Discussion » Nonsense » To lose face or not to lose face?

  • Kodi
    Kodi wrote:
    I wish to learn more about the concept of losing face. I am American, so I have no concept of what it means to lose face. I become embarrassed, jealous, angry, envious, and sour occasionally, but not very often.

    The reason I wish to learn about this is because I heard many women talk about how they cannot just blow off this guy who is bothering them because they do not want to make him lose face. Or how they cannot act a certain way to a person who is frequently an asshole to them because they do not want to make them lose face etc.... The losers of face were always guys in every instance I have encountered, so I am beginning to think that men made this shit up in China, so that they can stroke their egos. Not a bad idea haha, but it does get rather annoying from time to time.

    Please help me understand what this face thing is really all about.
  • Aurélien
    Aurélien wrote:
    I think it's a chinese sentence that they translated, but they don't want to embarass people in front of other people I think.
  • Nadia Scheie
    Nadia Scheie wrote:
    just dont want to break a man's proper pride~~~chinese care it very much~~and save some one‘s face can be a like of polite~
  • Minger
    Minger wrote:
    It's just embarrassment. it's really rude to embarrass people. For instance, you wouldn't tell me how much of a douche I am on this public message board, because it would make me look stupid, my feelings would be hurt, and then I wouldn't help you make business connections in the future. Never know when someone will be in a position to help you (or hurt you) somewhere down the road.
  • MiLo
    MiLo wrote:
    lose face is the literal translation, not very accurate by its real meaning. Try to understand its real meaning, then you can tell what kind of situation is 'lose face'
  • Minger
    Minger wrote:
    When I post on the English forum I have to promise to be nice, but when I post on the Chinese forum I only have to promise not to illegal and aggressive content.
    I'm posting on the Chinese forum now when I say that Chuck is a douche.
  • Sasha 莎莎 Wang
    exactly what 莫明 said.
    To lose face you are embarrassed or insulted in front of others, there isn't much to it, but do it to a Chinese person and you're pretty screwed.
  • Malin Aaker
    Malin Aaker wrote:
    It means, if you want to put pressure on a chinese person in a company and think that a salary augmentation or reduce can be a good motivation you're wrong, tell him that he will get a job with a less impressive title than its current one if you're not satisfied with the work, and you've got your man freshly re-motivated!

    It also means that those same employees will find a way to leave the company with no hurts rather than get a lesser titled jobs.

    Those are some example of the concept of losing face that I've seen!
  • 随便叫兽
    随便叫兽 wrote:
    Is it because Western societies are more individualist and Asian societies are more collectivist? Or is honor/prestige/reputation more important to Chinese people because of limited social mobility?
  • Fazio
    Fazio wrote:
    Just not be selfish.

    Consider about Others feeling...
  • 随便叫兽
    随便叫兽 wrote:
    Fagio: Face can be really selfish when an individual puts their reputation before another person's physical and emotional needs.

    I agree that Asian people consider the thoughts and expectations of their peers and family members more than Westerners. But I think it's totally selfish and individualistic when a person thinks of their reputation or social status as an existent thing.
  • Kodi
    Kodi wrote:
    Thank you guys this is very very helpful and now I feel like an asshole for being frustrated by it. I hope more Chinese men can comment. But I really appreciate all your comments.

  • Miriam Pedersen
    I don't think "losing face" only applies to chinese or to those grown up in a chinese cultural environment.

    I spent most of my life in Germany. God knows I don't have that much exposure to a chinese society. Yet, I do understand the meaning of losing face and I actively avoid doing it to my fellow colleagues and friends. The majority of them are german. And I can say, they are not fond of losing face as well. Not quite in the same situation chinese people normally would care losing face, but they do. It's a human feeling of being humiliated. And that's hardly dependent on nationality, culture or ethnicity. One can only argue about to which degree that feeling might be stronger in certain situations dependent on nationality, culture..etc. But there is no point in making it scientifc in such a detail.

    The buttom line is, chinese/asian people gave that feeling a (visually playful) name, that's all. It's like someone asking why Germans are good at drinking beer, as if they are the only people in the world drinking beer. That's ridiculous.

    Cheers
  • 残乐
    残乐 wrote:
    @HumphreY, quite agree with you, even though I did not finish your .. speech

    for Kodi ,maybe losing face is hard to understand from the word, but embarrass is quite a usual way to express the kind of feeling. So if you still cann't get it, then I may think you are not the person that is considered to other person. but you are right the asia culture is shame-based, compared to states' guilty-based culture.

    BTW, if your girl is using that word to explain why they did not get rid of those guys immediately, you probably need to seriously think about that whether your girl is using the word as an excuse for their little secret affairs.... lol .kidding, don't take it to serious~~
  • Åse Marie Strand
    I equate losing face to losing your cool..
  • 叮噹叔叔 (令狐叮噹)
    ...

    Hahahaha ... imagine this following scenario ... and I will try to write it in a uni-sex, second-person point of view ...

    You were always very good at "pick up line", nearly never failed, and your friends (buddies, girlfriends) loved your "conquer" stories ... on one particular day (or night), you bombed out badly trying to pick up this very attractive person (bar, Starbucks, wherever), and "to save face", you made up some sort of story to your friends ... but someone else was there when you bombed out, and came to reveal that you were given a lemon, that made you "lose face" ...

    Hahahaha ... very loose story ... but I hope that helps ...
  • Miriam Pedersen
    But if you are truely good at pickup, you should have developed a "hard facial skin", thus being able to take such embarassing situation with ease, right?

    So, example not helpful :)
  • 叮噹叔叔 (令狐叮噹)
    ...

    Hahahaha ... Humphrey, that's true, because not everyone of us is called Dave Findley ... and is he thick or what?

    Speaking of which, there is an old Chinese literature (one might consider it an art form) called 厚黑学... it is about developing "thick skin" and "black heart", in order to aid one in life, e.g. work, business, relationship etc ... if you like reading, I do recommend it to everyone, I remember seeing an English version before too, not sure if it was in Beijing or when I was back in Sydney ...

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