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 they’re immensely rewarding, but also immensely difficult.
“Why? You can carve this in stone: it’s hard because I no longer have control. And I don’t just mean control over what I say, but rather control over interpretation, culture, meaning, the whole bag. When you’re used to having control, when you’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; it’s a hierarchical shift.” [Link: Taiwan, part 7: What You Can Learn When You Don’t Understand]