s parents so they respect you

Nothing is more important than meeting your Chinese girlfriend’s parents for the first time. And as they all say, the first impression matters. 

That means if you damage your reputation or image in the first instance, it might be a long way back to be perceived better.  

It’s why you need to be prepared, and what better way to prepare yourself than to follow this guide? 

But you must follow all the instructions below and how they have been outlined to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

Understanding Chinese Cultural Norms

upon meeting a Chinese girlfriend’s parents, it is essential to understand and respect their cultural norms about values, family structures, and social hierarchies. 

Showing such understanding proves you are a person who respects this culture and is interested in creating a friendly atmosphere inside the scope of traditional China.

Significance Of Respect And Hierarchy

It is essential to understand Chinese cultural norms when engaging in social aspects, particularly in important issues such as introducing a girl to her parents. 

1. Core Values

Among other things, Chinese culture values filial piety, collectivism, and harmony. One of the foundations of Chinese ethics is filial piety, which dictates children’s dutiful behavior towards their parents and ancestors. These essential values must be understood to deal with Chinese families.

2. Family Structure

The family occupies the most critical position in Chinese culture. Generally speaking, families have an extended reach to include their elders and their sons and daughters living communally in one house. 

Family consultation is usually required in decision-making and during significant life circumstances. 

3. Hierarchy In Social Interactions

Chinese society places a high value on cohesiveness and obedience. People are keenly aware of their place in different cultures, where hierarchical relations rule supreme. 

Understanding these hierarchies facilitates polite conversations and engagements when encountering parents for the first time.

4. Addressing Superiors and Elders 

Respecting elders is of great importance in China. If you meet your girlfriend’s family, using respectful titles and polite communication is essential. 

Addressing them like an aunt or uncle or using a more politically correct form of address is a true example that one has acknowledged them as older.

The Concept Of “Face” (Mianzi)

Mianzi encompasses various aspects of this broad and fundamental cultural custom in China. Face refers to one’s position in society, honor, and image. An individual’s identity touches upon family, community, and societal issues.

Earning and Giving Face

Face-earning and face-giving refer to conducts that increase individuals’ reputational images or social standing. 

This can be done via achievements, good conduct, and giving to the community. On another note, offering a face for others includes recognizing successes and giving positive feedback; this implies the process of self-elevation.

Avoiding Loss Of Face

Losing face in Chinese society is a crucial concept to be avoided at all costs. Do not engage in activities that might embarrass, humiliate, or damage your image. 

Such cultural sensitivity includes public criticisms, disagreement, and confrontation, where loss of face must not take away from public display.

Before the Meeting

Meeting your girlfriend’s parents is essential, but you must do it correctly, as outlined below.  

Preparation Tips

You need to know things before meeting your Chinese girlfriend’s parents for the first time. Here are the basics: 

1. Know Basic Chinese Customs

Be aware of some basic Chinese traditions to avoid being culturally insensitive in your approach during this meeting. 

It also involves knowing the various greetings, proper gestures, and the importance of several rituals. Showing respect for local traditions shows you care about the Chinese way of life.

2. Learn Key Phrases In Mandarin

Not necessarily speaking Mandarin, but knowing some key phrases will go a long way in communicating and showing appreciation for her family. 

Brief greetings, thank you statements and simple-mannered words are enough to make a good impression.

3. Cultural Research

Carefully undertake a cultural study to understand various perceptions regarding the principles of Chinese families about health. 

Understanding the value of family, the nature of face (Mianzi), and the importance of hierarchy during social intercourse will help you respectably attend to and conduct yourself.

Choosing The Right Gift

Picking the right gift is crucial, and here is how to do it perfectly to please your Chinese girlfriend’s parents: 

1. Know Gifting Etiquette

Comprehending gift-giving manners is vital for Chinese society. In selecting a gift, symbolic value should be considered. Avoid items like clocks and knives linked to negative associations or bad luck. 

2. Suggested Gifting Ideas

Your Chinese girl’s parents deserve to receive a fitting gift, so you need to consider culture. Thoughtful choices include high-quality tea sets representing tradition and refinement or an expensive bottle of wine that shows respect and celebration. 

3. Presentation Of The Gift

The manner in which a present is presented is as significant as the present itself. Consider using decorative wrapping of elegance, ideally in the colors of red or gold, as a token of luckiness and fruitfulness. 

4. Handling The Gift Exchange

Offer the gift with your two hands to show respect while giving it. The first reaction is mostly a courtesy refusal; hence, be insistently polite. 

Show appreciation if you get something back as you unwrap it; wait until then for it not to seem that you are too impatient.

Dressing Appropriately

It is also essential to dress well whenever you meet your Chinese girlfriend’s parents for the first time so that they get good feelings about you. 

