Relationships among Friends in Vietnam
Like in other countries, friendship in Vietnam is constructed and developed on the basis of mutual understanding, sympathy and trust. However, it should be noted that the definition of friendship in Vietnam is quite different from that in other countries, especially in North America and Western cultures.
For Vietnamese, an acquaintance could not be called a friend. Friendship is supposed to be built step by step. When Vietnamese people call you their friend, it is more than just that they know you, you know them and they will say “hi” or “how is it going” whenever you see each other. As your friends, they actually care about you, about your family, your work and your living conditions.
Bumping into you on the street, they would certainly bombard you with a ton of questions about your present life and you may find it annoying as they seem to be so nosy about your personal life. Yet, it is the way Vietnamese care about you as a friend. Moreover, while western people often hug and kiss to greet their friends, Vietnamese people rarely make physical touch, especially when their friends are in the opposite gender. In fact, some Vietnamse may consider it indecent act, so do not do that to your Vietnamese friends unless you know them very well.
Also, when hanging out, you perhaps find it uncomfortable when your Vietnamese friend insists on paying the total bill. Take it easy. You could treat him another time. It is Vietnamese pleasure to treat their friend to a meal or have him/her over for a family occasion.