Concern or a lack of faith?

Independence is a quality that is greatly valued in the Netherlands.

When a little child falls and does not cry, we tend to let the child get back up on its own. Chinese act differently. They will immediately rush to the child’s side and ask if it’s alright. 

From a Western perspective the Chinese are, therefore, often deemed to be overly concerned, also where friends and colleagues are concerned. In China this display of concern is a way of taking an interest as well as a way to show respect.

This can be extremely uncomfortable for Westerners. The repeated asking whether you need help may induce a feeling of lack of faith in your capacities. Further, the overly concerned Chinese host who spends every minute looking after his foreign visitor’s every need, is regarded as someone who draws all attention to him or herself.   

The best response is to thank the ‘relief worker’ in a friendly yet strong manner whilst assuring them that your tasks are entirely subordinate to theirs.