I have written about the subject of Greng Jai and Thai women before on this site but I am going to write another post about this because I get a few questions about it.
Here is the link to the previous post on Greng Jai Thai Culture and Greng Jai
Now I don’t think I can give you a one off explanation that will make it all clear for you but I will talk about what I have noticed so far and hopefully it will at least give you western men some better idea of this Thai culture behavior.
The funny thing is this is not a problem between Thai people, for example with Thai couple Thai men do not have this problem with their Thai women and so it really seems to be mainly a problem between Farang men and their Thai girlfriends or Thai wives. What seems to confuse Farang is that Greng Jai appears like lying…even my Father in law when I first tried to explain said as a joke ‘oh its like lying then’. So it’s easy for me now to understand this must be confusing for Farang.
Greng Jai is not to be confused with lying
We greng jai to make things easy, not make it difficult.For example:Rather than ask for something that we feel may be against your wishes we will say nothing or maybe find another way around it. You see what is important to understand is that we don’t greng jai for no reason…not like we wake up in the morning and decide to greng jai today. There is a reason and the reason is we don’t want to upset. We prefer peaceful ways and non conflict.
Ok here is one example of Greng jai for you:
An Australian man asks his Thai wife…would you like to live with me in Australia or in Thailand…. now she may think because maybe he gives this impression that really he wants to live in Australia …so rather than upset him..or not grant his wish she may greng jai and say. I don’t mind.its up to you…in fact she may want to live in Thailand as Thais like to living near their family…but she wont want to cause a problem and so she greng jai and not tell him exactly what she would like.
So how to tell difference between lying and greng jai…very difficult but greng jai has a reason not to upset. Where lying is trying to conceal something you don’t want the person to know and usually for a negative purpose. For Thai we are born with it.so we can justfeel or sense the truth from greng jai…but for western they are not born with it which make’s it difficult to recognize…for us we have a natural instinct to tell the difference
In some ways you can call it politeness or good manners or not wishing to take advantage..or be greedy or put people out on your behalf. Like not wanting to order something too expensive to eat on a first date…This will typically be with Thai couple date as Thai men can tell this is just greng jai and this is not confusing for them.
I know there are many western men who sadly will say this is all just BS and that really I am trying to cover up for Thai women lying but I can tell you this is not so. Sadly of course in all walks of life there are extremes and manipulators. There is black and white and every shade of grey in between…innocent Thai Greng jai is as I describe it but yes the other extreme it can be used by less scrupulous people to lie and manipulate you…and I understand completely those Farang who have been caught by this.
Ok so another analogy I can think of is with English accents.
I know that people from England will know this very well that there are many changes in accents between county’s…and so to different accents in America if you are from Chicago or Idaho and different accents if you are from Manchester or London. But for a Thai person like me I cannot tell the difference. Perhaps one may sound clearer than another and I can notice a slight difference but I have no idea what is the difference or where that person is from. But for those who are from that country you just know because you have grown up with it. It is the same with Greng jai for Thai people…we just know the difference between blatant lying and greng jai.
So what can you do if your Thai girlfriend greng jai you?
Well the best advice I can give for now is just talk to her. Ask her not to greng jai you. You could also try a tactic like using the reason to greng jai as a reason not to greng jai, here is what I mean:
For example…if you ask a question to choose between 2 holidays one in Norway and one in Italy……try explaining that you don’t want her to greng jai because if she does and chooses the wrong one it will cause a problem, maybe Norway will be cold and she don’t like it but she feel you want to go there and so she greng jai and choose Norway but once you book the tickets and get there you cannot go back, and she will be unhappy and so will you….so now you will make her greng jai to not cause a problem and so she will now choose the one she really wants….I hope that makes sense!
However listen to this warning about Greng Jai and Thai women
This technique will not work with bad insincere people because they want to get what they want. This will work with sincere people because good people will generally greng jai for the right reasons and with a good purpose of being polite and not wanting to offend, upset or cause problem. Just for an easy and peaceful way.
I guess like any relationship issues you also need to be able to read human nature well to tell if they are sincere or not, whether it be Thai or Farang!!..Lol
Read my funny coffee conversation with Dean about Greng Jai here Angella and Dean talk about Greng Jai
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