An introvert in Chinese culture

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Anonymous #1
#1
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#1
Anyone else? I'm sure everyone has had a different experience growing up, but it seems that in my culture, being quiet is extremely looked down upon, it's go big or go home. Unfortunately, I happen to be a shy, quiet introvert and because of this, am constantly labelled by extended family as "slow" or "dumb." My own grandmother has said that I "won't survive in this world," thinking that I don't understand Cantonese. Apparently the volume of your voice dictates how successful you will be.

Family gatherings are horrendous; everybody is screaming and laughing at the tops of their lungs, while I'm just sitting there while somebody comes along every five minutes to ask me why I'm so quiet. After a while, I begin to be treated as though I have actual issues, people start petting my head, talking to me softly. If you don't talk very much in this culture, you clearly have some mental health issue. I have grannies saying that I'm very "still" but in Cantonese, the word has negative connotations. I end up sitting there awkwardly for the next few hours in humiliation.

There is this constant need for extroversion and sociability and although I am an introvert, I consider myself sociable toward friends. However, at this point I'm wondering if I should just cut my extended family from my life? Obviously, I don't plan on completely cancelling them but I don't see the point in actively trying to get along with them when the culture difference is just too wide? Every single outing with them is without fail, awkward.
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Anonymous #2
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Report 1 year ago
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Your extended family may be rude, loud, and unruly, but more likely than not, they're just trying to get you out of your shell and have no malice towards you.

You have a few choices to make here: either make more of an effort to join in on their conversations and reap the rewards of maintaining a good relationship with your extended family (especially if they're middle class like most southern Chinese diaspora), distance yourselves from them and focus on your social life with your friends (which would likely make you happier and more comfortable with yourself), or finally you could just piss your grandmother off by calling Cantonese an irrelevant dialect of Chinese and rub the fact that Mandarin will take over as the Chinese lingua franca in her face, which I suspect would be funny to see but likely wouldn't produce any good results.

Finally, I have to ask you this, does your immediate family members treat you this way, or is it only your extended family?
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JustOneMoreThing
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#3
Report 1 year ago
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Well, what can you do?

Can you leave the household, are you leaving for Uni? What's your situation?

With my family I have one rule, this rule is without a doubt the most important when it comes to family, less is more.

Do not see your family a lot, don't interact with them a lot, seeing family in small doses is much better, you appreciate each other more, they won't take you for granted and this will of course lead to them not feeling comfortable enough to make you uncomfortable

Family is like a chocolate bar, too much is sickening.
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Anonymous #1
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Report Thread starter 1 year ago
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Your extended family may be rude, loud, and unruly, but more likely than not, they're just trying to get you out of your shell and have no malice towards you.

You have a few choices to make here: either make more of an effort to join in on their conversations and reap the rewards of maintaining a good relationship with your extended family (especially if they're middle class like most southern Chinese diaspora), distance yourselves from them and focus on your social life with your friends (which would likely make you happier and more comfortable with yourself), or finally you could just piss your grandmother off by calling Cantonese an irrelevant dialect of Chinese and rub the fact that Mandarin will take over as the Chinese lingua franca in her face, which I suspect would be funny to see but likely wouldn't produce any good results.

Finally, I have to ask you this, does your immediate family members treat you this way, or is it only your extended family?
Haha, I wish I could take that last option I also doubt that they're trying to be rude intentionally, another issue with the culture however is that it's really hard for people within it to differentiate between what is being straightforward and what is downright impolite, the line is very blurred so people just say whatever they want.

My immediate family treat me like a normal human being, they understand that I'm simply quiet and don't get on in loud environments...
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Anonymous #1
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Report Thread starter 1 year ago
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(Original post by JustOneMoreThing)
Well, what can you do?

Can you leave the household, are you leaving for Uni? What's your situation?

With my family I have one rule, this rule is without a doubt the most important when it comes to family, less is more.

Do not see your family a lot, don't interact with them a lot, seeing family in small doses is much better, you appreciate each other more, they won't take you for granted and this will of course lead to them not feeling comfortable enough to make you uncomfortable

Family is like a chocolate bar, too much is sickening.
I am currently in Uni, but there's no escaping my family during long holidays and even during term time, there's weekly get togethers being arranged in the groupchat and I can only excuse myself so much.

Thank you for that advice, I agree with it wholeheartedly, things don't seem to improve between us no matter how often I see them.
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Anonymous #2
#6
Report 1 year ago
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(Original post by Anonymous)
My immediate family treat me like a normal human being, they understand that I'm simply quiet and don't get on in loud environments...
Well then what does it matter? Speaking as a northern Chinese, some members of my immediate family keep in touch with the extended family while I tend to avoid them. Since they're speaking on behalf of me, I don't have to worry too much and I'll simply go with the flow if I ever have to meet them. I don't know enough about the differences between northern and southern culture, but it won't hurt for you anymore to distance yourself further and see how it goes.

The main problem I see here is that you're not very good at standing up for yourself. Who cares if you're excusing yourself too much? What are they going to do? Ostracise you because you have a busy life? By the looks of it, it's not like they'll notice if you don't show up to their gatherings anyways, since you're so quiet anyways.
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Anonymous #1
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Report Thread starter 1 year ago
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Well then what does it matter? Speaking as a northern Chinese, some members of my immediate family keep in touch with the extended family while I tend to avoid them. Since they're speaking on behalf of me, I don't have to worry too much and I'll simply go with the flow if I ever have to meet them. I don't know enough about the differences between northern and southern culture, but it won't hurt for you anymore to distance yourself further and see how it goes.

The main problem I see here is that you're not very good at standing up for yourself. Who cares if you're excusing yourself too much? What are they going to do? Ostracise you because you have a busy life? By the looks of it, it's not like they'll notice if you don't show up to their gatherings anyways, since you're so quiet anyways.
Very true, then again it's normally my immediate family who force me to go to these gatherings. I have very little choice in the matter, but I suppose now that I'm at Uni it's a little more bearable.
I think I'm worried that they'll ostracize me not because I have a busy life. It's already well established by my extended family that I'm painfully shy, some may assume that I'm rude, others may assume that I have issues, or a combination of all. If they do ostracize me, I doubt that it'd be based on the assumption that I am simply too busy to go out with them, but rather that I'm a bad person in one way or another.
The last bit about them not noticing is without a doubt true though
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Anonymous #1
#8
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
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What are the chances, my family just arranged an outing, I politely declined since I was out until 2am yesterday. They've all read my message on the groupchat and nobody is replying to me...
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