Findmate is one of the easiest ways to make connections with people in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, but once you’ve made a match, how do you score a date? Assuming you’re not already a fluent Mandarin or Cantonese speaker (if you are, Zhù nǐ hǎo yùn, go get to it!), even a few stock romantic phrases can go a long way! The point isn’t trick anyone into thinking you’re fluent in Chinese—they’re probably just as excited about flirting with someone way outside their circles as you are—but it’s flattering when someone makes the effort, and a little stumbling can be cute AF.

A few quick notes

You’ve probably heard that Chinese has two primary dialects, Mandarin and Cantonese. Fortunately for you, the differences are primarily spoken, rather than written. If you’re really bold, you can try sending a few messages using Chinese characters, but be aware that there is a difference between simplified and traditional characters. You’re probably safer following our example and using pinyin, which translates Chinese characters into the familiar Latin alphabet.

(Note: Proper pinyin includes diacritic symbols which indicate tone. You’ll probably just be copy+pasting your phrases from this blog, but if you need to type something out on your own, the Wiki article on pinyin is a good source for these letters.)

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Chinese Greetings: Let’s get started

So you’ve found a hottie on Findmate (ed. note: nice!) and you’re sweating your intro. Well, IRL, just saying “hi” is usually a good start, so why not try a quick “nǐhǎo” and go from there? The following list will give you a few simple Chinese pleasantries:

nǐhǎo ma? – How are you?

wǒ hěn hǎo – I am fine/good

zuìjìn zěnmeyàng? – What’s new?

wǒ hěn gāoxìng rènshí nǐ – I’m glad to meet you

xiè xie – Thanks!

bú kèqi – You’re welcome!

nǐ xiān zǒu – You go first

nǐ huì shuō yīngwén ma? – Do you speak English?

Chinese Flirting: Cutting to the chase!

Small talk has a tendency to shrink into silence, so let’s get to the good stuff! You can pepper your wooing (this is for you too, ladies; y’all can totally woo) with some of the following phrases to meet your Chinese-speaking match halfway:

wǒ xǐhuān nǐ – I like you

nǐ hěn piào liang – You are beautiful

nǐ hǎo shuài – You are handsome

nǐ hěn cōngmíng – You are clever

nǐ yǒu nánpéngyǒu/nǚpéngyou ma? – Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?

Àirén – Sweetheart

wǒ xiǎng nǐ – I miss you!

wǒ xiǎng jiàn nǐ – I want to see you

nǐde diànhuà hàomǎ shì duōshǎo – What’s your phone number? (ed. note: after a reasonable amount of chatting, obv!)

Yīqǐ chīfàn, wǒ qǐngkè – Let’s go to dinner, my treat

Advanced (Cheesy) Chinese flirting

And just to help you get that extra edge, here are a few more complex lines to try. Remember, it doesn’t matter how hard you fall on your face if you look charming while you do it!

Nǐ xiāngxìn mìngyùn ma? – Do you believe in destiny?

Wǒ hǎoxiàng zài nǎ’er jiànguò nǐ – I feel like I’ve seen you somewhere before (ed. note: Just make sure this doesn’t come off like you think all Asians look alike…)

Nǐ shì mótè ér ma? – Are you a model?

Photo by 张 学欢 / Unsplash

Wŏ xĭ huan nĭ de yàng zi. Yŏu hĕn duō nǚ hái dōu cháng de hĕn mĕi, dàn nĭ kān qĭ lai hĕn yŏu tè sè. – I like your look. A lot of girls have beauty, but you seem like you have character.

If you play your cards right, these’ll help you score a smile and maybe more. Plus, once you’ve run out of stock phrases, the next move is obvious: “Nǐ kěyǐ jiào wǒ gèng duō?” (“Can you teach me more?”)