Greng Jai is a practice that Thai people use in every day life. It can be very confusing for Western people..here is a brief explanation:
“Greng Jai” will leave many Westerners (Farang) a bit confused and not knowing what is right to do or not. This cultural habit is born out of Thai’s preference for politeness and dislike for direct confrontation. This could be partly because of Thai Buddhist culture as we are taught that confrontation is wrong.
When faced with a choice Thai wives ( NOTE Greng Jai is not exclusive to women, it applies to thai men as well…it really is part of Thai character) will not always say directly what they want or what they mean. Very often it is because they do not wish to upset their partner by denying them their wish or by choosing something they may not be happy with. They may also prefer not to talk about something that can cause conflict and confrontation and so will find a way to avoid it if possible.
This does not mean they are dishonest or will lie and should not be confused with that. Of course there will always be those who will take it to the extreme or use it to their own advantage.
It can be very frustrating because unlike westerners both men and women who are much more direct in these matters, they would rather take the middle road approach and not upset and so for Western men in a relationship with a Thai woman it can seem as though she avoids difficult situations and conversations, her true feelings or thoughts may come out later on in bits and pieces and this can seem like she was holding back..which of course she was but not for the reasons westerners think.
This is where Thai culture and Western culture differ greatly and it is one thing that has proved to be difficult to get along with in relationships between westerners and Thai with many westerners taking the view that Thai people use it as an excuse. What you might find funny is that “Greng Jai” can often be as frustrating for Thai people as for Westerners! So we do understand the frustration it can cause.
Here is an example for you:
Darling would you like to go out for dinner tonight, maybe for Italian, chinese or Indian food.
Thai wife says:
Which one would you prefer
Hmmm…It’s Up to you
Why not just choose one
At the restaraunt…Chinese, which the husband chose !!
Thai wife is eating her meal with the feeling of being unhapy, as though she has been commanded to eat.
Is everything ok darling?
Thai Wife says:
Back home later…
Darling you don’t seem happy are sure everything is ok?
Thai wife says:
I wanted to eat something spicy and I’m still hungry.
Why didn’t you say something then?
That’s Greng Jai..!!!!
Let’s go! and enjoy a Thai music video about” Greng Jai”…