How to Flirt in Chinese: 88 Words and Phrases To Make a Connection
Flirting in Chinese can be pretty scary. Where do you even start?
I’ve got tons of vocabulary and phrases that’ll help you impress native speakers who caught your eye.
Plus, I’ll give you some cultural context, since flirting in Chinese is about so much more than just knowing the right words.
With these flirty phrases, you’ll be furthering your immersive learning experience and building some essential vocabulary—even if you don’t meet your soul mate.
- Mandarin Chinese Flirting Phrases
- Cultural Context When It Comes to Flirting in Chinese
- What’s the Point of Flirting in Chinese If I’m Not a Native Speaker?
Mandarin Chinese Flirting Phrases
If you’re in a Mandarin Chinese speaking area, sooner or later—especially if you’re single—you’ll want to flirt with someone. And that’s where this concept comes in:
甜言蜜语 (tián yán mì yǔ) — sweet speech honey language
Known as Chinese “sweet couple talk,” this is essentially like the Western version of flirtatiously talking.
If you’re flirting in the first place, you may be looking for a:
女朋友 (nǚ péng you) — girlfriend/significant other (female)
男朋友 (nán péng you) — boyfriend/significant other (male)
Getting to know one another
你叫什么名字？ (nǐ jiào shén me míng zì?) — What’s your name?
你从哪里来？ or 你是哪里人? (nǐ cóng nǎ lǐ lái? / nǐ shì nǎ lǐ rén?) — Where are you from?
你是做什么工作的？ (nǐ shì zuò shén me gōng zuò de?) — What do you do for a living?
你经常来这里吗？ (nǐ jīng cháng lái zhè lǐ ma?) — Do you come here often?
能交个朋友吗？ (néng jiāo gè péng yǒu ma?) — Can we be friends?
你是什么星座的？ (nǐ shì shén me xīng zuò de?) —What’s your sign/horoscope?
你是属什么的？ (nǐ shǔ shēn me?) — What’s your Chinese zodiac sign?
你是单身吗？ (nǐ shì dān shēn ma?) — Are you single?
你有女朋友吗？ (nǐ yǒu nǚ péng you ma?) — Do you have a girlfriend?
你有男朋友吗？ (nǐ yǒu nán péng you ma?) — Do you have a boyfriend?
Asking someone out
你想约会吗？ (nǐ xiǎng yuē huì ma?) — Would you like to go out?
我想带你出去吃饭。 (wǒ xiǎng dài nǐ chū qù chī fàn) — I’d like to take you to dinner.
Other alternatives are:
你想吃一点东西吗？ (nǐ xiǎng chī yì diǎn dōng xī ma?) — Do you want to eat something small?/Do you want to eat a little something?
你想来我家做客吗？ (nǐ xiǎng lái wǒ jiā zuò kè ma?) — Would you like to come to my place?
一起吃饭，我请客。 (yì qǐ chīfàn, wǒ qǐng kè.) — Let’s go for dinner, my treat.
请你吃饭好吗？ and 我可以请你吃饭吗？ (qǐng nǐ chī fàn hǎo ma? / Wǒ kěyǐ qǐng nǐ chīfàn ma?) — Can I treat you to a meal?
我能请你喝一杯吗？ (wǒ néng qǐng nǐ hē yī bēi ma?) — Can I buy you a drink?
能给我你的电话号码吗？ (néng gěi wǒ nǐ de diàn huà hào mǎ ma?) — Can I have your phone number?
我可以加你的微信吗？ (wǒ kě yǐ jiā nǐ de wēi xìn ma?) — Can I friend you on WeChat?
你愿意和我去看电影吗？ (nǐ yuàn yì hé wǒ qù kàn diàn yǐng ma?) — Would you like to go see a movie with me?
你愿意和我喝杯咖啡吗？ (nǐ yuàn yì hé wǒ hē bēi kā fēi ma?) — Would you like to grab a coffee with me?
你想跳舞吗？ (nǐ xiǎng tiào wǔ ma?) — Do you want to dance?
你今天晚上有空吗？ (nǐ jīn tiān wǎn shàng yǒu kòng ma?) — Are you free/available tonight?
