Recently, the island Taiwan has become a popular tourist attraction because of its food, culture, and beautiful scenery. Taiwan is also chosen as one of the most livable places in the world due to its safety, convenience and hospitality. Foreign tourists are amazed at how friendly Taiwanese are. If you get lost and ask the locals, they will not only show you the way but will even take you to the destination. No matter where you are, you can always hear the local people say “please”, “thank you”, and “I’m sorry”. No wonder people say that the most beautiful scenery in Taiwan is the local people.
However, what we said above might be just an illusion if you have a deeper understanding of Chinese culture. According to Confucianism, social harmony is the most important thing, and etiquette is the foundation of society. So we talk politely to avoid conflicts and promote social harmony. In Chinese, we call these polite words “Kètàohuà” (客套話). So what Taiwanese tell you is likely to be just “Kètàohuà”, not sincere words. In fact, it’s very important to know the usage of “Kètàohuà” if you want to have a good relationship with Chinese or Taiwanese people.
The first thing about “Kètàohuà” is to praise each other. You must show your respect and admiration to people by praising them. For example, when you visit a customer’s home, you must praise him for his beautiful house and good decor. If he has children, you also have to praise his children for being smart. By the way, don’t forget to praise his pet if he has one.
The second thing about “Kètàohuà” is to show your humility. In Chinese culture, humility is the greatest virtue so a proud and arrogant man can not be respected here. When you praise people, you also have to express your humility properly. For example, when you praise your customer’s house, don’t forget to ask him about the designer. When you praise his children, don’t forget to ask him about the educational methods. By doing so, people will think that you are easy to talk to and welcome you unsuspectingly.
For Chinese people, human relations are good investments. If you have good relationships with your customers, then problems will no longer be problems. You might feel sad when you understand the culture of “Kètàohuà”. Those beautiful words you have heard from local people may not be true. But Confucius also said, “Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with true virtue.” “Kètàohuà” is just a way for building relationships. But for building a friendship, there are still many things to do besides “Kètàohuà”.