Friday, March 04, 2011

Awkward Attempt at Friendship

I just opened my door to an eager faced Chinese man holding two bags of fruit. He made to walk into our house, but I stopped him. He started talking excitedly but I was talking on the phone with a friend and couldn't understand him. I had to cut her off by saying, "I have to let you go. There's a guy here with fruit. I think he wants to be my friend. I'm not sure what to do!"
Here was his heart felt and honest plea:

"I heard there are foreigners who live in this building, and I came to see if we could be friends!" He didn't show any indication that he thought this request would be denied. Probably because he had some good looking fruit.

I felt badly, but it just seemed a little odd to show up at someone's door and offer instant friendship, no matter how much fruit you bring. I told him it was a little strange. He said it wasn't. I told him I was actually really busy. He said he could help. I told him I had to help my son get ready to leave for a camping trip. He told me he could watch Ethan while I did that. I told him I was married and that it really wasn't appropriate for me to have a guy for a friend. He said it wasn't that kind of friendship. He even showed me some ID. Two kinds, actually. I told him that my husband wasn't home. He said he could wait. I told him this situation was strange and not suitable. He said it wasn't. Through it all, his eagerness did not fade.

It didn't even fade that much when I essentially pushed him out the door. He tried to keep it open a bit with his foot, but I insisted. I was tempted to deadbolt the door after I shut it, but I assume he was pretty discouraged on the other side already. No need to add insult to injury.

I told my maid all about it when he'd left, noting that in America we don't do that kind of thing. She said that's not normal here either, and thought I'd done the right thing. Then we giggled about the absurdity of it for awhile. What will China do next?


Robyn said...

What an interesting story! Yes, it does sound kind of weird. I do feel sorry for him, though, in a way! :) said...

In China they are either the kindest most ready friend or they just ignore you. Wouldn't it be awesome if the whole world ran this way? Everyone ready to meet the new neighbor, give a helping hand, share what they had and give freely? I believe it would make Jesus quite happy! All of His children, playing nicely together. I think it would be awesome to not be afraid of anyones intent, to be able to trust everyone... sounds like heaven?

Gina Marie said...

I agree - Chinese can be incredibly gracious one on one, although in public places it's often the case that you are just another face getting in their way. I do appreciate that store keepers and vendors are often very friendly and I have fun encounters with them. This one just went too far though. He apologized later to my husband for being "reckless." :)