If you’re asking a Chinese woman out, it’s generally best to be direct—but never arrogant or aggressive. Consent is important all over the world, so be sure to get a clear answer when you ask someone to do something. They may answer like one of these:
好的 (hâo de) — Okay
行 (xíng) — Okay
可以 (kěyî) — Sure
不行 (bùxíng) — No
It’s good to keep in mind that many Chinese people will often be too polite to give a blunt 不行 (no). This is because in Chinese culture, people tend to be more indirect when making a rejection. So someone may reply:
爱老虎油。 (aì lǎo hǔ yóu.) — I love you. [Literally: (I) tiger oil.]
This is a more humorous and “teasing” way of saying I love you that can be said more early on in the relationship.
我喜欢你。 (wǒ xǐ huān nǐ.) — I like you.
我想跟你在一起。 (wǒ xiǎng gēn nǐ zài yì qǐ.) — I want to be with you/I want us to be together.
我暗恋你。 (wǒ àn liàn nǐ.) — I have a crush on you.
Here are some classic compliments you can use.
你好漂亮！ (nǐ hǎo piào liang!) — You are so pretty/you look so pretty!
你太帅了。 (nǐ tài shuài le.) — You’re so handsome.
你太漂亮了。 (nǐ tài piào liang le.) — You’re so pretty/beautiful.
在我眼里你是最美的。 (zài wǒ yǎn lǐ nǐ shì zuì měi de.) — To me, you are the most beautiful./In my eyes, you are the most beautiful.
Use this term if you’re expressing your affection to someone you’ve known for a while.
我喜欢你的笑容。 (wǒ xǐ huān nǐ de xiào róng.) — I like your smile.
Come on, what woman or man wouldn’t blush at this?
你很甜。 (nǐ hěn tián.) — You’re so sweet.
If you’re being told this with a shy smile, congratulations! She/he is probably digging you! And if you want to test the waters to confirm if someone is similarly flirting with you, throw one of these at them. Their response and body language will have your answer.
Here are some other options:
你有一双美丽的眼睛。 (nǐ yǒu yì shuāng měi lì de yǎn jīng.) — You have beautiful eyes.
你是我见过最帅的人。 (nǐ shì wǒ jiànguò zuì shuài de rén.) — You’re the most handsome person I’ve ever seen.
你的声音听起来很好听。 (nǐ de shēng yīn tīng qǐ lái hěn hǎo tīng.) — Your voice sounds lovely.
跟你在一起感觉很幸福。 (gēn nǐ zài yì qǐ gǎn jué hěn xìng fú.) — I feel happy when I’m with you.
你的笑话真逗。 (nǐ de xiào huà zhēn dòu.) — Your jokes are really funny.
你真有才华。 (nǐ zhēn yǒu cái huá.) — You’re really talented.
我很喜欢和你在一起。 (wǒ hěn xǐ huān hé nǐ zài yì qǐ.) — I really enjoy being with you.
你让我心跳加速。 (nǐ ràng wǒ xīn tiào jiā sù.) — You make my heart race.
我愿意为你做任何事。 (wǒ yuàn yì wèi nǐ zuò rèn hé shì.) — I’m willing to do anything for you.
你是我的阳光。 (nǐ shì wǒ de yáng guāng.) — You are my sunshine.
你的笑容让我心醉。 (nǐ de xiào róng ràng wǒ xīn zuì.) — Your smile intoxicates me.
我喜欢和你一起度过每一天。 (wǒ xǐ huān hé nǐ yì qǐ dù guò měi yì tiān.) — I enjoy spending every day with you.
你的美丽无法形容。 (nǐ de měi lì wú fǎ xíngróng) — Your beauty is indescribable.
我心里只有你。 (wǒ xīn lǐ zhǐyǒu nǐ.) — There’s only you in my heart.
你的存在让我的生活更加完美。 (nǐ de cún zài ràng wǒ de shēng huó gèng jiā wán měi.) — Your presence makes my life more perfect.
与你在一起的时光是我最珍贵的记忆。 (yǔ nǐ zài yīqǐ de shí guāng shì wǒ zuì zhēn guì de jì yì.) — The time spent with you is my most precious memory.
你的温柔让我感到无比安心。 (nǐ de wēn róu ràng wǒ gǎn dào wú bǐ ān xīn.) — Your tenderness makes me feel incredibly at ease.
