Thai Girlfriend Advisor

Relationship advice for Western Men and Thai Women

Tag: how we are greng jai

Angella and Dean talk about Greng Jai

The subject of Greng Jai is very interesting when it comes to Thai and Farang relationships. I never used to think about it too much before but now I do see how it can cause a problem. I have written about it on this site but this conversation with Dean you might find interesting because he gives a westerner perspective on greng jai.

Angella: So how do you really see greng jai?



Dean: Well I don’t have too much problem with it because I try to see it for what it is and not what our western culture thinks it should be or whether it is right or wrong and anyway in our own way we greng jai too.


Angella: Really?


Dean: Western people also Greng jai in fact we actually lie sometimes…greng…but serious we do, take this for instance…if we get invited to a party and we don’t want to go we will very often make an excuse not to someone is sick, or we cant get babysitters or we have to work late. In fact we don’t want to go but in the interest of being polite we will make an excuse…but actually this is lying or is it greng jai?

Angella: What about when people get together for dinner and you have take-away because as a Thai I would wait to find out what people want first and then go with that, even if I want something different


Dean: Well for us and maybe this is an English/Aussie thing but we will be open about what we all want and then go with a majority decision. We might even make a joke of it all and pretend to be upset but we will do what everyone else wants…but this is joking but we will be open about it all.

I mean really greng jai is in the positive way like you said..a healthy respect for the feelings of other people and not wishing to upset them unnecessarily if you no need to. If you really look at this in the extreme then really in the west we always lie. We are not honest because we don’t go around saying exactly what we think about everything..that would be

Angella: Yes if we did that can you imagine…it would be war all the time


Dean: Hahaha…yes like hey what do you think of my new dress does it make me look fat…haha..and you answer, yes actually I don’t like it at all and it makes you look fat and ugly. I mean c’mon we just don’t do that..we would have no friends…lol and we call ourselves honest.

Angella: I have another example story of greng jai. Once when I was working Amway I went to a mans house family. They had very little money and lived in a very small room. I was sat down on the floor and his wife was cooking in a pot right there next to me…his children would sleep right there too. They all lived in this small place and I arrived in my big car and stuff to talk about Network Marketing. They offered me food..and it was just a little bowl. The spoon was sharp and would have to be careful not to cut your mouth. But I felt I could not say no. I greng jai because I felt that it would be rude and they would feel that I pity them too much or maybe feel their food is not good enough for me. So I did have some.

Dean: Wow. Exactly. Actually I can understand that and really it’s a sign of respecting that what they offer you is value to them to offer it to you. They feel honor to give and share this with you so to say no would not be a good thing in that case. That makes a lot of sense

Angella: So Thaïs we greng jai a lot, everyday and all the time but we not do it to lie or be untruthful like many Farang say we do.; I know it seems like an excuse but it is not. Yes of course you will always get some who take it too far and use it in the wrong way but that is because they are not genuine. Sincere and good people only greng jai for the right reason out of respect for others feelings and not to make conflict, we like peaceful and easy and not be difficult.

Dean: Yes I’m sure some Farang will take that and say it is all fact I have heard some say that and they will say its just a handy excuse for Thaïs to lie. Personally I can understand but I think it is a little shortsighted to think this way and also unfair. Just because they have got mixed up with some unscrupulous Thaïs they paint everyone with the same brush, but you will always get that. The truth is that Farang are not the most honest culture by any means. As I said there is plenty of BS in Western culture.

Angella: So in the West they will greng jai to be polite right?


Dean: Sure…and same reason, they will say they are good and honest people yet they will make excuses. And that’s what we call it…making excuses. But really it is lying…what’s the difference. Ok I know really but I just want to make the point so we can see things in perspective and for other westerners not to get too high and mighty about Thaïs and greng jai and how they believe Thaïs lie too much because we are no better , we just give it a different I’m sure I will get a few comments about this …haha.

Angella: And sure I do say that Western men should be careful of this because some Thai women will use greng jai as an excuse if they are not a sincere Thai. I know this is where we get a bad name from and same some Thai men can also use greng jai in this way but this because they are not sincere Thai.

Dean: Yeah well we just call them con men! or women…or BS artists!! And believe me there are plenty around too, especially in business!


Angella: So you think you know greng jai now?


Dean: Well not exactly but I know it is part of your culture and so I must accept that and not fight against it, I know that with sincere people it is meant in a good way and not a bad way to conceal or deceive so really it is my own responsibility to be a good judge of character in the first place and sniff out insincere people, just like it is in the West.




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Thai Culture and Greng Jai

Greng Jai is a practice that Thai people use in every day life. It can be very confusing for Western 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:

Husband says:
Darling would you like to go out  for dinner tonight, maybe for Italian, chinese or Indian food.
Thai wife says:
Yes ok.
Husband say:
Which one would you prefer
Thai wife:
Hmmm…It’s Up to you
Husband thinks:
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.
Husband says:
Is everything ok darling?
Thai Wife says:
Back home later…

Husband says:
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.
Husband says:
Why didn’t you say something then?

That’s Greng  Jai..!!!!

Let’s go! and enjoy a  Thai music video about” Greng Jai”…

Thai Girlfriend Advisor

by Angella


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