Nankai Rob has some insightful reflections on the differences your choice of language makes when doing friendship in China:
“Anyone who has made relationships that utilize no English at all will back me up when I say theyâ€™re immensely rewarding, but also immensely difficult.
“Why? You can carve this in stone: itâ€™s hard because I no longer have control. And I donâ€™t just mean control over what I say, but rather control over interpretation, culture, meaning, the whole bag. When youâ€™re used to having control, when youâ€™re used to everyone wanting to converse in English and thereby putting you at the reins of everything that happens, switching into Chinese is not simply a change in language; itâ€™s a hierarchical shift.” [Link: Taiwan, part 7: What You Can Learn When You Donâ€™t Understand]