When flirting, you may want to refer to someone as:
可爱 (kě ài) – cute, lovely
温柔 (wēn róu) – gentle, tender
迷人 (mí rén) – charming, captivating
聪明 (cōng míng) – intelligent, smart
甜蜜 (tián mì) – sweet, affectionate
体贴 (tǐ tiē) – considerate, thoughtful
幽默 (yōu mò) – humorous, witty
美丽 (měi lì) — beautiful
帅 (shuài) — handsome
浪漫 (làng màn) – romantic
Once you have that girlfriend or boyfriend, you may want to refer to them by a term of endearment. Here are a few popular choices in Mandarin Chinese:
宝贝 (bǎo bèi) — baby, darling
亲爱的 (qīn ài de) — dear, beloved
甜心 (tián xīn) — sweetheart, honey
宝贝儿 (bǎo bèir) — little darling, sweetheart
小宝贝 (xiǎo bǎo bèi) — little baby, little darling
心肝宝贝 (xīn gān bǎo bèi) — darling, sweetheart
Once you’re together
我爱你。 (wǒ ài nǐ) — I love you
Ah, the most basic yet powerful phrase ever. Of course, you shouldn’t throw this around willy-nilly, and if the situation calls for it, you could even express your love with a bit more poetry other than the basic “I love you.”
You could also say something romantic like:
我希望能一直陪在你的身边。 (wǒ xī wàng néng yì zhí péi zài nǐ de shēn biān.) — I hope to be by your side always.
And if this special person happens to leave for a day or more:
我好想你。 (wǒ hǎo xiǎng nǐ) — I miss you.
Cultural Context When It Comes to Flirting in Chinese
- If you’re asking out a girl or flirting with a girl, take the immediate turn-down with a grain of salt. It’s a cultural practice to reject immediately that’s still used pretty often in China today.
However, don’t be incredibly pushy and continuously ask after she’s said “no” several times. A creep in the West is a creep in China. Chinese girls who are very much not interested will try to be polite and make an excuse to get the hell away from you.
Be respectful and say something like:
好吧。没关系。 (hǎo ba. méi guān xì.) — It’s okay. No big deal.
- If you’re flirting with a guy or trying to ask a guy out, don’t be hurt if he isn’t incredibly responsive at first. Chinese men have a tendency to be quite shy and are notorious for being stuck in their shells.
Try some small talk before flirting. Ask “in-depth” questions that require more than a couple of words for an answer. In that same vein, understand that Chinese men tend to be very straightforward with their feelings, something that can be really cool, but might be off-putting if you’re not used to that sort of thing.
Watching how native speakers flirt can give you a better understanding of how a flirty conversation might look. Look for videos on flirting on immersion programs like FluentU, where you’ll also be able to follow along with authentic Chinese videos through interactive subtitles. Alternatively, you could watch a Chinese romance show (or five) and learn how to flirt from the pros.
As always, don’t assume stereotypes are true, either.
- What about our gay, lesbian and transgender friends who want to flirt in China? China is, unfortunately, one of the most unwelcoming nations for LGBT people. It’s important to be safe if you’re not fluent in Mandarin Chinese and wish to flirt with someone you like. Luckily, gay bars and clubs in major cities in Taiwan and China do exist where you can meet other LGBT people. It just takes a little investigating.
What’s the Point of Flirting in Chinese If I’m Not a Native Speaker?
Why should anybody bother learning how to flirt in Chinese if they aren’t already fluent? Is it even worth trying?
Well, there are many reasons why discovering how to flirt in Mandarin Chinese is useful for language learners:
- Love (or lust) between two people isn’t strictly reserved for speakers of the same language. If you’ve built friendships with someone who speaks a different language than you, or a language you’re far from fluent in, why can’t you build a romantic relationship with someone in the same way?
- Communication is so much more than just spoken language, but it helps. Language is important, but human communication is much more than just words. Just by knowing simple phrases and having an understanding of cultural differences, you can definitely form an intimate bond with someone in Mandarin Chinese.
- It’s easy for some things to get lost in translation—so learning precisely what to say and expect is key. You don’t want to accidentally use the wrong word or tone when it comes to communicating romantic or intimate concepts in the same way you wouldn’t want to slip up and say something silly in your own language while flirting.
- You’ll know when a Chinese person is flirting with you instead of being totally oblivious. Again, cultural differences can be pretty big between Westerners and Chinese people. Understanding the signs of a flirtatious or interested person can help you understand if a Mandarin-speaking person has a crush on you.
As with any guide to flirting in any language, it’s important to mention that rejection happens to everyone.
Don’t be too bummed out if a Mandarin-speaking person isn’t into you. There’s bound to be another fish in the sea, and Chinese people tend to find foreigners charming. Good luck!