Choose clothes worthy or respectful to the event and show you know about these cultural customs. Go for clean, tailored clothes and choose a level suitable for the meeting.


Greeting is an essential aspect of Chinese culture, and you have no choice but to respect it. Moreover, you need to know how to implement it well:

Initial Polite And Respectful Greeting

You must know how to be polite and respectful in your initial greeting. This is how you do it:

  • First Impression: Begin with a friendly, authentic, and confident greeting so that he can establish a good impression about it.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Always remember that there are various cultural aspects to greeting, like the importance of a mild bow or a head tilt.
  • Establishing Respect: To show respect for their seniorities, address your girlfriend’s parents with appropriate titles using proper language.

Verbal Greetings And Titles

You also need to know how to do verbal greetings and titles. And this is how you do it perfectly so that you avoid embarrassment: 

  • Standard Greeting: Use an everyday greeting like “Nǐ hǎo” (你好), which is a common way of saying hello while maintaining politeness.
  • Using Titles: When communicating with your wife’s parents, refer to them appropriately and respect their maturity by addressing them as Aunt, Uncle, etc.
  • Bowing: Although this slight bow could be considered a non-verbal sign of respect in some cases, the author does not believe it will be beneficial.
  • Handshakes: In China, handshakes are generally acceptable, but ensure each is firm without being too rough to show confidence and consideration.

Showing Respect Throughout the Visit

Respect is a powerful currency for Chinese parents. Here is what you have to know before the meeting. 

1. Active Listening 

Listen when speaking to your girlfriend’s parents! Display your concern by paying attention to their words. 

There is more to this than simply listening to words because one should endeavor to understand each other’s thoughts and experiences. This shows that you are taking their opinion into account.

2. Mindful Communication.

Language is the matter of words we use and how we express ourselves. Watch every word and action you put forward as a sign of being courteous. 

Take note of whatever may be significant for them and other non-verbal hints. They may not speak their language, but it is like they are anyway.

3. Respecting Household Rules

Each family develops their unique style. They do not ask for respect, but they expect you to respect their rules regarding their routine, tradition, and other things. 

This proves that you understand what goes on around his family’s house. Just like when having guests, you adapt to their ways.

4. Appreciating The Meal

Eating together is a unique way to communicate. Just eat their food and appreciate their efforts. Try something new, be adventurous, give your order a shot, and thank them for their hard work preparing food for you. It is not only about food but also about sharing essential times.

Parting and Follow-up

Parting is also a critical part that most parents look at as they want to see how respectful you are. The follow-up will also determine how they perceive you:

1. Expressing Thanks

However, saying “thank you” is more than just a formal mannerism of courtesy; it conveys appreciation for the unyielding warmth that has enveloped you since morning. 

Show them how much you appreciate their contribution, and make it so their act won’t forgotten.

2. Respectful Body Language

As you prepare for your farewells, make sure that your exit radiates sweetness and warmth. A natural smile is also like a common language about goodness, which remains long after. 

Take, for instance, a friendly wave or even nod – mere gestures expressing much through the vocabulary of respect and warmth.

3. Leaving First

In parting, here is a culturally enlightening aspect that can add thoughtful benefit. The first step is to think about whether you should stay first. This is a minor sign, but it means respecting their space and time. It is a little thing to recognize the significance of the current situation.

4. Follow Up With A Thank You Message

After regulating your life, send an appreciation message to show your gratitude. Tell a little about your memorable moments of the day and thank them for making you feel at home. 

Use words to embrace virtually; you are there with them, saying that your warm feelings also remain within you.

5. Stay In Touch

Saying goodbyes is meant to signify the end of seeing someone with their physical presence, only a few of the connections made. 

Do not lose contact by periodical messaging and calling. Such small acts depict a willingness to develop natural relations, not just during that introductory moment.

6.  Invite Them In Future

As you move forward, consider extending invitations for future get-togethers and less formal hangouts. It is not only that you have to say “goodbye.” 

You want them to be part of your life going forward, so the open call goes hand in hand with a promise for new memories yet to come.


You can make meeting your Chinese girlfriend’s parents special if you follow everything we discussed above.

Be mindful of their culture so that you avoid making silly mistakes. But if you’re Chinese, then well and good. You can still use this piece to guide you on points you might have forgotten. 

Vincent Otieno

Vincent Otieno is a passionate jewelry enthusiast and writer at Getnamenecklace, an e-commerce store dedicated to offering exquisite jewelry and thoughtful gifts for your loved ones. With a keen eye for detail and a deep appreciation for the art of gift-giving, Vincent curates a collection that celebrates the beauty of craftsmanship and the joy of making family moments unforgettable.

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